Humans Evolving: A story of adaptation

with Leslea Hlusko, University of California, Berkeley

October 10, 2014

7:00 PM

The Adler Planetarium

General Admission $10.00 / $5.00 for Leakey Foundation or Adler Planetarium Members We will update this page when tickets go on sale.

Everything that humans do today - from breathing and walking to falling in love, typing on a computer, or driving a car - we do because our biology enables us to do it. That biology, our biology, is the result of millions and millions of years of evolution. Biologist Leslea Hlusko will take us on a journey through seven evolutionary snapshots from before our split with chimpanzees to inhabiting six of the seven continents we live on today. Along the way, we'll explore how human evolution, geography and climate change are intertwined and how humans are subject to the same evolutionary forces that influence all of Earth's life forms.

Dr. Hlusko in the field.

Dr. Hlusko in the field.

Leslea Hlusko is Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California Berkeley. Her many research projects include the curatorial rescue of Mary Leakey's excavated fossils at Olduvai Gorge. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the 2014 recipient of the American Cultures Program Innovative Teaching Award. She is a research associate with the Kenyan National Museums and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Co-Sponsored by The Adler Planetarium


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Ethics Without God? The Evolution Of Morality And Empathy In The Primates

Ethics Without God? The Evolution Of Morality And Empathy In The Primates

The Bonobo and the Atheist

Frans de Waal

Emory University

Book Signing to Follow

$18 general admission

Sponsored by The Brown Foundation

Empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans. In his work with monkeys, apes, and elephants, Dr. Frans de Waal has found many cases of one individual coming to another's aid in a fight, putting an arm around a victim of attack, or other emotional responses to the distress of others.

By studying social behavior in animals, such as bonding and alliances, expressions of consolation, conflict resolution, and a sense of fairness, Dr. de Waal demonstrates that animals and humans are preprogrammed to reach out, questioning the assumption that humans are inherently selfish. Understanding empathy's survival value in evolution can help to build a more just society based on a more accurate view of human nature. Religion may add to a moral society, but as an addition and way to enforce good behavior rather than as the source of good behavior.

Photo credit :CatherineMarin

Photo credit :CatherineMarin

Frans de Waal is a Dutch/American behavioral biologist known for his work on the social intelligence of primates. His first book, Chimpanzee Politics compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. Ever since, de Waal has drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from peacemaking and morality to culture.

His latest book is The Bonobo and the Atheist. De Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in the Psychology Department of Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007, he was selected by Time as one of “The Worlds’ 100 Most Influential People Today,” and in 2011 by Discover as on of “47 All Time Great Minds of Science.”

 

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Primate Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World

Perspectives from the Muriqui Monkeys of Brazil 

Karen B. Strier 

Photo by Peter Schoen -CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo by Peter Schoen -CC BY-SA 2.0

A Leakey Foundation Lecture

in The Explorer Series at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Karen B. Strier will trace the behavioral, ecological, and demographic changes over her 31-year study of a growing population of one of the world’s most critically endangered primates, the northern muriqui of Brazil. The northern muriqui has captured international attention for its exceptionally peaceful behavior and egalitarian society. Yet today, fewer than 1,000 individuals remain in only about a dozen isolated forest fragments in southeastern Brazil. The population in one of these fragments, located in Caratinga, Minas Gerais, has grown from about 60 to some 345 individuals in just three decades, representing one-third of the entire species. Changes in the muriquis’ behavior appear to have buffered them from fluctuating ecological and demographic conditions, and provide clues into what we can do to insure their survival. These findings have implications for understanding the adaptive potentials of other primates and their chances for survival in our rapidly changing world.

Karen B. Strier is an international authority on the endangered northern muriqui monkey, which she has been studying in the Brazilian Atlantic forest since 1982. Her pioneering research has been critical to conservation efforts on behalf of this species, and has been influential in broadening comparative perspectives on primate behavioral and ecological diversity.

Dr. Strier is Vilas Research Professor and Irven DeVore Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her PhD at Harvard University. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications, including her monograph, Faces in the Forest: The Endangered Muriqui Monkeys of Brazil , and Primate Behavioral Ecology, 4th edition, a leading textbook in the field. Her new edited volume, Primate Ethnographies, calls attention to the human dimensions of primate field research and conservation efforts.

Co-Sponsored by The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

With generous support from Cornerstone Wealth Management

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