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Innovation and Environmental Disruption During the Origin of Homo sapiens

May 3, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm



Photo Credit: Jason Nichols

Recent discoveries at the Kenyan site of Olorgesailie offer insight into how environmental shifts drove early humans in East Africa to develop stone tool innovations, trade between distant groups, and use coloring material by 320,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously thought. These milestones in technological, ecological, and social evolution coincided with the oldest ages for fossils attributed to Homo sapiens in Africa.

In this talk, Dr. Rick Potts will discuss the exciting implications of his team’s findings. These obsidian tools, valued for their sharp edges, were carried up to 55 miles from their source into the rugged terrain of the Kenya rift valley. This long-distance exchange between distant groups is an indicator of social networks, which are critical for survival in unpredictable environments. He will also discuss how dramatic variations in fresh water, vegetation, and landscapes took place during this critical transition in human behavior and may reflect the origin of adaptability in our species.

Registration is not required for this event and admission is free.


May 3, 2019
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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Coe Auditorium, Buffalo Bill Center of the West
720 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, WY 82414 United States
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I [name], of [city, state ZIP], bequeath the sum of $[ ] or [ ] percent of my estate to L.S.B. Leakey Foundation for Research Related to Man’s Origins, Behavior & Survival, (dba The Leakey Foundation), a nonprofit organization with a business address of 1003B O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129 and a tax identification number 95-2536475 for its unrestricted use and purpose.

If you have questions, please contact Sharal Camisa Smith sharal at 

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