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by Craig B. Stanford

Download Upright: The Evolutionary Key to Becoming Human eBook
Craig B. Stanford
Science & Mathematics
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (December 15, 2003)
192 pages
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What, in evolutionary terms, propelled us to become human? The answer lies not in our forebears’ big brains . Published by Thriftbooks. com User, 14 years ago. Craig Stanford's "Upright: The Evolutionary Key to Becoming Human" is a brief, easy and informative read.

Published by Thriftbooks. I've enjoyed Stanford's previous efforts, and this volume was no disappointment. As such, he takes a distinctly different tack than students of bones and artifacts might.

The book is also hard to rate. If I had read it when it came out, I probably would have rated it 5 after my usual second reading and the reflection that it stimulated

He covers the main point (bipedality) of the book well, but the book is about much more than this single subject. He covers most of the major issues and species, including apes’ ancestors but it is not an introductory book because of missing aspects that are usually in an introductory book. The book is also hard to rate. If I had read it when it came out, I probably would have rated it 5 after my usual second reading and the reflection that it stimulated. But the book is now a bit out of date, so I rate it a 4.

Craig Stanford is Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Upright : The Evolutionary Key to Becoming Human, 2003. Significant Others: The Ape-Human Continuum and the Quest for Human Nature, 2001. The Hunting Apes : Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior, 1999. Chimpanzee and Red Colobus : The Ecology of Predator and Prey, 1998.

Finding books BookSee BookSee - Download books for free. Upright: The Evolutionary Key to Becoming Human. Craig Stanford, John S. Allen, Susan C. Anton.

Manufacturer: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Release date: 15 December 2003 ISBN-10 : 0618302476 ISBN-13: 9780618302475.

What, in evolutionary terms, propelled us to become human? The answer lies not in our forebears’ big brains or their .

Today scientists are finding far more evidence than ever before about our beginnings. The discoveries are prompting dramatic reappraisals of common beliefs about our past.

Upright: The Evolutionary Key to Becoming Human. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Upright : The Evolutionary Key to Becoming Human, 2003. Look at other dictionaries: Stanford (disambiguation) - The name Stanford may refer to: Institutions Stanford University, in the .

A distinguished anthropologist explores the complex mysteries of human evolution in a study that examines how human ancestors learned to walk upright, arguing that bipedalism--even more than a large brain or a facility with language--played a pivotal role in the development of humankind.
  • Fordg
The author is a Biological Sciences / Anthropology professor at USC, a primatologist and co-director of the Jane Goodall Research Center there. He’s done field studies in Africa and Asia of living primates
His back ground is in primatology, especially chimps. – and it shows. There are frequent references to chimps as analogies for early hominids. . He has published 16 books and textbooks and numerous articles about primates and early hominids.

This book is hard to categorize. Because of Stanford’s writing talent, this book is readily accessible to a novice. He covers the main point (bipedality) of the book well, but the book is about much more than this single subject. He covers most of the major issues and species, including apes’ ancestors but it is not an introductory book because of missing aspects that are usually in an introductory book. However it goes deeper into some subjects, not just bipedalism, than you will see in introductory book. There are also very interesting facts, interpretations, theories, speculations and stories that should interest more advanced readers. (It forced me to re-consider some aspects of human evolution.) It fits somewhere between introductory and more advanced reading.

Its title is unfortunate given its broad appeal. The novice may think its dealing in just the one aspect and tend to stay away because it sounds over-specialized. Bipedality is more of a theme in the book. More advanced readers, also expecting a much more detailed exploration of the single subject may also be disappointed – (as I was initially. - but found other gems, making it a definite worthwhile read.

The book is also hard to rate. If I had read it when it came out, I probably would have rated it 5 after my usual second reading and the reflection that it stimulated. But the book is now a bit out of date, so I rate it a 4.

QUALITY: The book is clearly written, free of scientific jargon and equivocation, very entertaining and well organized – rare qualities for an academic. My only complaint is that he tends towards run-on paragraphs, but his fault here is minor compared to other anthropologists. (For some reason run-on paragraphs are rampant among them).

The book is brief – (184 pages of text, but because of the small book size, about 120 pages of equivalent typed text). But Stanford has covered a lot of information, reasoning and speculations. He is adept at writing concisely without trimming away the meat in the process and manages to add interesting stories to boot.
The quality of the book is low, there are only a few illustrations – it needs a lot more.

The book has 9 very short chapters some of them are packed with a great deal of information and ideas. Most chapter intermix fossils - organized roughly in chronologically order with evolutionary principles that need to be discussed.

He starts by doing does a good job of concisely summarizing the history of Physical Anthropology beginning with Darwin through to Sherwood Washburn (which he credits in creating Evolutionary Anthropology), This chapter is pretty basic, if you are a bit advanced it will only be a quick review from his perspective, although he mentions the extensive pronouncements of Friedrich Engels’’ writings linking bipedality and becoming human. Stanford only gives brief exert of his material, but something you usually don’t see in anthropology books.

Second chapter is about apes (where the last chapter left off) and their ancestors. I appreciated this small addition, as most books start with the earliest hominids. It’s nice having a very succinct summary of the main points of what we know about earlier related species. It also compares living chimp’s behavior with humans, a subject Craig is an authority on. (His discussion of Chimps traveling through bush country is food for thought, but not fully developed in this book) Some authors discount using living apes as analogs for early hominids. Craig acknowledges the imperfect match but states: “it the best thing available.” He also discounts scientist that claim Bonobos are a better analogy citing research done about the publication time as proof against them. (But I have seen recent documentary suggesting a stronger genetic link and a stronger comparison in the physical structure for Bonobos – so feel the question may still be open). Another question he left open is the historical relationship of knuckle walking to true bipedality, a question I was hoping he would have answered.

The third chapter is mainly about basic biomechanics, He distinguishes between efficiency and economy in comparing bipedal and quadrupedal locomotion, a distinction not often made. The findings comparing between full bipedality and knuckle walking is delineated and the studies criticized. But it’s a bit convoluted and I would have preferred a clearer summary of the findings. Bipedalism effects on breathing, stability, hip and spine architecture is also discussed. And some of the “costs” our ancestors incurred and we inherited.

The fourth chapter focus is on the early fossils. The earliest hominids we know of currently (as of 2015) are in the book, and the chapter continues with very brief summaries through to the early australopithecines.

Through out the book Craig strongly emphasize that “we did not climb the rungs of a ladder of evolution...we’re here because we avoided the shears when natural selection trimmed our rapidly growing tree of lineages” pg 62 (He is in synch with the rest of the science But then he goes on to say. the human species was assembled from a gene pool that was distributed over a wide geographical area”pg 62 So he is suggesting a huge hybridization zone.

When I first read this I was sure it was mistaken. When he wrote this book, most authorities would have agreed with me. (Hybridization as an evolutionary process has been controversial and was largely discounted in the evolutionary history of more advanced animals until recently). But recent findings of Neanderthal and other species genes in our genome has forced rethinking of human history. So its possible hybridization may have also had an early effect. When I picked up on it, in my second reading it forced me to do a lot of more rethinking and to re-examine the current role of hybridization in evolutionary theory – thanks Craig.

The was another related statement, that forced my rethinking of evolutionary processes -“But evolution by natural selection tolerates, even favors, tremendous variation; rather than winnowing, it tends to foster diverstity.”pg63. (This seems to contradict his statement above) and by most authorities, especially Darwin and followers, would object-- strongly. The traditional model say mutations cause changes (diversity) and natural selection, sexual selection and genetic drift reduces the variety (the bush is trimmed). Diversity is supposed to be promoted by new or changing habitats and expatiation of existing features for new or more competitive uses. But He may be onto another aspect that has not been fully examined. I am going to have to do more re-examining of this point as well.

A little later in the chapter he relates just a few of the problems anthropologists have in determining what bones reveal which species they belong to, even what a “species” is or means.(pg 67-68)

Dinosaur bipedality-was the “largest proliferation of bipeds in Earth’s history” – variety of forms of bipedality “Our view of bipedality is utterly and misleading human centric”. But it’s disappointing that he didn’t go into greater detail about the other forms of bipedalism on a comparative basis and use that to instruct us about our own form of it.

Rest of chapter gives a brief descriptions of the early Hominids.

CHAPTER 5 – Everybody Loves Lucy Is essentially an examination of the Australopithecus afarensis, especially the fossil Lucy, especially its bipedality Craig uses it to illustrate academic disputes so prevalent in this profession “If I reached into my bookcase and pulled down a handful of publications from these publications, these articles would form an academic version of a shouting match” P 80 and a few of the real reasons behind them. His honesty is refreshing.

He discusses the likely habitat of the early bipeds. The habitat is important in interpreting the reasons for the evolution of human features. In discussing possible behaviors he gets more speculative...

Has two important parts, the first is a critique of the scientific theory process. Which again is well stated, honest and refreshing? One point that he makes is that narrative (story telling) is an important aspect of influential theory making. Craig is an accomplished story teller, he uses it effectively to add color and interest to this book and apparently the classes he teaches.

The second deals the reason for the development of bipedalism, covering many of popular theories, alluding to others that he does not develop and skipping others he does not even identify. I found this to be the more disappointing part of his book, I think he should have wrote more about all the alternative proposals, given the book’s title. But he does spend time on the most prevalently accepted theory and his own preferred interpretation: (links it to finding and eating food and rooted in the behavior of modern apes – similar theories were put forward in the 1970s and 1980s but not advanced more recently, in favor of single explanation theories). I believe his interpretation was not predominant at the time of the books writing but its acceptance has gained in popularity and is supported by leading authorities such as Ian Tattersall now.

Chapter 7 –The search for Meat – is about hominid’s foods and how they obtained it but does explore the importance of meat eating and aspects of hunting and scavenging. He compares chimp gathering / hunting and surviving human hunter / gathers. He goes on to discuss the role “Political Correctness” had on this subject, continuing his discussion about the true nature of scientific thought development. Later he mentions the theory that tubers were at least as critical in human development, but then offhandedly dismisses it.

He splits bipedality development into two stages: an initial stage involving short-distance travel and a second stage involving greater hunting, longer distant travel and more efficient bipedality.

CHAPTER 8 – Better Bipeds
Continues with the major fossil species – Homo erectus, Neanderthal (and gives a realistic assessment of the nature of these) and the Dmanisi Fossils He mentioned at the end of the previous chapter that there was a dramatic increase in cranial capacity about 300-250 KYA, but leaves out a discussion about this change. He also skips Homo heidelbergensis, a major transitional species that may have covered this period.

This chapter also begins a discussion of migration. He mentions that larger body size tends to extend the supporting territory of an animal, a reasonable observation I had not picked up on before.

And he briefly deals with the transition from Homo erectus to Homo sapien theories. After very briefly presenting the Multi-regional Continuation and the Out-of-Africa theories he suggest that a compromise between the two is likely and coins the name “partial continuity” But this position was already presented and given the name “Assimilation model” by Fred Smith . Coining a new name for it was unnecessary. Current finds tend to support this model.

Chapter 9
I found little to recommend in this chapter. His contention that bipedality was linked to intelligence is questionable. His assertion that bipedal animals and intelligence are linked is IMHO ridiculous. (E.g. Ostrich, birds, kangaroos, dinosaurs). Arboreal lifestyle (and prehensile hands) and omnivore diet was likely an early influence/factor in intelligence. Social structure and hunting are more likely for mid-history influences. Bipedalism may have had an indirect influence by narrowing the birth canal and forcing earlier births and a slowed maturation rate about the time of Homo erectus. And finally cultural adaptations/evolution fired the whole thing up.

• First and foremost – good job.
• Update the book, especially genetics updates. Fill in the holes the theory you left unresolved. Maybe you can provide more information about the historical relationship of knuckle walking and full bipedalism.
• Find a new publisher – for better quality book, add more illustrations, including illustrations of fossils and bio-mechanical features of skeletons and a bit more editing. – OR – set up a web page where you can provide updates and graphics and get feedback.
• Maybe further develop the bipedality – more about comparative bipedality and mechanics, and more discussion about the alternative theories you don’t see as viable. Could do a much better job of explaining how bipedality is linked to other human traits
• Current ape behavior is not a substitute for early humans, but “is the next best thing” -you need to delineate where the analogy falls short and why -how chimp behavior reflects human behavior – and where we differ. Then why the differences and the similarities could be investigated. I am sure you could make a very very valuable contribution to the field in this area, where few others are qualified to do.
  • Painbrand
As a Podiatrist I'm fascinated with the idea that bipedalism was a keystone to becoming human. I understand that there is no one evolutionary change that inexorably determined a course to Sapiens, but what an important peice of the puzzle when looking back. This is an excellent overview that mixes well the science and the history of discovery. I would highly recommend.
  • Zinnthi
I was looking for a book on this subject that would bring me up to date on current thinking about the evolution of ourselves. This was an easy read that was also very informative and for me, exciting and interesting. I had not read anything on the topic for at least 10 years. The author presents very common sense theories based on many years of research that are not dependent on a story scenario to make his case(s). The recent NOVA shows on the topic now seem a bit shallow to me after reading this. A great read.
  • Hystana
Anthropologist and co-director of the Jane Goodall Primate Research Center, Craig Stanford argues that the first step in the march to humanity was upright posture.
Apes stand when it's advantageous, Stanford points out, taking examples from his field experience. They stand on branches as well as on the ground, the better to reach fruit in the trees. For our earliest ancestors, living in areas of mixed trees and grass, shuffling between trees would have been more efficient than dropping to all fours.
Stanford reminds us that evolution is not a straightforward progression towards something better, but rather a natural product of what works best for the animal's ability to reproduce. Where upright posture favored feeding and energy conservation, it persisted, with a gradual shift to greater bipedalism.
Bipedalism led to everything else. He theorizes that walking, by increasing efficiency over distance and freeing the hands, created better hunters, and the high caloric, protein diet helped fuel the expansion of the brain. He outlines the hunting strategies of the modern ape and how these may have evolved in early hominids.
Again and again he returns to the modern ape to compare behavior and anatomy, similarity and divergence, throughout the hominid fossil record. Bipedalism is an anatomical trade off. Our broad pelvis, backbone shape and large gluteal muscles give us stability and forward efficiency, and free the lungs from coordination with stride (eventually permitting speech), but decrease climbing ability, make childbirth difficult, and deliver a baggage of back problems.
The history of hominid research is one of many stories and few bones. Stanford traces this history, showing how new finds give rise to new, frequently opposing, theories, how the same scrap of bone can be described in starkly different terms by equally eminent and adamant scientists, how psychology, imagination, ambition, and graduate schools have as much (or more) to do with evolutionary views as hard evidence does. Stanford also looks at bipedalism in the big picture - dinosaurs - which had a wide range of bipedal habits without developing speech or big brains.
The writing is clear and well organized. Stanford ("Significant Others," "The Hunting Apes") paints a picture of an Africa teeming with variously bipedal hominids, most of which went extinct comparatively quickly. Others, made powerful by their two sturdy legs, spread out into the world, leaving fossilized remains to prove it. Then there's us, the last wave out of Africa, and the only ones left (according to mitochondrial DNA evidence). Are we the best? Or just the last ones left standing? A fascinating, concise and intelligent book.