Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Alternative Introduction to Biological Anthropology

The Alternative Introduction to Biological Anthropology by Jonathan Marks was required reading last semester as a companion to the formal textbook for my class in - you guessed it! - biological anthropology. Marks does a great job of breaking down all the core concepts without losing anything vital to a basic understanding of the field: he covers a brief introduction into what anthropology is; discusses theories of evolution; genetics and heredity; non-human primates; early hominids; and more. Each chapter ends with a list of references and further reading recommendations, should you be interested in delving a little deeper into a particular subject.

I know some (or maybe all) of those topics seem a little too sciencey, and there is jargon, but overall Marks writes in such a way that the material is both a helpful review or companion to the student and also an accessible introduction to the layman. I know I've said basically that same thing about pretty much all the non-fiction I've posted so far, but only because it's true. Marks even manages to throw in a little humor here and there, like a nerdy little cherry on top of a science sundae!

I really enjoyed this book - I found it very useful to read along with the regular textbook, as it did help strengthen my understanding of the topics being covered. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the other books he's written.


Oxford University Press USA

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