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Olduvai Gorge and the Origins of Human Ecological Dominance

April 22, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Intelligence and technology have made humans one of the most adaptable species, and also the most ecologically dominant. With this dominance we have surpassed levels of planetary sustainability and are causing a modern mass extinction.

In this lecture, Rob Blumenschine describes nearly 30 years of research at Olduvai Gorge that sheds light on the origin of these capabilities in the earliest stone-tool maker, Homo habilis. In habilis we see the emergence of brain sizes larger than those of apes and the distinctly un-primate-like behaviour of competing with large carnivores for food. New methods for understanding this novel adaptation suggest that our ecological dominance had its beginnings in a tool and food procurement strategy that placed our ancestors at the base of the carnivore hierarchy and exposed them to great predation risk.


April 22, 2015
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr 94118
San Francisco, CA 94118 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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