Awareness of Death and Personal Mortality: Implications for Anthropogeny

Event Dates: 
Mar 3, 2017 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm
Live Symposium Webcast:

Access to the live webcast for this symposium will be provided here on Friday, March 3 starting at 1:00 PM (Pacific Time). Viewers will need to be logged into their user account to gain access, but are not required to register for this symposium.

While certain warm-blooded social animals and birds appear to react selectively and specifically to the death of other members of their group, humans seem to be very unusual in the quality and extent of our responses, and in the ability to translate these experiences into an understanding of our personal mortality. When during childhood do these levels of understanding emerge?  What is the underlying neurobiological basis for fears of death and mortality?   When during human evolution did these fears emerge, and how did our ancestors tolerate them without sinking into an evolutionary dead end of depression or hopelessness? Assuming we found a solution to this dilemma, why are we still the only mammals that commit suicide? What does the archaeological, historical and cross-cultural record tell us about these matters? And what are the consequences for our current human condition, ranging from self-esteem to social organization, to political leanings? This symposium will bring together expert speakers from a wide range of different disciplines that are relevant to seeking answers to these questions. In the process we will gain a better understanding of how increasing awareness of death and personal mortality shaped the origin of humans.


Please note that we expect a full crowd for this event. A seat in the auditorium is NOT guaranteed, even if you are registered.   The talks will also be broadcast on a large screen in the lobby adjacent to the auditorium; however, we recommend early arrival to secure parking and a seat in the auditorium. 

You can find a downloadable map with directions and parking tips below.   If you require handicap parking, please note that there are limited handicap spaces close to the auditorium.  There is, however, a drop-off area outside the main entrance.  You can download a map for drop-off below.  Carpooling is encouraged. 


Registration Deadline: Friday, March 3, 2017 at 1:00 PM

You must Login or Create an Account in order to register for events on this site.

If you have any questions about this event, feel free to send e-mail to