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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The Bonobo and the Atheist

The Bonobo and the Atheist

Frans de Waal

Emory University

Book Signing to Follow

$18 general admission / $12 members

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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