The Role of Hunting in Anthropogeny

Event Date (Pacific Time): 
Friday, Mar 2, 2018 - 1:00pm to 5:30pm
Event Chairs:

James Moore, Assoc. Prof. Emeritus, Anthropology Dept, UCSD
Richard Wrangham, Harvard University

Hunting has long been seen as a key human adaptation, thought to have influenced our anatomy, physiology and behavior. Humans have been hunter/gatherers for most of our existence as a species; only today are the last hunter/gatherer cultures being lost. However, there is considerable uncertainty about where, when, why and how our early ancestors came to consume vertebrate meat on a regular basis. Cutmarks on fossil bones are open to multiple interpretations (for example, were processed carcasses hunted or scavenged?). We can look to our closest relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, for clues – but surprisingly, there is still significant uncertainty about why chimpanzees hunt, why it is usually a male activity, or what explains dramatic differences between populations in rates of meat consumption. The goal of this CARTA symposium is to explore evidence pertaining to understanding the origins of hominin hunting in an attempt to focus research agendas for the future.

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.

Media Session Speakers
File Welcome & Opening Remarks Pascal Gagneux, University of California, San Diego
Richard Wrangham, Harvard University
File Nutritional Significance of Meat Alyssa Crittenden, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
File Why Foragers Hunt Rebecca Bliege Bird, Pennsylvania State University
File Pan the Hunter: Ecological Explanations for Chimpanzee Predation Ian Gilby, Arizona State University
File Social Explanations for Chimpanzee Hunting David Watts, Yale University
File Hunting by Savanna - Living Chimpanzees Jill Pruetz, Texas State University
File How We Determine What Food Fueled Human Evolution Margaret Schoeninger, University of California, San Diego
File The Ecology of Hominin Scavenging Briana Pobiner, Smithsonian Institution
File How Control of Fire Changed Hunting Richard Wrangham, Harvard University
File Wrap-up, Question and Answer Session, Closing Remarks James Moore, Assoc. Prof. Emeritus, Anthropology Dept, UCSD
All Speakers
Ajit Varki, UC San Diego School of Medicine

Support Opportunities

Free CARTA Zoom Backgrounds

  • Gifts: We invite you to partner with us in CARTA’s quest to explore and explain the human phenomenon. CARTA connects us all – scientists and philosophers, students and teachers, people with questions and others with answers. The global CARTA community grows with each lecture that is experienced and passed forward via FREE access to UCSD-TV broadcasts and archived videos on multiple websites. Please email for support opportunities, which have been modified due to the virtual format. Your gift to the CARTA Symposium Fund enables these valuable resources to remain free for everyone to attend and access online.
  • Insights: We understand that you may not be in a position to make a monetary contribution at this time and invite you to please share with us your insight! Your feedback is invaluable in terms of improving our offerings both in impact and reach. Please take a few moments to provide comments in CARTA's Public Feedback Survey.

Event Glossary

A glossary for this event is available as a Searchable List and a PDF icon PDF.