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Untangling our evolutionary history

Bernard Wood on why greater evidence can make it even harder to trace our origins

We speak with renowned paleoanthropologist Bernard Wood about how continuing research into fossil and other evidence of human evolutionary history produces insights but also reveals how much we have yet to learn. How good, for example, are we at telling our recent ancestors and close relatives from those of the apes? How can we know how many species preceded our own? And can we tell which of those species are our ancestors, and which are non-ancestral close relatives?

Presented by Dr Andi Horvath.

For some reason to do with climate or disease or some natural disaster, modern humans in Africa shrank to a really small population in the order of 10,000 individuals. So basically the message is that we nearly didn’t make it.

Full transcript and more information available here.

中国地区的听众可以通过此链接收听播客节目: http://upclose.unimelb.edu.au/episode/371-slippery-descent-untangling-complexity-our-evolutionary-history

Professor Bernard Wood is a world renowned paleoanthropologist and foremost scientific commentator on research relating to human evolution. With more than 40 years of innovative research, published through 17 books and more than 200 scholarly papers, he has pushed disciplinary boundaries in relation to hominin systematics, paleobiology, and evolutionary ecology. He is currently Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology at George Washington University. His current research interests are phylogeny reconstruction, hominin systematics, dental evolution, evolvability within the hominin clade, and diet reconstruction.

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