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McDonald Annual Lecture 2017

Jean-Jacques Hublin, (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig) - Modern Human Origins: In Search of a Garden of Eden
When Nov 22, 2017
from 05:00 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Biffen Lecture Theatre, Dept of Genetics, Downing Site
Contact Name
Attendees All welcome
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The last half a million years witnessed the independent evolution of large brained hominins both in Africa and in Eurasia. Although Africa has long been the demographic and evolutionary core of human evolution, the precise timing and geographical location of the emergence our species is still poorly documented. New discoveries at the site of Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, demonstrate that primitive forms of Homo sapiens were already present in the Maghreb 300,000 years ago in association with early Middle Stone Age industries. The Jebel Irhoud hominins share a set of craniodental features with modern forms of Homo sapiens, however they still display a primitive endocranial shape. Together with recent advances in palaeogenetics, the palaeontological evidence suggests that the accretion of critical mutations affecting brain development and connectivity is central to the emergence of modern humans. This process most likely took place at a continental scale, involving different African populations.



Professor Jean-Jacques Hublin is the Director of the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig. He is an honorary Professor at the University of Leipzig and a part-time Professor at Leiden University. He holds the International Chair in Paleoanthropology at the College de France, Paris. Past positions include: researcher at the CNRS (1981-2000), Professor at the University of Bordeaux (1999-2004), Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley (1992), Harvard University (1997) and Stanford University (1999 and 2011) and Deputy Director for Anthropology, Prehistory and Paleo-environmental Sciences at the CNRS (2000-2003). He has been a pioneer in the field of virtual paleoanthropology. The origins of Neandertals and Homo sapiens, and most notably, the interactions between the two groups have occupied a central place in his career. Professor Hublin has produced over 270 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters in edited volumes. He is the sole or co-author or co-editor of 15 theses, books and edited volumes. In 2014, Prof. Hublin was named as a Thomson Reuters 'Highly Cited Researcher', ranking among the top 1% of researchers in his field. In 1990, he received the prize F. Millepierre of the « Académie Française » and in 2013, the prize Rudolf-Virchow of the Prinz Maximilian zu Wied Stiftung. In 2017, he was awarded the royal Wissam al-Kafaa al-Fikria by Her Majesty Mohamed VI. He is a founding member and President of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution.




There will be a reception in the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research following the lecture.  All attendees of the talk are welcome to attend.

An Oral History of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research