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Hardcover | $50.00 X | £41.95 | 416 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 70 b&w illus. | April 2018 | ISBN: 9780262037839
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Convergent Evolution in Stone-Tool Technology


Hominins began using stone tools at least 2.6 million years ago, perhaps even 3.4 million years ago. Given the nearly ubiquitous use of stone tools by humans and their ancestors, the study of lithic technology offers an important line of inquiry into questions of evolution and behavior. This book examines convergence in stone tool-making, cases in which functional or developmental constraints result in similar forms in independent lineages. Identifying examples of convergence, and distinguishing convergence from divergence, refutes hypotheses that suggest physical or cultural connection between far-flung prehistoric toolmakers. Employing phylogenetic analysis and stone-tool replication, the contributors show that similarity of tools can be caused by such common constraints as the fracture properties of stone or adaptive challenges rather than such unlikely phenomena as migration of toolmakers over an Arctic ice shelf.

R. Alexander Bentley, Briggs Buchanan, Marcelo Cardillo, Mathieu Charbonneau, Judith Charlin, Chris Clarkson, Loren G. Davis, Metin I. Eren, Peter Hiscock, Thomas A. Jennings, Steven L. Kuhn, Daniel E. Lieberman, George R. McGhee, Alex Mackay, Michael J. O’Brien, Charlotte D. Pevny, Ceri Shipton, Ashley M. Smallwood, Heather Smith, Jayne Wilkins, Samuel C. Willis, Nicolas Zayns

About the Editors

Michael J. O’Brien is Provost and Professor of History at Texas A&M University–San Antonio and the coauthor of The Acceleration of Cultural Change: From Ancestors to Algorithms (MIT Press). He was previously Professor of Anthropology and Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri.

Briggs Buchanan is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa.

Metin I. Eren is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Director of Archaeology at Kent State University.