The Oxford Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution

Christopher Sinha (Editor), Andy Lock (Editor), Nathalie Gontier (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The biological and neurological capacity to symbolize, and the products of behavioral, cognitive, sociocultural, linguistic, and technological uses of symbols (symbolism), are fundamental to every aspect of human life. The Oxford Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution explores the origins of our characteristically human abilities - our ability to speak, create images, play music, and read and write. The book investigates how symbolization evolved in human evolution and how symbolism is expressed across the various areas of human life. The field is intrinsically interdisciplinary - considering findings from fossil studies, scientific research from primatology, developmental psychology, and of course linguistics.

Written by world leading experts, thirty-nine topical chapters are grouped into six thematic parts that respectively focus on epistemological, psychological, anthropological, ethological, linguistic, and social-technological aspects of human symbolic evolution. The handbook presents an in-depth but comprehensive and interdisciplinary overview of the of the state of the art in the science of human symbolic evolution. This work will be of interest to academics and students active in all fields contributing to the study of human evolution.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages1184
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2024

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