Domestication and Human Evolution

Event Dates: 
Oct 10, 2014 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm
Event Chairs:

Terrence Deacon, University of California, Berkeley
Robert Kluender, University of California, San Diego

The domestication of other species has played an undeniably central role in the evolution of modern humans, and in our planetary dominance and success. In view of this fact, researchers have over the years investigated the genetic underpinnings and the anatomical, neural, physiological and behavioral consequences of domestication across a number of animal species – but largely independently of each other. Recently, a convergence of views has led to the notion that the study of animal domestication may tell us something not only about our relationship with domesticated species since perhaps at least the Pleistocene, but also about our own evolution as a species in the more distant past. Specifically, it has been suggested that a number of the unique anatomical, neural, developmental, social, cognitive and communicative traits that define our species may be attributable to selection for lack of aggression and to a process of self-domestication. This symposium brings together researchers from a variety of research backgrounds to examine these concepts and to elucidate further the possible role of domestication in human evolution.

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
Fri 10/10 File Welcome and Opening Remarks Fred Gage, Salk Institute
Fri 10/10 File Introduction Robert Kluender, University of California, San Diego
Fri 10/10 File The Transformation of Wolf to Dog: History, Traits, and Genetics Robert Wayne, University of California, Los Angeles
Fri 10/10 File Fox Domestication and Genetics of Complex Behaviors Anna Kukekova, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Fri 10/10 File Craniofacial Feminization in Canine and Human Evolution Robert Franciscus, University of Iowa
Fri 10/10 File The Domesticated Brain Terrence Deacon, University of California, Berkeley
Fri 10/10 File Neotenous Gene Expression in the Developing Human Brain Philipp Khaitovich, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology
Fri 10/10 File The Domestication Syndrome and Neural Crest Cells: A Unifying Hypothesis Tecumseh Fitch, University of Vienna
Fri 10/10 File Domestication and Vocal Behavior in Finches Kazuo Okanoya, University of Tokyo
Fri 10/10 File Did Homo Sapiens Self-Domesticate? Richard Wrangham, Harvard University
Fri 10/10 File Wrap-up, Question and Answer and Closing Remarks Terrence Deacon, University of California, Berkeley
Robert Kluender, University of California, San Diego