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Ancestors of Us All: Recent Discoveries in Human Origins and Evolution is topic of upcoming presentation in Outreach Lecture Series at UT Austin

Dr. John Kappelman, professor of zoology at The University of Texas at Austin, will lecture on how the recovery of new fossil specimens has changed our understanding of the timing of human origins. The lecture, Ancestors of Us All: Recent Discoveries in Human Origins and Evolution, is part of the UT Austin Department of Geological Sciences Outreach Lecture Series.

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WHAT: Dr. John Kappelman, professor of zoology at The University of Texas at Austin, will lecture on how the recovery of new fossil specimens has changed our understanding of the timing of human origins. The lecture, Ancestors of Us All: Recent Discoveries in Human Origins and Evolution, is part of the UT Austin Department of Geological Sciences Outreach Lecture Series.

Admission is free and open to the public. CD-ROMs containing the lecture materials will be given to all K-12 teachers who attend.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday (March 2).

WHERE: Welch Hall (24th and Speedway) room 2.224 on the UT-Austin campus. There will be a pre-lecture reception and interactive anthropology exhibits from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. on the second floor of the Schoch Bldg. (across Speedway from Welch Hall)

BACKGROUND: The UT Austin Department of Geological Sciences Outreach Lecture Series is designed for the public in general and for K-12 science teachers in particular. In each lecture, a professor or research scientist from UT Austin will speak on a topic of general interest that is associated with his/her research expertise. For K-12 science teachers, a CD-ROM of instructional materials will be available free of charge.

The March 2 lecture will show that the subject of human origins and evolution has witnessed a revolution during the past 30 years. The lecture will present not only some of the high points of this revolution, but Kappelman also will discuss how the recovery of new fossil specimens has changed our understanding of the timing of hominid origins and the factors that drove the evolution of our ancestors who walked upright. In addition, new observations about the genus Homo integrate data from body mass and brain size and together with the archaeological record, suggest a long, distinctly non-modern phase in human evolution. The final topic in the lecture will include a discussion of the origin of modern humans, and how the combination of new specimens from the fossil record along with data from the molecular genetics of living and ancient humans offers new insights into our own origins.

CONTACT: Professor Jay L. Banner, department of geological sciences, (512) 471-5016, or via Email at banner@mail.utexas.edu