IAS Fellows’ Public Lecture – Where Did I Come From? Human evolution, Sexual Selection, and Ecological Stress, by Dr Adam Gordon (University of Albany)
November 2 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
IAS Fellows’ Public Lecture by Dr Adam Gordon (University of Albany)
The study of human evolution is compelling, in part because it is the study of who we are and where we came from. As a consequence, each new fossil discovery or advance in ancient DNA research appears in major media outlets. But far less frequently do news outlets go beyond saying “New discovery upends understanding of human evolution!” to discuss how we integrate information from extinct and living species with our general understanding of biological evolution to produce, and continually revise, a picture of what happened in human evolution (albeit an incomplete and not-necessarily-correct one). This talk walks through an example of this process, examining how evolutionary theory can be used to generate models with predictions that can be tested across large groups of living organisms (for example, the primates), then using those empirically validated models to infer the evolutionary processes that resulted in what we find in the fossil record. In particular, Dr Gordon will explore how ecological stress, mate choice, and mate competition affect body size variation in living primates to better understand what happened in our evolutionary past, producing the variation we see in the rich fossil record of some of our early fossil ancestors, the australopiths.
This lecture is free and open to all. Registration is not required to attend in person.