Presentation: Ancestors of Us All: Recent Discoveries in Human Origins and Evolution




Kappelman, John
Environmental Science Institute

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Environmental Science Institute



The subject of human origins and evolution has witnessed a revolution during the past 30 years. In this lecture Dr. Kappelman will present some the high points of this revolution and will discuss how the recovery of new fossil specimens has changed our understanding of the timing of hominid origins and the sorts of selection pressures that drove the evolution of bipedalism. In addition, new observations about the genus Homo integrate data from body mass and brain size and together with the archaeological record suggest a long, distinctly non-modern phase in human evolution. The final topic of this lecture will include a discussion of the origin of modern humans, and how the combination of new specimens from the fossil record along with data from the molecular genetics of living and ancient humans offers new insights into our own origins.

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