Searching for the Origins of Modern Human Behavior
Time & Location
About the Event
Perhaps the hottest question in paleoanthropology is how Homo sapiens went from being “just another hominid” to the “ultimate invasive species.” The origins of modern human behavior lie in a complex mix of environmental, genetic and social factors that combined to make our species hypersocial—able to cooperate by the millions without needing family relations to tie us together.
Curtis Marean, Foundation Professor, Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University and International Deputy Director, African Centre for Coastal Palaeoscience, Nelson Mandela University, will describe his work on the paleoecology of the now-submerged Palaeo-Agulhas Plain in South Africa. Within this now-extinct ecosystem lie clues as to how the sociogenetic transition to modern behavior came about.
Marean will describe his team’s investigations into how complex changes in climate, terrain and food sources may have favored hypersociality in our ancestors. He’ll also discuss his ongoing series of Scientific American articles laying out his group’s findings for a lay audience.
If you want to prep for the Q&A, you can check out a talk Maraen gave on the subject recently.