The Science of Human Evolution in Africa

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Marriott Balcony B (Marriott Wardman Park)
From 10,000 generations ago to today, all people have roots on the continent of Africa; our species’ lineage and the foundations of our elaborate cognitive power and creativity evolved there. The vast majority of our species’ biological variation is found within Africa. In addition, some of the world’s most serious humanitarian crises are occurring in Africa. This symposium convenes anthropologists – all involved in international collaboration – to provide an overview of our current understanding of the human story in Africa. How did our evolutionary past unfold? What were the major transitions that occurred on the journey from our last common ancestor with chimpanzees to the origins of the genus Homo? When did our ancestors develop the amazing intellectual abilities that underlie the good and the bad in our species today? How do we discern this based on the cultural remains of our ancestors? How variable is our species compared to other apes? What evidence of natural selection can be found in that variation? How can knowledge of our evolutionary past help us as we work to improve life for all members of our species? As this symposium demonstrates, the scientific investigation of humanity’s experience on the continent of Africa is an elegant example of the power of global scientific engagement.
Leslea Hlusko, University of California, Berkeley
Leslea Hlusko, University of California, Berkeley
Becoming Human
Yonatan Sahle, University of California, Berkeley
The Origins of Human Cognition
Sarah Tishkoff, University of Pennsylvania
Genomic Studies of Adaptive Traits in Africa
See more of: Anthropology, Culture, and Language
See more of: Symposia