Birth to Grandmotherhood: Childrearing in Human Evolution

Event Dates: 
Feb 21, 2014 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm

The goal is to take a broad view of the importance of child-rearing in human evolution, from birth to the impact of grandmothers.   From the moment of birth, human infants require an inordinate amount of care and, unlike our nearest living relatives, remain dependent on a variety of caretakers during an unusually long maturation period followed by extraordinary adult longevity.  How did such a distinctive pattern of development evolve and what other human features are linked to it?  In this symposium, we will take a comparative perspective and consider neuroendocrine factors, energetics, life-history trade-offs and consequences for culture.

Event Sessions

Media for each talk can be played by clicking on icons in the "Media" column, or by clicking on the individual talk titles below and then the attachment file at the bottom of the page.

Date Media Session Title Speakers Abstract Location
Fri 2/21 File Welcome and Opening Remarks Margaret Schoeninger UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Birth and the Newborn Infant Wenda Trevathan

The high degree of dependency at birth and an inordinately slow rate of growth of human infants and children place demands on mothers and other caretakers that appear to far exceed those of other... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Infant State in Apes and Humans Kim Bard

What are the inborn capacities of chimpanzees? How do chimpanzees compare to humans? These questions typify the long-standing interest in "what makes us human." As a developmental psychologist, I... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Breast Milk and Breastfeeding Katie Hinde

Milk is abundant at our local grocery store in the form of dairy products and infant formulas. This ubiquity of homogenized milk in our modern environment has the potential for the general public... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Oxytocin Pathways and Human Evolution Sue Carter

This presentation examines the hypothesis that Homo sapiens, with their high level of dependence on social behavior and cognition, could not have evolved without the neuropeptide, oxytocin.... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Sharing Childcare and Knowledge in Infancy Barry Hewlett

Giving and sharing are central to understanding humanity and human evolution. The talk examines reproductive (i.e., allomaternal care) and information (i.e., knowledge and skills) sharing among... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Human Fathers Hillard Kaplan

In this talk, I will present a theoretical model linking ecology to male paternal investment. The basic argument is that there are three fundamental potential inputs into offspring fitness: genes... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Hunter-Gatherer Childhood and Human Evolution Melvin Konner

Even compared to other primates, we humans develop slowly, with high levels of parental and non-parental care. Research on infancy and childhood among !Kung (Bushman) hunter-gatherers of... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Grandmothers and the Extended Family Kristen Hawkes

Conjugal families are often assumed to be building blocks of human societies and the primary site of childrearing in traditional communities. Alternatively, the Grandmother Hypothesis draws... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium
Fri 2/21 File Born Human: How The Utterly Dependent Survive Sarah Hrdy

Hominin infants who needed to elicit care and provisioning from allomothers as well as mothers confronted a different set of challenges from those faced by their last common ancestor with other... more

UCSD - Institute of the Americas; Hojel Hall of the Americas Auditorium