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Anthropometry and biochanics. Edited by R. Easterby K. H. E. Kroemer and D. B. Chaffin. New York Plenum Press. 1983. x + 327 pp. figures tables references index. $42

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328
BOOK REVIEWS
gions are rural and a t a high altitude, and
the isolation contributes to the slow pace of
life. The societies are quite sexist, Barash
notes, and are impoverished and have high
infant and child mortality rates.
Given the clear and repeated discrediting
of extreme old age (either in individuals or of
the community) that have been published by
scientists who have studied these areas, it is
surprising that Barash perpetuates these
myths in a n otherwise excellent book. Perhaps it is because it makes such a good story:
If we would go back to a simple, rural lifestyle of hard work and social stability, then
we would live longer (i.e. live better). The
idea has romantic appeal but unfortunately
is not supported by fact.
The rest of the book is back on track, discussing interesting features of treatment of
the elderly in other cultures and the United
States. Despite the flaws noted, this is a
rather remarkable overview of gerontology.
It is especially pleasing to find a writer in
gerontology who produces a n original and
lively integration of this disparate subject.
ANTHROPOMETRY
AND BIOMECHANICS.
Edited
by R. Easterby, K.H.E. Kroemer, and D.B.
Chafin. New York: Plenum Press. 1983. x
+ 327 pp., figures, tables, references, index. $42.50 (cloth).
The quality and content of the papers varies greatly. The emphasis tends to be occupational. Papers range from little more than
a n abstract about work in progress to textbook generalities about the need for data on
sex differences, the difficulties of getting good
measurements, and truisms about fitting
workplaces to operator body size. There are
summaries of well-known approaches or
studies as well as fairly detailed analyses of
specific problems or examples of new approaches. Papers offering a novel conceptual
approach to biomechanics or anthropometry
are in the minority.
As a source book it offers scope but lacks
detail. As a review, it is dated and probably
was even a t the time of the conference. This
leaves both the practitioner and the researcher needing more. Educators may find
it useful as a resource for student readings
but many points of view are missing. There
is little European, Japanese, Indian, or Australian content, for example, and American
contributors predominate. (Perhaps conference organizers were restricted to NATO
member countries.)
Biomechanical contributions skirt around
the need for three-dimensional models based
on dynamic data incorporating more real life
circumstances such as twisting. The limitations of smooth sagittal plane lifting are
identified, as is the need for more data on
materials characteristics, but the details of
how this goal is being approached are largely
absent. A number of papers provide thorough
overviews of modern research areas in bio-
This is a hard-bound edition of the proceedings of a NATO conference. The goals of the
conference (held in July 1980) were to: 1)
review the current status of anthropometric
and biomechanical data; 2) consolidate theoretical and methodological advances; 3) evaluate computer-assisted data acquisition,
presentation, and application; 4) provide a
source book for researchers and practitioners.
The book has sections on the following topics; data acquisition methods; anthropometric data bases; anthropometric models;
maxium voluntary exertion; and biomechanical models. In addition, there are ten papers
on “applications” as well as the usual “future needs and perspectives.”
The printing and style of illustration varies
from paper to paper, but it has the look of
being typewritten rather than typeset.
Nevertheless it is always readable. At least
some of the papers have been published since
the conference in more detail in journals such
a s Human Factors and Ergonomics.
Editorial comment is almost nonexistent
and the role played by the editors seems to
have been limited to putting the papers in
sections and a predictable two-page histori cal preface; ‘‘ Golden sections were developed
in Ancient India, . . .” etc. etc. . . .
GARYA. BORKAN
Normative Aging Study
Veterans Administration
Boston, Massachusetts
BOOK REVIEWS
mechanical measurement and analysis and
human movement control. These surveys offer a concise resource but theoretical details
and thorough data presentation must be
sought elsewhere.
Anthropometric contributions include discussion of computer models and databases
and measurement problems. There is concern about what might be termed the
“administration of data gathering.” Two papers address the anthroponietric needs of the
disabled. One of the few European papers
gives a n interesting and lucid descriptive review of newer models and techniques in both
biomechanics and anthropometry.
The “Applications” sections are useful and
contain papers on manikins and their computer equivalents, seats and more seats, assessments of hand prosthetics, container and
handle design, aircraft escape systems, and
industrial and domestic needs for anthropometric data.
Overall, some papers offer useful insights,
but most authors seem to believe that statements of need are equivalent to coming to
grips with the problem. Consequently there
is the usual parade of “need” for three-dimensional dynamic models and more comprehensive computer-linked databases. Contributions seriously addressing these and
other problems are few. For the most part,
models remain simple and, at worst, lack
329
analytical rigour.
H. P. Van Cott’s summarizing insight that,
in anthropometry, measurement is outpacing theory and standardization, while in biomechanics, theory is outpacing measurement
and empirical validation is gentle and pithy.
The consequence for anthropometry is the
tendency to amass indigestible detail. Van
Cott identified and one or two papers discussed the need for common measurement
standards and unified data bases. The consequence for biomechanics is a n over-concentration on static or two-dimensional models
that are limited in their applications to reallife behaviour.
If Van Cott’s summary had been taken as
the point of departure for this book, then the
result would have been greater cohesiveness.
If the papers, with editorial comment, had
been organized around the concerns he identifies, then this book would have been a better buy. As it is, the book reiterates familiar
problems and ends as a fragmented collection of papers to dig through for the few
nuggets.
R.D.G. WEBB
T.C. HEARN
School of Human Biology
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
BOOKS RECEIVED
Alcock, CJ (1984) Animal Behavior. Third ed.
Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates. 596 pp. $25.00 (cloth).
Allaby, M (1983) Dictionary o f t h p Environment. New York: New York TJniversity
Press. Distributed by Columbia IJniversity
Press. 529 pp. $50.00.
Bennett, JH (ed.) (1983) Natural Selection,
Heredity, and Eugenics. New York; Oxford
University Press. 306 pp. $47.50 (cloth).
Corning, PA (1983) The Synergism Hypothesis. New York: McGraw-Hill. 492 pp. $12.95
(paper).
Hames, RB, and Vickers, WT (eds.) (1983)
Adaptive Responses of Native Amazonians.
New York: Academic Press. 516 pp, $49.00
(cloth).
Hinde, RH (ed.) (1984) Primate Social Relationships. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates. 384 pp. $40.00 (cloth),
$21.00 (paper).
Loy, JD, Loy, K, Keifer, G, and Conaway, C
(eds.) (1984) The Behavior of Gonadectomized Rhesus Monkeys. Basel, Switzerland:
Karger. 152 pp. $39.75 (cloth).
Oxnard, C (1984) The Order of Man. New
Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
366 pp. $30.00 (cloth).
Trinkaus, E (1983) The Shanidar Neandertals. New York: Academic Press. 502 pp.
$47.50 (cloth).
Wendorf, F, and Close, AE (eds.) (1983) Advances in World Archaeology. Volume 2.
New York: Academic Press. 340 pp. $42.00
(cloth).
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easterby, biochanics, kroemer, chaffin, figuren, references, index, new, anthropometric, york, 1983, 327, edited, tablet, pres, plenum
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