Northwestern University

Wed 6:00 PM

Almost Human: How New Discoveries from South Africa Change Our View of Human Origins - John Hawks, PhD (Chicago)

When: Wednesday, March 8, 2017
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM  

Where: Robert H Lurie Medical Research Center, Baldwin Auditorium, 303 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Michelle Mohney   312.503.5602

Group: Center for Genetic Medicine

Category: Lectures & Meetings

More Info


The Center for Genetic Medicine of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine welcomes you to attend the Silverstein Lecture Series on March 8 (Chicago) and March 9 (Evanston), featuring John Hawks, PhD, Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Human evolution was once thought to be a straight march of progress, but both ancient DNA and new fossil discoveries are showing how unexpected populations have contributed to our origins in surprising ways. The recent discovery of a huge trove of fossil bones in the Rising Star cave system of South Africa has identified a new ancestral form of human, Homo naledi, that surprised scientists around the world in many ways. The ongoing research on these ancient creatures has shown that they may have deliberately placed their dead inside a deep, remote chamber, casting new light on the origins of human sociality. Part of the lecture will take people virtually into the cave, and will feature the brave team of “underground astronauts” who worked in this dangerous environment. The lecture will also feature new discoveries made by the scientific team that help to place Homo naledi in an unexpected place in our origins.

Professor John Hawks is an internationally recognized expert on human evolution and genetics and science communicator. He is best known for his work demonstrating the rapid evolution of modern humans within the past 40,000 years; and for exploring the contribution of ancient Neandertals to the ancestry of people living today. He has done fieldwork in Africa, Asia and Europe, and for the last three years has been working in South Africa with Lee Berger on the extraordinary fossil deposits of the Rising Star cave.

The Silverstein Lecture Series was established by the Herman M. and Bea L. Silverstein Medical Research Fund for Genetic Medicine to bring advances in genetics research and medicine to the general public. The series features a renowned expert who discusses his or her research in a community forum. The events are always free and open to the public.

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