UW-L guest lecturer shares how modern humans came to be

UW-Madison Anthropology professor

John Hawks, associate professor of anthropology at the UW-Madison.

The origin of the human species is surprisingly complex. Humans have the genes of ancient Africans, Neanderthals and a mysterious population known as the Denisovans. Only a relative handful of genetic changes mark humans today as different from these ancient people.

So how did the characteristics of modern humans, including complex social systems, symbolic thought and language, evolve? John Hawks, associate professor of anthropology at the UW-Madison, will discuss these questions and more during a free, public presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, at Valhalla, Cartwright Center-Gunning Addition.

Hawks is an expert on human evolution and genetics and is best known for his work demonstrating the recent rapid evolution of humans within the past 10,000 years and for exploring the contribution of ancient Neanderthals to the ancestry of people living today. He has done fieldwork in Africa, Asia and Europe, combining skeletal evidence from fossils with new information from genetics to uncover how humans evolved. His weblog is one of the top international resources on human evolution and genetics.

The event is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center. For more information visit: http://mvac.uwlax.edu/events-displays/?event_id1=20

If you go
Who: John Hawks, associate professor of Anthropology, UW-Madison
What: Presentation on human evolution, genetics
Where: Valhalla, Cartwright Center-Gunning Addition
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19
Admission: Free