Barbara Welker’s History of Our Tribe: Hominini fills an important gap in current mid-level undergraduate human evolution texts. It is the only book of its kind to offer both an introduction to and a concise synopsis of human evolution broadly, including paleoanthropological methods (dating, classification, etc), morphology and behavior of extant and extinct primates, and encyclopedic entries on all known species of human ancestors. The book uses images from open access internet sources, as well as original drawings. In addition, links to useful websites where more information can be sought are included throughout the text.
The general layout and organization of the text are intuitive and the sequence of topics follows a logical progression that would nicely suit a typical undergraduate human evolution course. Background topics are introduced and explained as needed in a concise format that does not distract from the main themes and emphases of the text.
One very useful feature of this text is the complete, encyclopedic entries for each fossil hominin species. The entries for each species follow the same layout, starting first with the geologic dates associated with the taxon and important fossil sites and discoverers, followed by phylogeny, discovery and geographic range, physical characteristics, and environment and way of life. Each species entry includes a summarized list of the primitive and derived traits for that taxon, which will prove to be enormously helpful for students.
Dr. Kristi L. Lewton is an evolutionary anatomist and biological anthropologist. Dr. Lewton received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Arizona State University, conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University, and is currently an Assistant Professor at Boston University. Dr. Lewton’s research focuses on the evolution of primate locomotor systems, the functional anatomy of the pelvis, and reconstruction of locomotor behavior in fossil species.