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Evolution and Spread of the Most Cooperative and Invasive Species: Us

Speaker(s): Curtis W. Marean

San Francisco, CA

October 10, 2016 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

$12 – $15
Scientists have identified several milestones in the evolution of the way humans find and consume food: increased meat portions, diet diversity, and the transition to food production. These changes have had far-reaching impacts on biological, behavioral, and culture evolution.

In this talk, Dr. Curtis Marean argues for another food-related milestone: the turn toward foraging dense and predictable food resources. This shift in behavior led to elevated levels of group territoriality and conflict, which may have provided the ideal conditions for the evolution of the hyper-cooperative behaviors unique to modern humans. This coupled with the uses of newly invented projectile weapons contributed greatly to our ancestors’ ability to spread rapidly throughout the world, eliminating other competitors and driving many prey species to extinction.

This lecture is presented in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences. With generous support from:
Ann and Gordon Getty
Camilla and George Smith
The concourse parking garage will be open for this event.


October 10, 2016
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
$12 – $15
Event Category:


The Leakey Foundation
California Academy of Sciences


California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr 94118
San Francisco, CA 94118 United States
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Curtis W. Marean

Curtis W. Marean is a Leakey Foundation grantee and professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the associate director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. Marean is interested in the relation between climate, environmental change and human evolution, both for its significance as a force driving past human evolution and as a challenge to be faced in the near future. This is a natural transdisciplinary topic that thrives at the intersection of archaeology, geology, geochemistry, geochronology, and climate and environmental sciences. Curtis has focused his career on developing field and laboratory teams and methods that tap the synergy between the disciplines to bring new insights to old scientific problems. He has spent over twenty years doing fieldwork in Africa and conducting laboratory work on the field-collected materials, with the goal of illuminating the final stages of human evolution – how modern humans became modern.

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