Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015
12:00 - 1:15 pm
Light lunch served.
Banner image from Lee R. Berger, et al, eLife 2015;4:e09560, Sept. 10, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09560.019
Join us for a discussion with Duke Professor Steven Churchill about the recently announced discovery of a new fossil human relative, Homo naledi, found in a cave near Johannesburg, South Africa. Churchill was a member of the research team that made the discovery, and will talk with us about how the find affects our knowledge of our human ancestors.
Watch Dawn of Humanity, a 2-hour NOVA special documenting the research team's work in South Africa. The special aired on local PBS affiliate WUNC-TV at 9:00 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Read about H. naledi:
- "A New Human Ancestor Arises from the Depth of a South African Cave." Kristina Killgrove, Forbes, Sept. 10, 2015.
- "This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?" Jamie Shreeve, National Geographic, Sept. 10, 2015.
- "Homo naledi is related to me how?" Michael Pearson, CNN.com, Sept. 10, 2015.
- "Why Don't We Know the Age of the New Human Ancestor?" Ed Yong, The Atlantic, Sept. 14, 2015.
- The scientific publication: "Homo naledi: a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa." Lee R. Berger, et al, eLife 2015;4:e09560, Sept. 10, 2015.
Check out what Steven Churchill had to say about H. naledi below!
Duke University Evolutionary Anthropology
Steven Churchill is Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. He is a human paleontologist studying morphological and behavioral adaptation in archaic and modern humans of the Middle and Late Pleistocene. Through comparative functional-morphological analysis of human fossil remains, coupled with investigation of the archeological record of prehistoric human behavior, he and his students conduct research in the ecology, energetics and adaptive strategies of premodern members of the genus Homo and early members of our own species [H. sapiens] in Africa, the Near East and Europe; the evolution of human subsistence strategies across the Middle and Late Pleistocene; the evolution of subsistence technology, especially the origins of true long-range projectile weaponry; he community ecology of humans and large-bodied carnivores in Pleistocene Europe and Africa. In addition to this basic research, his team is also actively engaged in fieldwork in southern Africa, with the goal of improving our understanding of the morphology and behavior of Middle Stone Age-associated early modern humans and their immediate ancestors (African Middle Pleistocene archaic humans).
Churchill was part of the team that recently announced its findings of a new species of human relative, Homo naledi in a cave in Southern Africa.