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In the Light of Evolution: The Human Condition

Organized by John C. Avise and Francisco J. Ayala

December 10-12, 2009
Irvine, CA

Meeting Overview:
The year of Darwinian celebration will close with a Sackler Colloquium devoted expressly to human evolution. Darwin addressed the topic at length in The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871). Much has been learned since then, not least from the evidence of paleontology, comparative vertebrate biology, and comparative genomics. This Sackler Colloquium brought together leading biologists with special expertise about human evolution, both biological and cultural.

 Video Available   

Opening Addresses

John C. Avise, University of California, Irvine

 The Four Great Books of Darwin
Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

Session I: Human History and the Paleontological Record

 Evolution of the Hominids
Bernard Wood, George Washington University

 The Evolution of Human Life History
Kristen Hawkes, University of Utah

 Neandertals, Archaic Homo sapiens, and the erectus grade in Europe and Asia
Juan Luis Arsuaga, Universidad Complutense, Madrid

Peopling the Planet: Out of Africa?
Douglas Wallace, University of California, Irvine

Human Population Diversity
Anna DiRienzo, University of Chicago

Session II: Structure and Function of the Human Genome
Chair, Kristen Hawkes, University of Utah

 Paleo-demography from Extant Genetics
Sarah Tishkoff, University of Pennsylvania

 Comparative Genomics: Humans, Chimps, and Other Primates
Mark A. Batzer, Louisiana State University

Genomic Footprints of Natural Selection
Carlos Bustamante, Cornell University

 Phylogenomic evidence of adaptive evolution in the recent ancestry of Humans
Morris Goodman, Wayne State University

Banquet Lecture
Introduction, Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

 Non-intelligent Design: Inside the Human Genome
John C. Avise, University of California, Irvine

Session III: The Uniqueness of Being Human
Chair, Sarah Tishkoff, University of Pennsylvania

The Skin That Makes Us Human
Nina Jablonski, Pennsylvania State University

 Uniquely Human Changes in Sialic Acid Biology
Ajit P. Varki, University of California, San Diego

How Cultures Evolve
Peter J. Richerson, University of California, Davis

 The Difference of Being Human
Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

Session IV: Cultural Evolution
Chair, Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

Whence Intelligence?
Leda Cosmides, University of California, Santa Barbara

 Whence Language?
Terrence Deacon, University of California, Berkeley

 Evolution of the Mind
Steven Pinker, Harvard University

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