Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Video: Dig Deeper: Adrienne Zihlman

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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