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By David W. Phillipson

David Phillipson provides an illustrated account of African prehistory, from the origins of humanity via eu colonization during this revised and improved variation of his unique paintings. Phillipson considers Egypt and North Africa of their African context, comprehensively reviewing the archaeology of West, East, significant and Southern Africa. His booklet demonstrates the relevance of archaeological learn to realizing modern Africa and stresses the continent's contribution to the cultural background of humankind.

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Many fossils cannot be attributed with certainty to a male or a female individual; we may thus be unable to determine the degree of sexual dimorphism in a fossil population. In fact, we can obtain little if any idea from the fossil record of the amount of physical variation that can be accommodated within a fossil species. Linnaeus had no concept of evolution, so it is hardly surprising that his classificatory system cannot logically be applied to a diachronic situation of species-change. If we do make such an attempt, we must accept either the former existence of individuals intermediate between recognised species or that at some stage in the evolutionary process a female of one species gave birth to offspring of another species or even genus.

The ribcage is progressively 32 afric an archaeolog y reduced in australopithecines and in modern people, presumably marking a reduction in gut-size which may have accompanied dietary emphasis on concentrated foodstuffs including meat (Aiello and Wheeler 1995; Foley 2002). The oldest discoveries in eastern Africa It must be emphasised that the distribution of fossil discoveries is controlled not only by the former geographical extent of the relevant species, but also by the presence or absence of conditions suitable for their preservation, survival and eventual recovery.

Degrees of similarity may then be assessed, leading to the proposal of a classification. Here we run into difficulties which are remarkably analogous to those encountered by biologists: how can processes of change be understood and accommodated within a classificatory system which implies the existence of rigidly defined boundaries? There may, of course, have been times when a sudden change did take place, or situations where the practitioners of one industry were separated by a sharply defined frontier from those of another.

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