Updated June 2, 2020
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Lecture - Booting Up Humanity7:00 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, ValhallaThursday, February 19, 2015Lecture
The origin of our species was surprisingly complex. We have within us the genes of ancient Africans, Neandertals, and a mysterious population known as the Denisovans. Only a relative handful of genetic changes mark humans today as different from these ancient people. So how did the characteristics of modern humans, including complex social systems, symbolic thought, and language, evolve? New discoveries point in a surprising direction: Modern humans used a diversity of genes in a common social environment to bootstrap themselves to humanity. With the origin of modern human behavior, cultural evolution began to direct our genetic evolution, with rapid and unprecedented results.
Professor John Hawks is an expert on human evolution and genetics, best known for his work demonstrating the recent rapid evolution of humans within the past 10,000 years and for exploring the contribution of ancient Neandertals to the ancestry of people living today. He has done fieldwork in Africa, Asia, and Europe, combining skeletal evidence from fossils with new information from genetics to uncover how humans evolved. His weblog is one of the top international resources on human evolution and genetics. Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail for more information.
Speaker: Dr. John Hawks, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UW–Madison