Amazing Anatomy The Human Body and Evolution
Alain Froment, a physician and anthropologist, is a senior research fellow at the French Institute for Research and Development (IRD) and the director of the anthropology collection at the Musée de l’Homme. He teaches biological anthropology at the French Museum of Natural History. His special research interest is human ecology in Africa.
A mirror is the best response to anyone who questions the reality of the evolution of living species. In its own way, every single trait of human anatomy recounts the epic tale of our evolution.
The crystalline lens of the human eye, which resembles that of a fish or an octopus, harks back to our aquatic origins — as do the middle ear’s three small bones (malleus, incus, stapes) which also exist in fish. The keratin in our hair is an adaptation to a dry environment and originated when reptiles crept out of the water onto dry land. The nose of Australopithecus, more developed than the forest gorilla’s, is another adaptation to the dryer climate of the savannah.
In describing the human body, this book recounts the history of Humankind, from its earliest aquatic ancestors to the cyborgs and other hypothetical transhumans of the future. The author’s exploration of our distant past is combined with an etymological study of the origins of anatomical terms and with a medical and cultural enquiry into the sometimes conflicting meanings that body parts have in different areas of the globe.
• A striking, impertinent and surprising work that readers will enjoy dipping into or reading straight through.