Fall Lectures at IHO in Berkeley

Richard Weiss (rweiss@netcom.com)
Tue, 12 Sep 1995 03:36:35 GMT

Following are the Fall lectures scheduled at the Institute of Human
Origins in Berkeley. The lectures are usually pretty good, targeted for
an informed lay audience but the speakers are always willing to answer
more in-depth questions. Reservations are highly recommended since they
are usually sold out. The IHO is located at 9th and Gilman in Berkeley.
They can be reached at (510)525-0500.

September 25, 1995:
"Common Sense in the Study of Modern Human Origins"

Over the past decade, fossil evidence from sub-Saharan Africa, as well as
nuclear and mtDNA studies of living human populations, have been employed
to suggest that modern humans originated on that continent, and
subsequently spread across the rest of the world. A critical evaluation of
the African fossil evidence, however, along with a consideration of the
much more extensive early modern human fossil sample from the Middle East,
indicates that it is far too early in our investigations to accept an
African origins idea. Presently available data, including the DNA
comparisons, indicate that an Asian origin for modern peoples is an equally
likely hypothesis.

Dr. Alan Mann is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

October 16, 1995:
"Another Look at the Origin of Hominid Bipedalism"

Humans are unique in our habitually upright posture and locomotion.
Bipedalism evolved in the earliest hominids before cranial capacity
increased and before the emergence of complex material culture. Despite
the singular importance of bipedalism in our evolution, the question of why
it evolved has never been answered in a way that is consistent with all
available paleontological, environmental, anatomical and behavioral
evidence. We have recently proposed that the origins of habitual bipedalism
in pre-hominids can be traced to the use of bipedal displays. Such displays
provide a relatively peaceful method of resolving conflicts. Bipedal
postures, once adopted in the context of social control, would have become
common elements of the pre-hominid behavioral repertoire and, over time,
bipedalism would have become increasingly multifunctional.

Dr. Nina Jablonski is Curator of Anthropology at the California Academy of

Richard Weiss
Oakland, California