Skull 5, in-situ. Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia.

Skull 5, in-situ. Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia.

Dr. David Lordkipanidze's newest evidence to come from Dmanisi has set the stage for a lively debate between the lumpers and splitters. For the past two decades, Lordkipanidze­—a five-time Leakey Foundation grantee (1998-2003)­­—and his colleagues have excavated at Dmanisi, a long-term study site in the Caucasus in the Republic of Georgia, approximately 50 miles southwest of Tbilisi. This early Paleolithic site has proven to hold rich deposits of fossils and tools, producing very complete skulls from a pivotal time in human evolution, about 1.8 million years ago.

The Leakey Foundation has funded 10 research grants at Dmanisi, including work by Reid Ferring, James Macaluso, Philip Rightmire, and Martha Tappen. For some of these studies, the Foundation is one of only two American funders. YOU can help us continue to fund this type of important work; keeping science in the forefront and exploration into our origins a priority. 

Donate

The Leakey Foundation strongly believes in the funding of long-term research. With dedication and perseverance come great discoveries, like Skull 5. Please help support long-term research and donate to The Leakey Foundation today. 


Listen to David Lordkipanidze's talk "First Out of Africa"

In 2011, Dr. Lordkipanidze gave the lecture "First Out of Africa" for the 2011 Leakey Foundation Speaker Series on Human Origins. (Note: the recording starts just a couple of minutes into the program.) 

Related links:

Posted
AuthorBeth Green
2013 EAAPP Conference

2013 EAAPP Conference

by Dr. Kristian Carlson*Senior Researcher at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University

The 4th conference of the East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Paleontology (EAAPP) took place at the Leisure Lodge Resort in Mombasa, Kenya from July 28th through August 1st, 2013. Once again it was an exciting opportunity for students and researchers in African universities to assemble, exchange ideas, and interact with a diverse array of paleoscientists from around the world. The organizing committee did a superb job in putting together the fourth installment of what has become an increasingly popular conference in the field of human evolutionary studies. Thanks to all of them, particularly Dr. Emma Mbua†* (National Museums of Kenya) and Dr. Zeresenay Alemseged* (California Academy of Sciences), for their unending efforts.

While it is impossible to mention all of the presentations, there were a number of notable trends and highlights at the conference this year. Fewer presentations focused on hominin morphology and behaviour than in past years, but paleontological-focused presentations were still numerous amongst the usual complement of archeological and paleoenvironmental-focused presentations. Dr. Fredrick Manthi†* (National Museums of Kenya) began the scientific sessions with an update on field work at Kanapoi. Miopithecus, and now the first record of Kolpochoerus (a suid) at Kanapoi, were among recent finds he noted. Dr. Job Kibii† (University of the Witwatersrand) presented a comparative morphological analysis of a new pelvic fragment from Member 4 in Sterkfontein Cave, South Africa. Dr. Kristian Carlson (University of the Witwatersrand) presented results of a collaborative effort aimed at evaluating evidence for a partially fused metopic suture in the Taung Child. This work demonstrated the splendid capabilities of the microfocus CT facility at the University of the Witwatersrand. Even the well-known site of Dmanisi, Georgia was represented at the conference. Dr. Tea Jashashvili (University of the Witwatersrand) provided a preliminary structural interpretation of cortical thickness distribution in the 1st metatarsal of Dmanisi hominins.

In terms of new announcements, Dr. Kieran McNulty* (University of Minnesota) informed participants about the formation of a new partnership, REACHE (Research on East African Catarrhine and Hominoid Evolution). This exciting multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional effort sprung from a desire to place ongoing work at Rusinga Island into a broader regional perspective. The National Science Foundation (US) is funding the collaborative partnership, which provides an excellent model for future multi-institutional, paleontological efforts focusing on developing teams interested in regional outlooks.

Updates on field work at Woranso-Mille, Nakali, and Gona were provided by Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie* (Cleveland Museum of Natural History), Yoshiki Tanabe (Joint Kenya-Japan Nakali Paleoanthropological Expedition), and Dr. Sileshi Semaw* (CENIEH), respectively. Among other things, Dr. Haile-Selassie presented new information on the phylogenetic relationship of two Early Pliocene suids (Nyanzachoerus and Notochoerus). Mr. Tanabe revealed that excavations over the last decade by the team have recovered nearly 1500 rodent specimens. Based on teeth, he was able to add nine newly identified rodent taxa to the late Miocene record. Dr. Semaw recounted the recent discovery of additional large artifacts found in situ at Gona, associated with cut-marked bone, and from basalts not available locally. Work on diagnosing them is ongoing.

Dr. Stanley Ambrose* (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) summarized collaborative efforts over the past five years aimed at expanding the existing database of known obsidian sources in the Kenya Rift Valley. The team has doubled the number of known sources in the area, while whittling away at the number of unidentified sources represented in artifact assemblages from Olorgesailie, the Turkana Basin, and the Central Rift Valley.

Dr. Julio Mercader (University of Calgary) presented cautionary results suggesting that a looming credibility crisis may soon be facing the analysis of starch grains associated with stone tools. Contamination issues seem to be a much more serious and pervasive concern than commonly recognized, and present protocols favoring reproducibility are relatively limited. More work remains to be done in this developing area of research.

Rahab Kinyanjui (University of the Witwatersrand) presented preliminary work on using fossil pollen and phytolith data to determine the impact of colonization on land use and forest structure in remnant indigenous forests outside Nairobi. Preliminary results suggest that forest structure was not significantly altered by anthropogenic impacts during the colonization period, and that current conservation efforts are proving to be fruitful.

Others reported on exploration efforts geared towards identifying new sites. Dr. Amanuel Beyin* (University of Southern Indiana) updated conference participants on efforts to explore migration routes of Middle Stone Age hominins out of Africa via Eritrea. He proposed a combined northerly/southerly route, and is currently looking for archeological evidence to support the hypothesis. Atrianus Mutungi (University of Dar es Salaam), on behalf of several colleagues, presented on a collaborative effort aimed at developing a statistical modeling approach for predicting and identifying site locations on the landscape. The effort integrates remote sensing, landscape imagery, topographical indices, and soil parameter information, among other pieces of information. Dr. Purity Kiura* (National Museums of Kenya) reported on cultural resource management efforts in the Turkana Basin aimed at assessing the impact of exploration work by Tullow Oil. Dr. Kiura noted that the cooperative relationship has already directly resulted in the documenting of hundreds of new paleontological and archeological sites. This last presentation came towards the end of the conference, and seemed to best symbolize the upbeat mood as the scientific sessions wound down. As the exploration for and exploitation of minerals and other resources becomes increasingly common in Africa, it is encouraging to see commercial entities exhibit both a tolerance for and a willingness to help preserve opportunities to study our own heritage.

The 5th EAAPP is scheduled to take place in Tanzania in 2015. I am already looking forward to it!

* indicates Leakey Foundation Grantee† indicates Leakey Foundation Baldwin Fellow

Sponsors of EAAPP: Wenner GrenPAST and its subsidiaries Walking Tall and Scatterlings of AfricaROCEEH (The Role of Culture in the Early Expansions of Humans)

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AuthorBeth Green
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

7:00 PM at Strosacker Auditorium Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio

Bernard Wood with Casts

Bernard Wood with Casts

Dr. Bernard Wood professor of Human Origins director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology The George Washington University

Like all living creatures, we are on the surface of the tree of life. All extinct creatures are within the tree. But does our small part of the tree contain just ancestors, or does it also contain extinct close relatives? This talk addresses two related questions. How good are we at using fossil evidence to reconstruct the branching pattern of our part of the tree of life? How good are we at sorting ancestors from close relatives?

Purchase your tickets here $10 per person. Free for college and high school students. Special package pricing: $15 for keynote lecture and symposium on Friday, Sept. 20

 

Posted
AuthorMeredith Johnson
jeremiah_scott.jpg

The deadline approaches! Those interested in applying for a research grant during our Fall 2013 cycle must complete the application by July 15th. Our website is your source for guidelines for applying as well as the place to start the application process.

We received over one hundred applications for the Spring 2013 cycle, and we expect a similar number for Fall 2013. Here are a few suggestions to help your application stand out from the others and maximize your chances for funding:

‣ Present a clear correlation to human origins. We fund research into human origins, including paleoanthropology of the Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene; primate behavior; and the behavioral ecology of contemporary hunter-gatherers. Other areas of study are generally not considered.

‣ State your hypotheses clearly with ways and means of testing them.

‣ Review and accurately cite related literature thoroughly.

‣ Submit a tight budget (Do a lot with a little). Find out from other researchers what they have spent on lodging, food, and transportation in your study area.

We understand you may have questions about the application process, so we've included a few frequently asked questions here: Q: I've received a previous award from The Leakey Foundation. Am I eligible for another? A: Yes, as long as you are fully compliant with the terms of your previous award. You may email us at grants@leakeyfoundation.org to find out what, if any, requirements are outstanding.

Q: Does the Foundation offer scholarships for undergraduate and graduate studies? A: No, Foundation grants are limited to funding for expenses directly related to research projects. Eligible applicants must either hold a PhD or equivalent qualification in anthropology (or a related discipline) or be enrolled in a doctoral program with all degree requirements fulfilled other than the thesis/dissertation.

Q: If I'm not affiliated with a school or research institution, may I apply for a grant? A: No, we do not award directly to individuals.

For a complete listing of frequently asked questions, please click here, and if you have further questions concerning the application process, feel free to contact us at grants@leakeyfoundation.org.

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AuthorBeth Green

ATHENS, Ohio (May 15, 2013) — Two fossil discoveries from the East African Rift reveal new information about the evolution of primates, according to a study published online in Nature today led by Ohio University scientists. The team's findings document the oldest fossils of two major groups of primates: the group that today includes apes and humans (hominoids), and the group that includes Old World monkeys such as baboons and macaques (cercopithecoids). Geological analyses of the study site indicate that the finds are 25 million years old, significantly older than fossils previously documented for either of the two groups.

African Oligocene primates

African Oligocene primates

Both primates are new to science, and were collected from a single fossil site in the Rukwa Rift Basin of Tanzania. Rukwapithecus fleaglei is an early hominoid represented by a mandible preserving several teeth. Nsungwepithecus gunnelliis an early cercopithecoid represented by a tooth and jaw fragment.

Read the full media release

Ohio University

Ohio University

This study was funded in part by The Leakey Foundation

The researchers have shared photos from the field and their thoughts on the Foundation:

Funding from The Leakey Foundation has been pivotal in establishing and sustaining our international, interdisciplinary project, and instrumental for providing rich opportunities field and laboratory training for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Authors on the Nature article are Nancy Stevens, Patrick O'Connor, Cornelia Krause and Eric Gorscak of Ohio University, Erik Seiffert of SUNY Stony Brook University, Eric Roberts of James Cook University in Australia, Mark Schmitz of Boise State University, Sifa Ngasala of Michigan State University, Tobin Hieronymus of Northeast Ohio Medical University and Joseph Temu of the Tanzania Antiquities Unit. We thank The Leakey Foundation for supporting our research.

Nature article, May 15, 2013  |  Science article, May 15, 2013  |  Animations of the fossils

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AuthorBeth Green

The Leakey Foundation sits down with Dr. Adrienne Zihlman (UC Santa Cruz) to discuss her multi-faceted career in human evolution research.

In celebration of International Women's Day, 'Dig Deeper' in to the work of Adrienne Zihlman, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and pioneering anthropologist who has had major impacts on the study of human evolution. Her critique of the "Man-the-Hunter" concept made way for understanding the role of women in evolution, an approach that has become mainstream.

More recently, Zihlman's work in comparative anatomy has pushed the tenets of physical anthropology research to consider more than just the bones of a being. Zihlman's work promotes the idea that research should investigate the relationship of the many parts of a subject (bones, muscles, flesh, tendons, et al.) and not just each part separately.

Zihlman's career has spanned several decades; she began teaching at University of California, Santa Cruz in 1967. Her first Leakey Foundation grant was awarded in 1979 for research of the locomotion of pygmy chimpanzees (now called bonobos). In 1983 the Foundation once again awarded her with a grant for research of the skeletal biology and locomotor behavior of Gombe chimpanzees. Her third Leakey Foundation grant was awarded in 2001 for the investigation of the skeletal biology and life history of the Tai chimpanzees in Ivory Coast, Africa. Her publications cover human locomotion, sexual dimorphism and growth and development. She is author of The Human Evolution Coloring Book, co-editor of The Evolving Female, and is currently co-authoring a book on comparative ape anatomy.

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AuthorMeredith Johnson
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Phillip V. Tobias with the Leakeys

Phillip V. Tobias with the Leakeys

It is with great sorrow that The Leakey Foundation shares the news of the passing of Dr. Phillip Vallentine Tobias (b. October 14, 1925).

Dr. Tobias was a world-renowned expert in the field of human origins and Professor Emeritus at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He received numerous honors and awards including South Africa's Order for Meritorious Service and three nominations for Nobel Prize. Tobias worked closely with Leakey Foundation namesake Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey. Together with John Napier they identified, described and named the new species Homo habilis. Later in life Tobias served on the Foundation's Scientific Executive Committee (SEC) and then sat as an Emeritus member of the SEC. Phillip Tobias was a dear friend to The Leakey Foundation and his contributions to human origins science are innumerable. He will be greatly missed.

Dr. Tobias passed away today, Thursday, June 7, 2012 in Johannesburg after a lengthy illness. We offer our deepest condolences to family and friends of Dr. Tobias, and those who worked with him and knew him well. An interment ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 10th at West Park Jewish Cemetery, in Johannesburg.

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AuthorBeth Green
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2012 Spring Grants Report

Scientists are turning to The Leakey Foundation for funding now more than ever.

During the most recent grants cycle, Spring 2012, we received a record number of applications (the highest number in 44 years). The competition was stiff, and the funding decisions were even more difficult than usual. Here is a breakdown of some statistics for the cycle.

Posted
AuthorBeth Green

 

The Female In Evolution Symposium is now sold out!

Live online streaming

Not in San Francisco? We are very pleased to announce The Female In Evolution Symposium will be streamed live online via FORA.tv. For more information and details on how to register for live streaming, please visit the FORA.tv special event page.

Full Schedule, Lecture Abstracts and Speaker Biographies

Saturday, April 28, 2012

at the California Academy of Sciences.

Greeting from the California Academy of Sciences

9:00 AM

Dr. Terry Gosliner, Dean of Science and Research Collections

Symposium Introduction

Dr. Kelly Stewart

Keynote

9:15 AM

“The Real Females of Human Evolution” by Dr. Adrienne Zihlman

Paleoanthropology Session

10:00 AM

Introduction

Dr. Leslea Hlusko

Overview Lecture

10:10 AM

“Millions of Years of Moms” by Dr. Daniel Lieberman

Case Study

10:40 AM

“The Role of Prehistoric Mothers in the Evolution of Language” by Dr. Dean Falk

Q&A

Leslea Hlusko, Daniel Lieberman, and Dean Falk

Behavioral Session

11:30 AM

Introduction

Dr. Jill Pruetz

Overview Lecture

11:40 AM

“The Natural History of Social Bonds” by Dr. Joan Silk

Case Study

“Primate Social Cognition” by Dr. Dorothy Cheney

Q&A

12:10 PM

Jill Pruetz, Joan Silk and Dorothy Cheney

Lunch

1 PM to 1:45 PM

Afternoon Keynote

1:45 PM

“The Evolution of Mothering: How Long Should A Mother Suckle Her Baby?” by Dr. Robert Martin

Hunter/Forager Session

2:20 PM

Introduction

Dr. Brooke Scelza

Overview Lecture

2:30 PM

“From Men’s Hunting to the Importance of Grandmothers: Lessions About Human Evolution From The Behavioral Ecology of Foragers” by Dr. Kristen Hawkes

Case Study

3:00 PM

“Beyond Woman the Gatherer: Women’s Cooperative Hunting, Sharing, and Social Networks in Aboriginal Australia” by Dr. Rebecca Bird

Q&A

Brooke Scelza, Kristen Hawkes, and Rebecca Bird

Symposium Wrapup

3:45 PM

Dr. Leslie Aiello

Top

Biographies and Abstracts

Kelly Stewart, Symposium Chairperson

University of California, Davis

Dr. Kelly Stewart is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. During her college summers, Dr. Stewart dug up fossils in northern Kenya with Richard Leakey. She later became a student of Dian Fossey, and has been observing, thinking about, and writing about gorilla behavior and conservation ever since. She is the co-author of Gorilla Society, with her husband and research partner Dr. Alexander Harcourt.

Top

Keynote

The Real Females of Human Evolution

When woman-the-gatherer was first proposed as a counter to man-the-hunter, we were only beginning to understand the many faces of primate females – their role as teachers, tool users, carriers of tradition, and as the social glue in society. In ensuing decades we have learned about the skills and talents of female primates which have been key ingredients in the evolution of our species.

Adrienne Zihlman

University of California, Santa Cruz

Adrienne Zihlman, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has had major impacts on the field of human evolution. Her critique of the Man-the-Hunter concept made way for understanding the role of women in evolution, an approach that has become mainstream. Her publications cover human locomotion, sexual dimorphism and growth and development. She is author of The Human Evolution Coloring Book, co-editor of The Evolving Female, and is co-authoring a book on comparative ape anatomy.

Top

Paleoanthropology

Leslea Hlusko, Session Chairperson

University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Leslea Hlusko earned her PhD from Penn State University in 2000. She is currently an Associate Professor Integrative Biology at the University of California Berkeley. Her research focuses on how genes influence skeletal variation and how this has evolved through time as seen in the fossil record, focusing on primates and human evolution. Her lab projects include gene expression studies and quantitative genetic analyses. She co-directs the Olduvai Vertebrate Paleontology Project at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

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Overview Lecture: Millions of Years of Moms

Natural selection was hard at work changing the human body over the last few million years, and much of that selection was driven by the challenges of being a mother. I will present a brief review of the evolution of the human female body, focusing on how natural selection helped mothers cope with the biomechanical demands of being a pregnant biped, with carrying infants and food over long distances, and with giving birth to large-brained babies.

Daniel Lieberman

Harvard University

Dr. Daniel Lieberman is a Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University and Chair of the Biological Anthropology Department, while also serving on the Curatorial Board of the Peabody Museum. Dr. Lieberman is recognized as a leading expert on morphology and is especially interested in when, how and why early hominins first became bipeds, and then became so exceptional as long distance endurance runners. He is a member of the Leakey Foundation Scientific Executive Committee.

Top

Case Study: The Role of Prehistoric Mothers in the Evolution of Language

Clues about the emergence of protolanguage appear every day in the interactions between modern parents and their infants. Parents the world over speak to infants in a special way—known as baby talk, musical speech, or motherese, which helps them acquire their native language. This presentation considers how and why motherese may have been invented by prehistoric mothers and their infants, and the possible role of infant-directed speech in the origin of language.

Dean Falk

Florida State University

Dean Falk is an evolutionary anthropologist who splits her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico where she is a Senior Scholar at the School for Advanced Research (SAR), and Tallahassee, Florida where she is the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University. Her work focuses on the evolution of the human brain and cognition. Recent projects include collaborative research on Homo floresiensis (“Hobbit”) and an investigation of the brain of Albert Einstein.

Top

Behavioral

Jill Pruetz, Session Chairperson

Iowa State University

Dr. Jill Pruetz is the Walvoord Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences (Anthropology) at Iowa State University. As a primatologist, Dr. Pruetz has studied the behavior of non-human primates such as chimpanzees, spider monkeys, howling monkeys, tamarins, patas monkeys, and vervets in various locales. She is interested in the influence of ecology on primate and early human feeding, ranging, and social behavior. She currently has an ongoing research project in southeastern Senegal to study chimpanzees in a habitat similar to that of early hominids.

Top

Overview Lecture: The Natural History of Social Bonds

For female baboons close and stable social bonds are the foundation of cooperation. These relationships help females cope with stress, and also enhance their reproductive success and longevity. These findings parallel evidence that social ties have positive effects on physical and mental health in humans. And as with humans, for female baboons the strength and stability of these bonds are more important than their number.

Joan Silk

University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Joan Silk’s research interests are wide ranging and include biological anthropology, primate behavior, and evolutionary biology. She is especially interested in how natural selection shapes social evolution in primates. Her recent focus is on social strategies of female baboons and the origins of altruistic behavior. Dr. Silk is a prolific writer, an author of over 80 publications and co-author of a biological anthropology text, How Humans Evolved. She is a member of the Leakey Foundation Scientific Executive Committee.

Top

Case Study: Primate Social Cognition

Studies on both animals and humans have shown definitively that individuals who are able to establish strong social bonds experience better health and higher offspring survival. It seems likely that natural selection has also favored the cognitive abilities to monitor and manage social relationships. There is growing evidence that monkeys and other animals are adept at recognizing other individuals’ social relationships and dominance ranks. At the same time, there are also many fundamental differences between animal social cognition and the social cognition of humans.

Dorothy Cheney

University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Dorothy Cheney is an expert on primate social behavior, communication, cognition. In 1977, together with her husband and collaborator Robert Seyfarth, she began an 11 year field study of vervet monkeys in Kenya, which led to the publication of How Monkeys See the World. From 1992 through 2007 Dr. Cheney and Dr. Seyfarth studied baboons in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. In 2007, they published Baboon Metaphysics.

Top

Afternoon Keynote

Evolution of Mothering: How Long Should a Mother Suckle Her Baby?

All primates have drawn-out life histories with long pregnancies and extended suckling. Time devoted to individual offspring more than compensates for limited daily investment in reproduction. A key part of intensive maternal care in primates is frequent suckling on demand, reflected in milk composition. In all these respects, humans are typical primates; but we also have special features, notably in brain development. But how long should a mother suckle her baby? Biological comparisons yield clues to the natural breastfeeding period for which women are adapted.

Dr. Robert Martin

The Field Museum

Dr. Robert Martin is A. Watson Armour III Curator of Biological Anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago. He has devoted his career to exploring the evolutionary tree of primates, as summarized in his 1990 textbook Primate Origins. Dr. Martin is particularly interested in reproductive biology and the brain, because these systems have been of special importance in primate evolution. His research is based on broad comparisons across primates, covering reproduction, anatomy, behaviour, palaeontology and molecular evolution.

Top

Hunter/Foragers

Dr. Brooke Scelza, Session Chairperson

University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Brooke Scelza is an assistant professor at UCLA. A human behavioral ecologist, Dr. Scelza is interested in understanding the adaptive nature of behavior as a function of local socioecological context. Her research focuses mainly on questions related to reproductive decision-making and parental investment, and on understanding the social environment as a critical influence on how people negotiate life history trade-offs. She is currently conducting fieldwork with the Himba, a group of semi-nomadic pastoralists living in northwest Namibia.

Top

Overview Lecture: From Men’s Hunting to the Importance of Grandmothers: Lessons About Human Evolution from the Behavioral Ecology of Foragers

Beginning my ethnographic work with hunter-gatherers I assumed that most distinctive human features evolved as a consequence of ancestral females pairing with hunting males to form nuclear families with men provisioning their wives and dependent offspring. Challenges to that “hunting hypothesis” have mounted in paleoanthropology and archaeology, but it was behavioral findings that forced my own paradigm shift. I’ll review some of those findings, including evidence of the important role of grandmothers, and some life history comparisons between humans and chimpanzees.

Dr. Kristen Hawkes

University of Utah

Kristen Hawkes is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah. Her ethnographic projects with hunter-gatherers investigate sex and age differences in foraging strategies to improve hypotheses about human evolution. The importance of grandmothers’ help for youngsters when their mothers have newborns focused her attention on the evolution of human longevity, and prompted continuing comparisons of human and chimpanzee life history. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Scientific Executive Committee of the Leakey Foundation.

Top

Case Study: Beyond Woman the Gatherer: Women’s Cooperative Hunting, Sharing, and Social Networks in Aboriginal Australia

Gender roles among foraging peoples are usually considered to be nearly universal: that men are hunters and women gatherers of plant foods, that men are more productive than women and that women cooperate mainly with spouses in a division of labor designed to care for dependent offspring; a pattern that is rooted in our evolutionary past. I describe an alternative perspective of women as hunters who cooperate extensively in acquiring small animals, sharing food and caring for children.

Rebecca Bliege Bird

Stanford University

Dr. Rebecca Bliege Bird is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. She is an ecological anthropologist interested in the socioecology of subsistence in small scale societies. Dr. Bird pursues such topics as the gender division of labor in hunting and gathering, cooperation, costly signaling, indigenous conservation/land management, and fire ecology. She’s currently involved in a long-term ethnographic and ecological research project with Martu people in Australia’s Western Desert.

Top

Symposium Wrap Up

Dr. Leslie Aiello

Wenner-Gren Foundation

Dr. Leslie Aiello is the President of the Wenner-Gren Foundation of Anthropological Research, which is largest private foundation in existence devoted solely to the support of international anthropological research. She is evolutionary anthropologist with special interests in the evolution of human adaptation as well as in broader issues of evolutionary theory, life history and the evolution of the brain, diet, language and cognition. Previously Dr. Aeillo was head of University College London’s Anthropology Department and Graduate School. She is a former editor of the Journal of Human Evolution.

Produced in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences, this special symposium is generously sponsored by Jean and Ray Auel, Gordon Getty, and with support from Wells Fargo Bank.

Live Video Stream Available!

Symposium:The Female in Evolution

Saturday, April 28, 2012 A human female is born, lives her life, and dies within the span of a few decades, but the shape of her life has been strongly influenced by 50 million years of primate evolution. Join leading scientists for a special symposium, in San Francisco at the California Academy of Sciences, as they discuss the The Female in Evolution.

The Leakey Foundation was proud to host Dr. Robert D. Martin, Curator of Biological Anthropology at The Field Museum and Dr. Ian Tattersall, Curator at The American Museum of Natural History, in a rousting debate over the origins of the mysterious Homo floresiensis. In case you missed it, here is footage of the debate.

The debate, held at California Academy of Sciences, was captured by Fora.tv.

Posted
AuthorBeth Green
Rodrigo Lacruz

Rodrigo Lacruz

In this episode of Dig Deeper, we ask Rodrigo Lacruz seven questions about his area of research. Rodrigo is a Research Associate at the Center of Craniofacial Molecular Biology in the School of Dentistry at University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

His area of expertise involves the dental development of early hominids. Rodrigo discusses how teeth are not unlike trees - giving away our age with microscopic lines much like arboreal growth rings. He also talks about the heartbreak of research equipment failures and a certain magic the number 6 holds for him.

Dig Deeper - a podcast produced by The Leakey Foundation

[powerpress]

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AuthorBeth Green
Nate Dominy, Dartmouth

Nate Dominy

In this episode of Dig Deeper, we ask Nate Dominy seven questions about his area of research. Dominy, who is a Leakey Foundation Grantee, recently accepted the position as Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth, where he will focus on evolutionary and behavioral ecology of humans and non-human primates. Before his new position at Dartmouth, he ran The Dominy Lab at University of California, Santa Cruz, which included a specific emphasis on sensory and foraging ecology.

Some of his recent projects include:

Dig Deeper - a podcast produced by The Leakey Foundation

[powerpress]

Posted
AuthorBeth Green