Human Biology: Concepts and Current Issues (6th Edition)
The Focus Is on the Student
This book was written for students who do not yet have a strong background in science so that they, too, might share in the joy and wonder of science. Every effort was made to make the book accurate and up-to-date while keeping it inviting, accessible, and easy to read. The look and feel of the text is intentionally like that of a news magazine, peppered with short features likely to be of interest to the student and with a strong visual appeal.
Each chapter begins with a Current Issue that highlights a recent controversy or ethical/social/political issue related to human biology. The main narrative of each chapter beginswith Key Concepts that summarize the most important points within the chapter. Quick Check questions throughout the narrative or linked to select figures allow the students to check their understanding as they go along. Finally, each chapter ends with 15 new multiple-choice questions so that students can check their progress.
Students are naturally curious about how their own bodies work and about human diseases. We capitalize on this curiosity with Health & Wellness boxes that highlight timely health topics. In addition, organ system chapters generally conclude with a section covering the more common human diseases and disorders.
A new feature of this edition is the inclusion of MJ’s Human Biology Blog, 2-4 blog entries per chapter, taken from the blog Website developed specifically for this text, http://www.humanbiologyblog.blogspot.com. Blog entries highlight recent discoveries or news items relevant to the subject of each chapter. We hope that MJ’s Human Biology Blog entries and the blog Website will encourage curious students to dig a little deeper into specific topics that interest them. Unifying Themes Tie the Subjects Together Several unifying themes in biology hold the chapters together. Homeostasis, the state of dynamic equilibrium in which the internal environment of an organism is maintained fairly constant, is one of those recurrent themes. The concept of homeostasis ties in with another recurrent theme: that structure and function are related. Structure/ function relationships are the very core of the study of anatomy and physiology, and both of these fields in turn rely on the most unifying concept in all of biology: evolution. Only in the context of evolution can anatomy and physiologybe fully understood; without the concept of evolution, very little in biology makes sense.
A predominant theme of this book is that each of us has choices to make—choices that will affect ourselves, other humans, and the entire planet. Should all children be vaccinated against childhood diseases? Should we spend time and money preparing for a pandemic that may never occur? Will we be willing and able to slow the rate of global warming? Is it important that we save other species from extinction, and if so, how would we go about it? Students are encouraged to formulate their own views on these and other topics so that they will feel comfortable with the choices they make.
The Organization Fits the Course
This book was designed to accommodate the fairly standard format for college courses in human biology. There are chapters that introduce science and chemistry, chapters that cover basic human biology from cells through the human organ systems, and finally chapters on evolution, ecosystems and populations, and human impacts on the environment. With such broad coverage, however, there is never
enough time to teach all that is interesting, exciting, and relevant about human biology in one semester. Fortunately, because each chapter was written to stand on its own, this book allows for a certain degree of flexibility. Instructors wishing to emphasize the basics of human anatomy and physiology or focus on the medical aspects of human biology could omit or deemphasize the last two chapters. Instructors should feel free to present the organ system chapters in a different order if they feel more comfortable doing so. Within chapters, diseases and disorders sections could be omitted or considered optional. Those interested in a more cellular or molecular approach might want to give greater emphasis to Chapters 4 and 17–21 and move quickly through the organ systems chapters. Those more interested in the broader picture of where humans came from and how humans fit into the world order may want to allow sufficient time for the last three chapters, even if it means that they must move quickly or selectively through the organ system chapters. All of these approaches are equally valid. However much you cover, dig in and enjoy your course!
Michael D. Johnson
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