2012-13 Claritas Distinguished Visitor in the Sciences
Chris Stringer, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Stretansky Concert Hall
Lecture: "The Origin of Our Species"
A research leader in human origins at the Natural History Museum London and a fellow of the Royal Society, Stinger received his Bachelor of Science in anthropology from University College London, and his Ph.D. and D.Sc. in anatomy from University of Bristol. He is the author of several books and is a recipient of many prestigious awards including the 2011 recipient of The Geological Society Coke Medal. In 2010 he was listed in The Times 100 most influential people in U.K. science and named honorary fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Stringer will speak about the division of human evolution into two main phases:
- A pre-human phase in Africa prior to 2 million years ago, where walking upright had evolved but many other characteristics were still essentially ape-like
- A human phase, with an increase in both brain size and behavioral complexity, and an expansion from Africa
Evidence points strongly to Africa as the major center for the genetic, physical and behavioral origins of both ancient and modern humans, but new discoveries are prompting a rethink of some aspects of our evolutionary origins, including the likelihood of interbreeding between archaic humans (for example the Neanderthals) and modern humans.
Chris Stringer has worked at The Natural History Museum London since 1973. His early research was on the relationship of Neanderthals and early modern humans in Europe, but through his work on the recent African origin model for modern human origins, he now collaborates with archaeologists, dating specialists and geneticists in attempting to reconstruct the evolution of modern humans globally. He has excavated at sites in Britain and abroad and is currently leading the ancient human occupation of Britain project in its third phase (AHOB3), funded by the Leverhulme Trust. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, and his recent books include Homo Britannicus (2006), The Complete World of Human Evolution (2011, with Peter Andrews), and Lone Survivors: How We Came to be the Only Humans on Earth (2012).
For more information, contact the School of Arts and Sciences at 570-372-4172. This lecture is free and open to the public.