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The Botanic Age: Plants and Human Evolution

November 14, 2023 @ 6:30 pm 7:30 pm

This talk challenges the idea that stone tools and hunting fueled early human brain evolution. Instead, it suggests that the “Botanic Age,” focusing on botanical innovations during the first three million years of hominin evolution, was crucial. Early hominins’ transition to bipedalism led to infant care challenges, prompting mothers to create botanical baby containers akin to slings. This innovation sparked new forms of mother-infant communication, setting the stage for advanced cognitive skills, including language and music, long before stone tools emerged in the Stone Age.

Co-sponsored by the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Made possible by support from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Camilla and George Smith, and the Joan and Arnold Travis Education Fund.

Dr. Dean Falk is an American evolutionary anthropologist who lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she is the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology and a Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University. Much of her work focuses on the evolution of the human brain and the associated emergence of language, music, art, and science. A main focus of her research continues to be the important but frequently neglected role played by women and children during human evolution, as discussed in her book Finding Our Tongues: Mothers, Infants & the Origins of Language (2009).

5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030 United States
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(713) 639-4629
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