Evolution of the Human Head
While the title of this book focuses on the evolution of the head, it is much more than that. The first half lays the groundwork with discussions of embryonic development, descriptions of the inter-related systems that make up the head and methods of comparative biology.
This initial survey has a lot of interesting material itself; for example, studies of the teeth and jaw have revealed that most orthodontic problems such as teeth crowding and over-bites, etc., appear to be due to the softer foods of the modern diet. Several hundred years ago impacted wisdom teeth were relatively rare. Softer foods result in less bone mass in the jaw and subsequently less room for the full set of adult teeth.
A description of the deeply interrelated workings of the inner ear and the visual system leads to a discussion of how balance and visual acuity is maintained during movement, especially running. The author, Daniel Lieberman is in fact a proponent of the relatively recent barefoot running phenomenon in large part due what the evolution of the head reveals about the body as a complete system.
It’s a dense book, which even the author says is not meant to be a best seller, but still rewarding.