Friday, November 16, 2012

A Sum Greater Than Its Parts: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Later Human Evolution

What are you doing this weekend? If you're in the San Francisco area, you should come to the AAAs, specifically to attend this session I'm in entitled "A Sum Greater Than Its Parts: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Later Human Evolution." It's being organized by Jamie Clark (University of Alaska Fairbanks) and Adam Van Arsdale (Wellesley College), and it will be jam-packed with human evolutionary goodness. Both Adam and John Hawks (who's also participating) have already mentioned it, so I figured I'd get in on the action too, and list the program here, for any interested readers (you can also find it online here); you can also click on the presentation titles for the abstracts. 

A Sum Greater Than Its Parts: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Later Human Evolution

Room: Imperial A

Date/time: Saturday Nov. 17, 2012, 1:45-5:15 

Session Abstract:

In anthropology departments across the country- as in the field as a whole- the boundaries between the sub-fields of the discipline are often being drawn more starkly than ever. This reflects the ongoing debates about scientific vs. humanistic anthropologies as well as the increasing specialization of knowledge required for successful scholarship. And yet, even in the face of the increasing fractionation of our field, certain avenues of anthropological inquiry are actually becoming more multi-disciplinary in nature. A particularly noteworthy example is found in the study of later human evolution. Researchers from an array of fields—paleoanthropology, archaeology, behavioral and evolutionary ecology, genetics, linguistics, cognitive psychology, and primatology—produce independent and overlapping datasets that address the behavioral and biological evolution of our species. It is only by embracing the contribution of scholars across sub-field- and disciplinary- boundaries that the complexity of recent human evolution can be understood.
The purpose of this session is to bring together scholars who approach the study of human evolution from different perspectives, both to demonstrate the unique contributions being made by the disciplines represented, and as a means of highlighting the critical importance of collaborative work to a more deeply nuanced understanding of the later evolution of our species.

2:00 PM
Why Humans (especially simple foragers) Are So Egalitarian
Frank W Marlowe (University of Cambridge) 
2:15 PM
Territoriality, Tolerance and Testosterone: Hormonal Correlates of Male Chimpanzee Behavior and Their Implications for Human Evolution
Marissa Sobolewski (University of Michigan), John Mitani (University of Michigan) and Janine Brown (Smithsonian Institution) 
2:30 PM
A Primate Perspective On the Evolution of Human Life History
Tanya M Smith (Harvard University), Andrew Bernard (Freelance Nature Photographer), Ronan Donovan (Freelance Nature Photographer), Zarin Machanda (Harvard University), Amanda Papakyrikos (Wellesley College) and Richard Wrangham (Harvard University) 
2:45 PM
Childhood, Play and the Evolution of Cultural Capacity In Neanderthals and Early Modern Humans
April Nowell (University of Victoria and University of Victoria) 
3:00 PM
Milford H Wolpoff (University of Michigan) 
3:15 PM - Break

4:00 PM
Neandertal Genetics: Drawing a New Boundary for Humanity
John Hawks (University of Wisconsin-Madison) 
4:30 PM
Working Hard or Hardly Working? A Preliminary Study of the Metabolic Costs of Stone Knapping
Eric Martin Heffter (University of Arizona), David Raichlen (Universtiy of Arizona and University of Arizona) and Steven Kuhn (University of Arizona) 
4:45 PM
Language, Myth and the Symbolic Mind: Cultural Anthropology Enters the Middle Stone Age
Alan J Barnard (University of Edinburgh and University of Edinburgh) 
5:00 PM
Julien Riel-Salvatore (University of Colorado-Denver) 

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