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November 16, 2012
Vol. 54 No. 10

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Stringer breaks down evolution, predicts future

The Crusader/Katie Auchenbach
MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO - Chris Stringer discussed human evolution and the future of the human race during his lecture Wednesday.
Where do humans come from? Chris Stringer, a popular British anthropologist, author and award winner knows. On Nov. 14 he shared his research with a crowd of Susquehanna students, faculty and community members in Stretansky Concert Hall.

Stringer discussed his view on human evolution. He divided this into three phases, beginning with the evolution of chimpanzees as well as southern apes including the Neanderthals. Neanderthals looked extremely similar to humans but did not have chins. They had long, wide and large noses with a huge brain inside their skull, causing their heads to be enormous. Most of them had red hair from a gene in their DNA. They evolved in both warm and cold conditions and were able to adapt to all climates.

"If you shaved and dressed a Neanderthal and put them on the New York subway, no one would be able to tell the difference between us and them," Stringer said.

Stringer then discussed the theory of pre-humans coming out of Africa, where human characteristics were evolving, but ape-like characteristics were still visible. Finally, in his third and most important phase, he talked about humans, where brains were increasing in size and behavioral complexity was improving.

Stringer ended his lecture by explaining what he predicts for the future of humans. Due to all of the processed foods we eat, our guts are decreasing in size, as well as other important organs in our bodies. Our brains are shrinking, but our skulls are continuing to grow. Our backs will begin to hunch and our arms will look abnormally long.

His prediction is a scary one, but he believes it is up to us to determine the outcome of our future as humans.

Stringer is a research leader in human origins at the Natural History Museum in London as well as a fellow of the royal society. He graduated from University College London with his bachelor of science in anthropology, and continued his education at the University of Bristol where he received both his doctorate and doctorate of science in Anatomy.

Stringer has won multiple awards over the course of his 42-year-long career. His most recent award was "The Geological Society Coke Medal," which he received in 2011. He has also been listed on "The Times 100," as one of the most influential people in United Kingdom science, as well as being named "Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries."

He is also the author of several books and has published more than 200 scientific papers. His most popular books include, "Human Britannicus," "The Origin of Our Species" and "The Complete World of Human Evolution," where all three were published between 2006 and 2012.


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