вход по аккаунту


The natural history of man. By Carl P. Swanson. xii + 402 pp. figures tables bibliography index. Prentice-Hall Englewood Cliffs N. J. 1973. $13.25 (cloth) $9

код для вставкиСкачать
tion boundaries, thereby of course, invalidating Hardy-Weinberg conditions. The
chapter also fails to emphasize the distinction between gene frequency and genotype
frequency equilibrium and in fact states
quite flatly that the Hardy-Weinberg law is
a statement about the former, rather than
the latter.
Inbreeding is defined as “genotypic assortative mating.” This definition seems to
me an unfortunate one, as it makes the
concept all the more confusing for the beginner. According to the usual definition,
one can imagine causes of genotypic assortative mating where no inbreeding is
involved. The unwary reader can easily be
left with the impression that inbreeding
involves a choice of mates on the basis of
genotype, rather than on the basis of family relationship.
Roberts’ 1968 study of Tristan da Cunha
(Nature, 220: 1084-1088) is cited as an example of the probable action of drift, which
is correct enough, except that the differential genetic contribution of founders to
the present population is attributed on
page 56 to “differential fitness of individuals through time”; Roberts’ point was
that the effect was due to a series of “bottlenecks” brought about by emigration. 1
am not decided whether this exemplifies a
poor definition or an incorrect example of
fitness, but I am certain that a student
new to the subject would have difficulty
distinguishing between the effects of selection and drift as a result of reading this
Additional examples of this kind of difficulty could be given. However, in many
respects the most serious problem for both
student and instructor lies in explanations
which are repeatedly awkward and confusing. The convolutions of some of these
are too long to reprint here, but at the risk
of quoting out of context, consider the following few excerpts: from page 30, “Regardless of what genetic variability is found
in other groups, a n individual is limited
first by the genes carried by his parents
and second by the gene pool of the population.” I do not think that it is trivial to
ask (or to expect students to ask) what is
meant by “limited” or by “first” and “second” in this sentence. On page 39 a general statement of the Hardy-Weinberg distribution is presented in which superscripts
identifying alleles appear at first to be exponents. On page 51, ATc is defined as follows, “ [Effective size1 measures the breeding size of the population if it were actually
existing under . . . ideal conditions; in other words, it is an estimate of the size of the
actual reproductive unit of the population.”
Aside from the fact that “reproductive
unit” is nowhere defined, I do not think
that the reader is given a good intuitive
idea of the concept. Additionally, Johnston
has a tendency to use technical terms in
the text before they are defined, and to use
mathematical expressions without derivation or (sometimes more appropriately)
intuitive explanation. I realize that there
are those who do not share my disapproval
of the latter practice, but it seems to me
that if formulae are truly essential to the
understanding of the principles discussed,
they ought to be justified to the student.
Otherwise they should simply be left out.
The publisher, too, deserves its share of‘
criticism. One wonders what Prentice-Hall
pays its editors: the text of only 143 pages
contains too many errors of grammar (subject and verb occasionally fail to agree in
number, pronouns often have unclear
antecedents, etc.), typographical errors and
misusage of words, and there is a missing
My intent here is not simply to pick out
a few examples of poor exposition or reasoning for their own sake, but rather to indicate the limitations they place on effective
use of the book as a text or back-up reference for the introductory audience to which
it is addressed. The idea of the book is excellent, but if it is to be used, the instructor
must be prepared to correct for these limit a tion s.
f ’ ~ ~ l l l , c y l u ~ , l ZStcrtc,
OF MAN. By C a r l
P. Swanson. xii
402 pp., figures,
tables, bibliography, index. PrenticeHall, Englewood Cliffs, N . J . 1973. $13.25
(cloth), $9.95 (student edition).
Carl Swanson has written a remarkably
erudite book about man. It represents the
sort of thinking, the breadth of knowledge,
the power to synthesize, and the beauty of
prose that I have long known through my
zoologist father to expect from the best of
the biologists. A botanist by professional
discipline, it is just as remarkable for
Swanson to produce a book of this scope and
beauty on man, a s it was for micro-biologist Rene Dubos to write Man Adapting
and So Human an Animal. And in many
ways Swanson’s accomplishment in T h e
Natural History of Man is a s signal a one
a s Rene Dubos’ works. My colleagues may
indeed have rather different reactions to
new books in their field than I do, but I
usually skim with mounting enthusiasm for
the new product only to become more critical and dissatisfied when I read and study
it. Often my final disillusionment with such
a new book comes when I try it out on
undergraduate classes and find myself
spending too much class time explaining it
and disagreeing with it. But to the contrary, T h e Natural History of Man seems to
grow on one; it gets better and better. And
for the professional reader, at least, it appears designed to do so. The text itself occupies only about one-fourth of the average
page, beside it are long relevant quotations,
and the top three and one-half inches of
each page are devoted to illustrations and
often more quotes. Swanson advises the
reader to concentrate on text and illustrations the first time around, and the second
time to take in the quotations as well. This
scheme is hard to get used to, and is intentionally distractive. But in fair part this
is what grows on the professional reader. It
is rich and often subtle fare.
I have not put Swanson’s book to the
class of students test, and as highly as I
value it as a professional human biologist, I
a m not likely to do so. Perhaps this reflects
a personal deficiency or one common to my
generation of scholars, but I do not give a
single course where the book would be a n
appropriate text. It seems too advanced and
full of subtleties for an introductory physical anthropology course heavily peopled by
students with little or no biological background. And with the exception of chapter
8 containing considerable molecular genetics, the book is probably too broad and
sweeping and insufficiently detailed for
more advanced courses - as most biological anthropologists tend to teach them. Perhaps this illustrates what is wrong with
biological anthropology - too hung up on
the traditional findings, too hooked on the
more substantive data in our literature to
try more adventuresome and inspirational
teaching. Most everyone teaching biological
anthropology, except for the yriters of their
own textbooks, are likely to be disillusioned
by the uneven quality of the single authorsingle textbooks on the market. It might
well be worth it for newly minted Ph.D.’s
faced with teaching introductory biological
anthropology to try it Swanson’s way.
The book is divided into ten chapters
(handy for reading assignments in a tenweek academic quarter): as man sees
himself (1 : “Through a kaleidoscope”)
up through history; Western intellectual
change and the rise of science (2: “A new
course is charted”); geological time and
earth’s changes with it ( 3 : “Of time and
variation”); evolutionary change (4: “Of
change and chance”); variation, adaptation, survival and extinction (5: “Evolution
as a process”); vertebrate and primate evolution (6: “Emerging humanity”); man’s
structural and behavioral modifications
(7: “The uniqueness of the individual”);
cultural evolution and application of energy (9: “Evolution revisited”); and the present and future of humanity (10: “Through
a glass darkly”). There is not a single
weak or out-dated chapter in the lot, although I could carp about several omissions. In chapter 2 it seems parochial to
me to confine evolution of thought to the
West. Then it is a matter of emphasis, but
in chapter 6 I would have emphasized the
tremendous biosocial effects of man’s long
hunting phase more than Swanson did. In
this same chapter the eighteenth century
cut of two ape-men from Hoppius on page
181 seems mislabeled - one on the left is
probably supposed to be a pygmy, on the
right an ape. The plates showing stone
implements (pp. 195, 310) can produce
pain in archeological typologists - especially the “Miocene eolith” and the grinding stones (for what?) on the latter page.
There are surprisingly few errors, but one
on page 229 is having “Caucasoids” in
southern India; it should be northern. But
these are really inconsequential. The big
thing about the book is its sweep and its
humanism. Many of the page-side and top
quotations are absolute gems, and to have
them all so tastefully collected under one
cover is some kind of a bibliophilic dream.
And Swanson’s prose is simply beautiful,
unusual in the writings of most of us. I,
for one, would recommend Swanson’s The
Naturul History of M a n for the same Pulitzer Prize accorded to Rene Dubos’ So
Human animal in 1969.
Uwiuersity of Washington
Richard G. Snyder, Don B. Chaffin and
Rodney K. Schutz. ix + 273 pp., figures,
tables, bibliography. Aerospace Medic a1
Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base, Ohio. 1972. n.p. (paper).
This work is specialized but fills a need
by developing new techniques for studying
the mobility of the h-iman torso. Also provided is a description of anthropometric
measurements of the torso usable as a
standard for further anthropometric studies.
Three specific tasks were set forth in this
study. These were:
(1) The development of accurate dimensional and positional information regarding
the segment links of the human male
torso, including neck, shoulder girdle, thoracic and lumbar regions, and the pelvic
girdle, and the normal excursions of these
links in the living.
(2) The correlation of the torso and limb
endpositions (center of joint rotation),
lengths of functional torso links and link
excursions to palpable body landmarks and
linear dimensions of the body obtainable
through conventional anthropometric techniques.
( 3 ) The development of techniques by
which lengths and excursions of the torso
and limb links may be estimated and located using anthropometric dimensions and
landmarks as measured on the USAF population in 1967 (page 1).
Both cadavers and living human subjects
were used in this study, but it soon became apparent that the cadaver data had
limited value so greater dependence was
placed on radiographic data obtained from
the living. Since there are restrictions
placed on living subjects in regard to the
amount of safe x-ray exposures, these data
were limited and photogrammetry was also
Anthropometry has traditionally been a
static study as opposed to a kinematic
study. Several kinds of studies - design
of aircraft, automobiles, and aerospace capsules, require both kinds of information.
It is necessary to measure and describe the
range of motions and reach ability so that
tasks cdn be accomplished with a maximum of efficiency and minimum of fatigue.
Some information of this type is available
for the extremities, but little or none for
the torso. This work attempts to fill this
This study also looks at torso mobility
from the systems approach. The point is
very well made that the “human torso is
not a few long solid links with simple articulations, but rather is a complex group of
short links that move as a function group”
(p. 7). This approach should also be used
on other areas of the body as it is rare that
the mobility of an articulation is determined solely by itself.
This study is divided into three parts.
The first provides the descriptions of the
experimental techniques and results. The
second part (which consists of appendices
A through F) gives information relative to
anthropometric procedures and a description of the photogrammetric techniques.
Surface marker movement and radiographic results are given in the third part made
up of appendices G through 0. Both a list
of references and a bibliography are included.
Errors appear to be few and minor such
as page 7 where Appendix G is placed in
Part I1 rather than Part I11 and no mention is made of Appendix E, which has to do
with somatotypes in the section of Part I
dealing with somatotypes.
The strengths of this work are several:
it provides a careful, detailed and precise
definition of landmarks of the torso to be
used in anthropometry, gives an excellent
procedure for the use of photogrammetry,
presents the procedure to be used in a systematic radiographic study, and gives a
Без категории
Размер файла
296 Кб
cloth, xii, prentice, figuren, history, swanson, index, man, carl, bibliography, halls, 402, 1973, natural, cliffs, tablet, englewood
Пожаловаться на содержимое документа