Osher Master Class I: Special Topics in Human Origins

Event Date (Pacific Time): 
Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020 - 10:00am to Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020 - 12:00pm
Event Speakers:

In this series of Osher talks, five prominent UCSD scholars and CARTA members, address different topics related to human-origins research.

Event Sessions:

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

Speakers Media Session

Margaret Schoeninger

File Fossil Record of Human Origins
This lecture focuses on the fossil record with an emphasis on ecological changes and associated dietary changes facilitating the appearance of anatomically modern humans (AMHs). We begin by tracing the evolution of the earliest primate-like mammals from more than 50 million years ago (mya), to the earliest monkey/ape-like primates about 29 mya, to apes and ape-like members of our own lineage between 23-5 mya. We end with members of our lineage in an unusually bushy portion of our family tree... read more

Pascal Gagneux

File Evolution of the Human Diet
This lecture will address the evolution of the human diet in a comparative setting. It will highlight the importance of cultural inventions from hunting prey much larger than ourselves to processing and cooking food. All indications are that humans are now biologically dependent on the cultural practice of cooking.

Patricia Churchland

File The Brains Behind Morality
This lecture will discuss the concept of morality as it relates to human behavior. What are the social and neurobiological roots of moral behavior?

Federico Rossano

File The Evolutionary Roots of Human Sociality
Humans are social animals, but so are many other animals. Yet compared to other non-human primates, humans appear to be more cooperative with each other, have greater control of their communicative signals, and appear to spend more time interacting with each other. So what is special about human social life? This lecture introduces some of the building blocks of social cognition that make social living possible without constant fighting. It presents these abilities through a developmental and... read more

Lindsay Hunter

File Rising Star Cave’s Chambers of Secrets
The Rising Star Cave near South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site has produced some of the greatest fossil hominin discoveries. Paleoanthropologist and underground astronaut Lindsay Hunter gives a firsthand account of its exploration.