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Human Evolution and Survival: Candid Conversations on the Human StoryEllis E. McDowell-Loudan

Human Evolution and Survival

Candid Conversations on the Human Story (First Edition)
Edited by Ellis E. McDowell-Loudan

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60927-430-6, 128 pages


What does it mean to be human? What is evolution? How should we define “survival”? These questions are at the heart of the anthology Human Evolution and Survival, which introduces students to important concepts in anthropology.

The opening chapter shares student-generated definitions of human, evolution, and survival. These definitions set the tone for the rest of the book and establish boundaries for exploring concepts that touch on both science and philosophy.

Subsequent chapters explore a variety of topics including:

  • How scientific method is used to question, test, and re-test data
  • What to do when confronted with scientific error—even one's own
  • Nature vs. Nurture/Genetics vs. Culture
  • Pre-hominids and controversies surrounding them

The material is examined from several viewpoints. What is the role of genetics, and is our humanity inherent in our very cell structure? How does history shape our understanding of our humanity? Are we that different from our closest relatives—the Great Apes? How do we interpret the fossil record?

Human Evolution and Survival teaches students to question, think critically, and debate who we are, how we got that way, and how we will survive into the future. The text includes worksheets for studying genetic traits, discussion questions, and dermatoglyphics (fingerprinting) and PTC-tasting laboratories. Chapters also include links to related websites, allowing for further study.

Human Evolution and Survival can be used in courses on Human Evolution, Physical Anthropology, and Biological Anthropology. It is also appropriate for courses on Genetics and Diversity.

Ellis E. McDowell-Loudan earned her Ph.D. at American University. Currently she is a Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York, Cortland. Dr. McDowell-Loudan has taught numerous courses including Human Evolution and Survival, Eastern United States Archaeology, Native American Archaeology, Native American Cultures, and World Prehistory. Through her work in Archaeology Methods—a field study course—she trains students in archaeological methods as they participate in areas of her ongoing research. Her research and writing work focuses on Native American cultures, past and present.