The Role of Hunting in Anthropogeny

Event Dates: 
Mar 2, 2018 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm

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.

Date Media Session Title Speakers Abstract Location
Fri 3/2 File Welcome & Opening Remarks Pascal Gagneux, Richard Wrangham Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File Nutritional Significance of Meat Alyssa Crittenden

Are we inherently vegetarian or carnivorous? Despite the robust data that suggests that we are, in fact, omnivorous, the debate rages on. Almost every discussion on the links between diet and... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File Why Foragers Hunt Rebecca Bliege Bird

The idea that women have evolved to be plant gatherers and men hunters has dominated evolutionary thinking and the popular imagination for decades. Many have suggested that the origins of a... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File Pan the Hunter: Ecological Explanations for Chimpanzee Predation Ian Gilby

As frequent predators (relative to other apes), and one of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees are a valuable point of reference for investigating why meat consumption increased so... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File Social Explanations for Chimpanzee Hunting David Watts

Chimpanzees hunt vertebrates more often and eat more meat than do any other nonhuman primates, and meat from captured prey is typically distributed among multiple individuals. Also, they and... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File Hunting by Savanna - Living Chimpanzees Jill Pruetz

Chimpanzees living at the Fongoli, Senegal site are the only nonhuman apes thus far that routinely hunt vertebrate prey with tools, with more than 500 cases now recorded.  These chimpanzees hunt... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File How We Determine What Food Fueled Human Evolution Margaret Schoeninger

Humans can and do eat anything and everything.  If we cannot eat it directly, we give it to an organism (from yeast to cattle) to eat it for us by transforming it into something that we can eat... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File The Ecology of Hominin Scavenging Briana Pobiner

Evidence for meat eating in the form of butchery marks on animal bones made by hominins dates back to at least 2.6 million years ago. Ancient tools from the same period suggest that these hominins... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File How Control of Fire Changed Hunting Richard Wrangham

When meat first became a nutritionally significant food item for Homo it is classically regarded as having been eaten raw. In support, other primates eat meat raw; and archaeological... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 3/2 File Wrap-up, Question and Answer Session, Closing Remarks James Moore, All Speakers, Ajit Varki Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium

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