AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 140:392–394 (2009) Book Reviews HUMAN REMAINS: GUIDE FOR MUSEUMS AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS. Edited by Vicki Cassman, Nancy Odegaard, and Joseph Powell. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. 2007. 336 pp. ISBN 978-0-7591-0954-4. $59.95 (hardcover). Physical anthropologists depend on human and primate skeletal collections to document morphological evolution and integration, adaptation, and age- and sexrelated variation. The requirements of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) have raised the level of awareness in documenting human skeletal remains, as shown in Jane Buikstra and Douglas Ubelaker’s 1994 Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains. Although Native American remains will be less available in the future, extensive collections of human remains will continue to be available for research—provided they are properly cared for and carefully handled—and some modern human skeletal collections are even growing through voluntary donations. So how are we to preserve the research materials of our profession? Human Remains is essential for every institution that possesses skeletal remains’ not only museums but also nearly every college or university offering more than a few courses in physical anthropology. The book is a thorough and comprehensive compilation of methods for obtaining, documenting, and caring for human (and nonhuman) skeletal remains. It covers excavation and analysis, inventory, documentation, curation, storage and exhibition, cooperative research, and legal concerns. Initially small collections often grow beyond the ability of faculty or staff to effectively manage them, and this book provides guidance beginning with the initial inventory. Following these procedures provides immediate beneﬁts and saves time later as collections grow. In modern management jargon, stakeholders are those with a signiﬁcant interest in an issue or resource. However, the book’s authors often make a distinction between stakeholders (primarily descendant communities) and scientists or researchers—as if scientists do not have a signiﬁcant interest in preserving human remains. The book thus leaves out an important motivation for the continued respectful treatment of human remains, at least at the basic level of careful handling. Many museum research-permission forms include warnings about handling remains with care, but museum personnel cannot police all researchers. At one time or another, we have all probably witnessed careless handling of remains but were reluctant to speak up, either to the perpetrator or to museum staff. We should do both, because we all have a vested interest in preserving the remains that are the basis of so much of our research. Unlike molecular sequences, which once recorded and databased, contain all necessary information for future investigations, skeletal morphology is inherently multidimensional and extendable. Because all possible skeletal information cannot be recorded, collections of human remains, especially skeletons, will need to be utilized in the future. Their preservation is of vital importance to us, therefore, we are also stakeholders and it is in our collective interest to treat remains with respect to assure their future availability. C 2009 V WILEY-LISS, INC. In the book’s discussions of documentation, two important developments were not adequately covered. Many bones can be more thoroughly documented using threedimensional contact digitizers, which unlike metal calipers, involve minimal contact and little pressure, thus minimizing bone damage or loss. Also, instead of relying on casting, which can damage remains, affordable tabletop laser scanning systems can be used to document morphology and even color, an important consideration in taphonomic studies. Computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans provide even more comprehensive documentation of internal and external morphology and can be used to produce replicas using rapid prototyping technology. Minimally, some type of scanning should be conducted before casting, especially of crania and fragile bones. Another important topic in the book is the reasonable accommodation of requests. At the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), many requests from descendant communities—that the remains of warriors only be moved in the early morning or that certain crania should face east—were easily accommodated. As mentioned in the book, the wish of Native American groups to periodically ‘‘feed’’ remains with pollen, corn, or tobacco—which can attract pests— was satisﬁed at the Smithsonian by placing these materials in plastic bags, which addressed both Native and conservation concerns. Keeping associated artifacts with remains, as recommended in the book, is often impractical and undesirable because of storage and security concerns, but consultation between museums and descendant communities on storage issues often results in practical solutions and further meaningful interactions. As the authors point out, artifacts and remains may have undergone numerous chemical treatments, and that information should be kept with the remains. A treatment card with special codes and symbols can certainly help, but further caution is warranted. Treatment records are often incomplete and the poisons used in the past are numerous and often (as revealed by chemical tests) undocumented. Additionally, fungus, mold, and animal deposits on remains and artifacts can be deleterious to one’s health. The book includes numerous sidebars relating relevant experiences of anthropologists who have dealt with human remains in a variety of circumstances. The book even mentions BONES, a computer program for databasing skeletal inventories, which includes a printable homunculus of the individual bone inventory. Unfortunately, the software is supposedly being updated and is not currently available. Altogether, the recommendations in Human Remains may seem overwhelming, but there are a variety of simple recommendations that can vastly improve storage conditions in short order. Also, the ability of volunteers to perform many basic collections activities, as is done quite successfully at the NMNH, should not be overlooked. Although every chapter has many valuable insights and recommendations, I feel that Chapter 10 by Alan Morris deserves several caveats. First, Morris evaluates multivariate statistical procedures unfairly: ‘‘such statistical wizardry is really no better than nineteenth-century craniology’’ (p 155). Multivariate procedures are more than 70 years old and when used with appropriate caution to evaluate human remains, they 393 BOOK REVIEWS have withstood the test of time. Additionally, Morris’s insistence that ethnicity should not be confused with morphology contradicts NAGPRA, which requires repatriation of remains to speciﬁc tribes, and the Smithsonian’s many documented examples of successful tribal afﬁliation of human remains based on morphology. That said, Morris is quite correct when pointing out that it is important to acknowledge the historical and ideological baggage attached to virtually any label used to classify humans. One size does not ﬁt all. Human Remains is invaluable for all institutions with human remains, whether few or many, because it offers solutions to common problems with skeletal collections and covers so many issues those institutions should be considering, both now and in the future. Human HANDBOOK OF PALEOANTHROPOLOGY: VOL. I: PRINCIPLES, METHODS AND APPROACHES; VOL. II: PRIMATE EVOLUTION AND HUMAN ORIGINS; VOL. III: PHYLOGENY OF HOMINIDS. Edited by Winfried Henke and Ian Tattersall. New York: Springer. 2007. 2173 pp. ISBN 978-3-540-324744. $999.00 (hardcover). When I ﬁrst heard rumor of the forthcoming Handbook of Paleoanthropology, I envisioned a smallish text, not unlike The Boy Scout Handbook or Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, which I could carry to the ﬁeld in my backpack and consult whenever there was a paleoanthropological emergency. Thus, my ﬁrst examination of the three-volume, 2200-page omnibus revealed an obvious criticism: Handbook? ‘‘A small book . . . such as may conveniently be held in the hand’’ (Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.) this is not, and carting around its combined 4.5 kg in my ﬁeld backpack would likely result in my own, permanent addition to the fossil record. Still, the title does not make the book, and in this case it is worth looking at the reasons this text stretches on for three volumes. First, it is comprehensive, even exhaustive, on some subjects. Its 67 chapters cover everything from evolutionary theory to geochronological methods to Native American dentition and from paraphyletic plesiadapiforms to anatomically modern and diverse humans. The series brings to mind the old slogan of the Vermont institution, Dan & Whit’s General Store: ‘‘If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.’’ Second, and equally important, it does not appear that contributors to these volumes were given page limits. Chapters range from 11 to 75 pages (mean 29.9 pp. 6 11.7 SD) in length, and in almost all cases these pages are densely packed. The editors say explicitly that authors were not asked to present all sides of an argument, but this seems to have occurred organically. From the reader’s perspective, it appears that authors were told to compile everything a student should know about a given subject, and, more to the point, this directive was taken seriously. The Handbook is organized into three volumes: ‘‘Principles, Methods and Approaches;’’ ‘‘Primate Evolution and Human Origins;’’ and ‘‘Phylogeny of Hominids.’’ Although it is difﬁcult to imagine readers digesting the Handbook from front to back, this organization makes good theoretical sense, as many chapters in Volumes II and III draw heavily on concepts explicated in Volume I. This ﬁrst volume covers a broad sample of methods asso- Remains, in short, covers all signiﬁcant aspects of preserving the skeletal collections upon which the continuation of our profession depends. STEPHEN D. OUSLEY Department of Applied Forensic Sciences Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute Mercyhurst College Erie, Pennsylvania DOI 10.1002/ajpa.21108 Published online 11 August 2009 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). ciated with paleoanthropology, evolutionary biology, and paleontology. In one sense, all chapters in this volume are theoretical: they provide background and context for understanding these principles, methods, and approaches without necessarily offering the details of how one would implement them. This seems consistent with a goal of presenting sufﬁcient information to evaluate and critique those methods beyond one’s own specialization without overburdening an already lengthy text. Illustrations and examples in this volume are generally simple but do a surprisingly good job of clarifying complicated issues. Whether this was done at the editors’ behest or independently by each author, the end result is a book on paleoanthropological methods that is uniformly comprehensible. Notably absent from Volume I (hereby acknowledging my own bias) is a chapter on morphometric methods. Although Ulhaas’s chapter on fossil reconstruction appropriately references geometric morphometrics within the context of her topic, the importance of these and other metric approaches to paleoanthropology, combined with the complex issues associated with measuring and analyzing fossil samples, amply justiﬁes a chapter dedicated to these topics. The lack of one or more sections covering these issues was surprising. The nominal purview of Volume II is primate evolution and human origins, but it includes substantial contributions in primate behavior and ecology as well. The volume leans heavily to the right—which is to say, toward the side of the phylogenetic tree inhabited by the human lineage—reﬂecting the demography of the paleoanthropology community. Still, Silcox and colleagues provide a thorough introduction to the early primates, putative primates, and related mammals, and Rasmussen takes on the (Alti)Atlasian task of discussing Paleocene, Eocene, and Oligocene euprimates. Coverage of the Hominoidea is comprehensive, with a balance of systematic and adaptive topics. These are supplemented by a handful of chapters on primate behavior and ecology. Like the morphological chapters, these focus mostly on catarrhine and hominoid examples, and the topics (e.g., great ape social systems, intelligence, and chimpanzee hunting behavior) are those likely to be most useful for interpreting human evolution. The ﬁnal volume, ‘‘Phylogeny of Hominids,’’ is very much a combination of themes from the ﬁrst 2 volumes but reinvestigated and focused through the lens of American Journal of Physical Anthropology 394 BOOK REVIEWS human evolution. The structure is roughly chronological cum phylogenetic with a series of topical chapters to complement the taxonomic ones. In many respects, Volume III provides exactly what is missing from Volume I: the application and interpretation of theory and methods. The recapitulation of these themes, applied by a different set of researchers, grounds the entire set in a way that is both informative and practical. It is also noteworthy that this volume does not terminate with the origin and dispersal of modern humans but continues with chapters on archaeology, culture, and ethics. These vast topics can only be abstracted in single chapters, but the contributions do a good job of accenting the ‘‘anthropology’’ in the Handbook of Paleoanthropology. Although one can quibble with points in the most even-handed of manuscripts, the Handbook generally provides a balanced presentation of most topics. However, one exception is noteworthy. Senut’s chapter on early putative hominids, a critique of some broadly held assumptions in paleoanthropology, proposes a phylogenetic scheme (Figure 6.3) that reunites Gorilla and Pan on a clade exclusive of Homo. Not only does this run counter to the opinions of most researchers, but it also seems to contradict her own leanings in this chapter (p 1520). Regardless of what the true phylogeny is, the lack of any evidence or even discussion in the text of such a controversial proposition makes the sudden appearance of this phylogenetic tree seem startlingly out of place. American Journal of Physical Anthropology Overall, the Handbook is most suited to seasoned graduate students and professionals. Although some of the chapters are individually more accessible, the majority are densely packed with information and jargon. In any case, the cost (for collectors) and magnitude (for borrowers) of this set will likely ward off more casual readers. In the scheme of academic literature, however, its price and size scale isometrically. My mother used to say about her 51-volume set of Harvard Classics (paraphrasing somewhat liberally, it turns out, its editor’s introduction) that it contained the literary equivalent of a university degree. In many ways, this Handbook is Henke and Tattersall’s answer to Dr. Eliot’s Five-Foot Shelf, containing the diverse elements necessary for training in the multidiscipline of paleoanthropology. It does not contain all of the knowledge one requires to be a paleoanthropologist, but, much like a good graduate education, provides the resources that a student needs to apprehend it on his or her own. KIERAN P. MCNULTY Department of Anthropology University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota DOI 10.1002/ajpa.21146 Published online 11 August 2009 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com).