Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 August 2009
The last half-century has witnessed a dramatic improvement in our understanding of the relationship between form and function in biology. This phenomenon has been fueled by innovations in many fields, from molecular biology to mechanical engineering and multivariate statistics. The importance of “big thinkers” has also been critical – people who can understand and synthesize information from diverse technical fields and then apply and integrate such information in the context of organismal biology. The theoretical and substantive innovations brought about by “big thinkers” such as Charles E. Oxnard have transformed the last half-century of zoology and anthropology.
Charles Oxnard's fascination with size and form in primates shaped not only his career, but also the careers of students and colleagues. This volume is a tribute to how that fascination has influenced numerous others. Many of the highly regarded, internationally known contributors to this volume participated in a recent symposium (American Association of Physical Anthropologists, April 2000) honoring Professor Oxnard for his many and various contributions to the study of primate evolutionary morphology. Each contributor has been influenced strongly by Professor Oxnard and each contribution elaborates on the analysis of the form–function–behavior triad in a unique and compelling way.
This book is diverse both in the topics covered and in the range of levels of biological organization that are addressed, from the cellular level (Jouffroy and Médina) to the evolution of primate ecology (Fleagle and Reed).