Know Your Anthropology Literature: Ecobotanical Contexts for African Hominids

Ecobotanical Contexts for African Hominids, by O’Brien and Peters, was published in a book edited by J. Desmond Clark entitled Cultural Beginnings: Approaches to Understanding Early Hominid Life-Ways in the African Savanna.
O’Brien and Peters describe the work they are doing on a project called “Survey of the Wild Edible Plants of Africa”. The point of the survey is to assemble as much information as possible on plant species used by baboons, chimpanzees, and humans in Africa. The eventual inclusion of plants used by gorillas was also mentioned.

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Know Your Anthropology Literature: Relationships Among Extant and Extinct Great Apes And Humans

Relationships Among Extant and Extinct Great Apes And Humans, by Lawrence Martin, is actually a chapter written for inclusion in Major Topics in Primate and Human Evolution (which was edited by Bernard Wood, Lawrence Martin, and Peter Andrews) and was published in 1986. Since the subject is the phylogenetic relationships between I thought it would be a great piece to start the new series. However, if you wish to be a purist and start at the real beginning you can read this.
The short version of the paper is that Martin takes 123 traits drawn from morphological analysis and biochemical data and tries to work out the phylogenetic relationships among extant great apes and humans (he also looks at what the data says about the ancestral condition of these traits would be in the ape/human clade). Following that he looks at various fossil species and tries to determine where they fit. There is a little more to it than that, though.

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