Sponsored by: AIA-Central Arizona (Phoenix) Society
Bones, Stones, & Genes: Seven Million Years of Human Evolution
Geoffrey A. Clark, Ph.D.
Regents’ Emeritus Professor
Arizona State University School of Human Evolution & Social Change
Institute of Human Origins
Perhaps the greatest story ever told is how we became the last and sole surviving member of our lineage, the hominins – modern humans, extinct human species, and all our immediate ancestors. The human career is a long one, extending back at least 6 million years and marked by a number of major transitions, including the shift to life on the ground, habitual bipedality, increases in brain size and social complexity, the first technologies, and the emergence of language. Untangling the complicated relationships amongst these transitions is the principal task of paleoanthropology, and over the past 25 years, there have been many new and exciting discoveries, and the picture changes – is changing now – with every one of them. Prof. Clark will discuss the human paleontology and archaeology of our lineage in ‘deep time’ – the past 4 million years. He will present the broad outlines of these transitions, but it should be kept in mind that full consensus is – so far – beyond our reach. How we became the highly intelligent, technologically sophisticated, socially complex animals we are today will probably never be known with certainty, but with every new discovery, the picture changes a little, or a lot, and hopefully becomes a little clearer.