The Order of Man: A Biomathematical Anatomy of the Primates

The Order of Man: A Biomathematical Anatomy of the Primates

The Order of Man: A Biomathematical Anatomy of the Primates

The Order of Man: A Biomathematical Anatomy of the Primates


This book is an attempt to look broadly at the biological Order of Man. It reviews more than two decades of study of present-day primates using data and methods not hitherto made available in one place nor to the general reader.

It is the third book in a series. The first, Form and Pattern in Human Evolution: Some Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Approaches, describes some modern methods available for the study of biological form and function with especial reference to the primates.

The second book is Uniqueness and Diversity in Human Evolution: Morphometric Studies of Australopithecines. It takes the most well-developed of these techniques, multivariate morphometrics, and applies it to the particular problems raised by functional assessments of certain assumed human ancestors, the australopithecine fossils of Olduvai and Southern Africa.

But in the years since those publications, the scope of my investigations has expanded so that they now encompass a considerably wider range of methods, based in mathematics, physics and engineering, for the study of biological form and pattern. And the totality of my researches now cover a far wider range of anatomical regions: most parts of the body (shoulders and hips, arms and thighs, forearms and legs, hands and feet, trunk and head). The studies have, furthermore, been extended so that they now apply very widely throughout the entire Order Primates (humans, apes, Old World monkeys, New World monkeys, lemurs, bush-babies, lorises and tarsiers). Thus, this third volume has arisen naturally as an attempt to see how morphometric methods assess the entire Order, to discuss how these new evaluations meld, or how they do not, with the broad picture of what we already know, and to investigate how the results may influence future directions of thinking in this area of evolutionary morphology.

The new assessments can be viewed through study of localized anatomical regions; information about function mainly results. But they can also be viewed through investigation of entire anatomies; and this, it turns out, seems to speak more to our understanding of the overall relationships of the various primates.

None of this is to say, however, that the results of the present studies stand by themselves; on the contrary, perhaps the main . . .

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