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Book review: W. Maier: Der Weg zum Menschen. Ausgewählte Schriften zur Evolutionsbiologie der Wirbeltiere. Scidinge Hall Tübingen 2017, 549 Seiten


Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R (2017). Book review: W. Maier: Der Weg zum Menschen. Ausgewählte Schriften zur Evolutionsbiologie der Wirbeltiere. Scidinge Hall Tübingen 2017, 549 Seiten. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 136(2):373-375.

Abstract

This book presents a coherent view of evolution which is organismal and historical, one that feeds from and respects tradition but looks forward in aiming at providing a documentation of patterns in which scenarios are presented and integration of anatomy, physiology and behavior is attempted. Not bad. It is a peculiar book, because it is in some details and formalities a little outdated, and yet it is quite timely in others. The latter does not come from the topicality of the subjects but because the approach and the historical take on problems are timeless—relevant today and hopefully in the future.This book is very personal as it is tied to the biography of its author, Wolfgang Maier. W. Maier (b. 1942) was Professor of Systematic Zoology at the University of Tu¨bingen from 1988 until his retirement in 2007, although he is still actively publishing academic research papers (Fig. 1). His previous work had been in Frankfurt, first as PhD student under the direction of the late Dietrich Starck (1908–2001), an anatomist who wielded substantial influence via his textbooks (e.g., Vergleichende Anatomie der Wirbeltiere) and his students, such as W. Maier. The academic history of W. Maier is recapitulated in a series of essays, and in fact the book presents modified versions of previously original research papers or essays along the career of its author. Many of the chapters are based on talks given in the context of ‘Ringvorlesungen’ at the University of Tu¨bingen, evening lectures for the general public. This book is organized in five sections, with several chapters in each: (1) methodology and science history, (2) phylogeny of animals, (3) origin and diversification of mammals, (4) selected aspect of head morphology, and (5) primatology and anthropology.

Abstract

This book presents a coherent view of evolution which is organismal and historical, one that feeds from and respects tradition but looks forward in aiming at providing a documentation of patterns in which scenarios are presented and integration of anatomy, physiology and behavior is attempted. Not bad. It is a peculiar book, because it is in some details and formalities a little outdated, and yet it is quite timely in others. The latter does not come from the topicality of the subjects but because the approach and the historical take on problems are timeless—relevant today and hopefully in the future.This book is very personal as it is tied to the biography of its author, Wolfgang Maier. W. Maier (b. 1942) was Professor of Systematic Zoology at the University of Tu¨bingen from 1988 until his retirement in 2007, although he is still actively publishing academic research papers (Fig. 1). His previous work had been in Frankfurt, first as PhD student under the direction of the late Dietrich Starck (1908–2001), an anatomist who wielded substantial influence via his textbooks (e.g., Vergleichende Anatomie der Wirbeltiere) and his students, such as W. Maier. The academic history of W. Maier is recapitulated in a series of essays, and in fact the book presents modified versions of previously original research papers or essays along the career of its author. Many of the chapters are based on talks given in the context of ‘Ringvorlesungen’ at the University of Tu¨bingen, evening lectures for the general public. This book is organized in five sections, with several chapters in each: (1) methodology and science history, (2) phylogeny of animals, (3) origin and diversification of mammals, (4) selected aspect of head morphology, and (5) primatology and anthropology.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:17 June 2017
Deposited On:08 Aug 2017 14:20
Last Modified:08 Aug 2017 14:20
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1664-2376
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13358-017-0135-8

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