The latest series from CARTA explores the development of several important distinctly human characteristics that range from molecules, to metabolism, anatomy, disease, and behavior.
In Episode One, UC San Diego professor Carol Marchetto discusses how a comparative gene expression analysis of human and non-human primates revealed differences in the regulation of a class of transposable elements LINE1 retrotransposons between species; University of Southern California professor Joseph Hacia discusses studies profiling phytanic acid levels in red blood cells obtained from humans and captive non-human primates all on low phytanic acid diets; and Emory University professor James Rilling discusses the difference of arcuate fasciculus between human and non-human primate brains and how the specialization of speech has helped humans evolve.
In Episode Two, Emory University professor Dietrich Stout discusses an evolutionarily motivated definition of technology that highlights three key features: material production, social collaboration, and cultural reproduction; UC San Diego professor Pascal Gagneux discusses how recent comparative genome studies have revealed that this polymorphic system is ancient and shared between humans and non-human primates, this despite the fact that none of the great ape species carries all four ABO blood types; and University of Utah professor James O’Connell discusses food sharing, evaluates one hypothesis that focuses on males acquiring big game meat and marrow to provide for mates and offspring. The other hypothesis surrounds how certain kinds of savanna plant food set up the forager interdependence which propelled all aspects of life history change.
In Episode Three, Arizona State University and University of Utah professor Polly Wiessner addresses intergroup ties between humans, chimpanzees and bonobos and explores some of the possible evolutionary developments that contributed to the human disposition to form mutually supportive external bonds, and then discusses the impact of social ties on coalitionary action; UC San Diego professor Rafael Nuñez discusses the comparative analysis of “quantity” and “number”, and the implications it has for debates about the origins of other human special capacities such as geometry, music, and art; and UC San Diego School of Medicine professor Nissi Varki discusses the incidence of carcinomas, including the rarity of occurrence of common human carcinomas in captive chimpanzees.
Explore these programs on more, visit CARTA: Comparative Anthropogeny: From Molecules to Societies.
In this new CARTA series, experts address altered states of the mind that are deliberately induced by humans – from the use of psychoactive compounds both natural and man-made, to self-induced states of consciousness and awareness, to anomalous states precipitated by different physical conditions and behaviors. Find out what is known about origins and mechanisms of these mind-altering practices, and also (when known) how they affect the minds of other species. In doing so, researchers hope to gain new insights into the origins and workings of the human mind.
Browse more programs in CARTA: Altered States of the Human Mind: Implications for Anthropogeny.
CARTA’s Fall 2020 symposium, Comparative Anthropogeny: Exploring the Human Ape-Paradox, examines humans as a uniquely evolved, “biologically enculturated,” species as juxtaposed with our closest living relatives, the “great apes” (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans). By definition, each species is unique as it represents the outcome of independent evolution. Yet, humans appear to be a remarkable outlier as we have numerous characteristics so far un-described in any other primate. Why should this be? Unlike other species, the evident animal nature of humans is interwoven with a distinctly human cultural fabric, forming the paradox of “biological enculturation”: a species that is both “biologically cultural” and “culturally biological.” In humans, “biological enculturation” is so pervasive that disentangling the cultural and biological components is impossible.
This symposium brings together experts in various disciplines from around the globe to address several important distinctly human “biologically enculturated” characteristics, both in relation to each other and in contrast to our evolutionary cousins. They explore transdisciplinary interactions and generate new, potentially unexplored, insights into uniquely-human specializations.
Given the interest in understanding our evolution, this symposium also helps organize how and in what sequence distinctly human physical, mental, social, and cultural features evolved. Such understanding may help explain the origin of our species and how it came to now directly shape the planet, giving rise to the Anthropocene, the epoch of human influence on climate and the environment.
Browse more programs in CARTA – Comparative Anthropogeny – Exploring The Human-Ape Paradox.
Svante Pääbo once said, “We are all Africans, either living in Africa or in recent exile from Africa.”
It is now abundantly clear that Africa was the “cradle of humanity,” with multiple waves of hominins arising on that continent and spreading across the old world, eventually being effectively displaced by our own species, which also arose in Africa.
Given these facts, it is not surprising that the strong emphasis of anthropogeny is on the continent of Africa with wide-ranging studies including genetic, paleontological, archeological, primatological, climatological, sociocultural and more.
This CARTA symposium focuses on the contributions of scientists and scholars of anthropogeny who live and work in Africa.
Browse more programs in Anthropogeny: The Perspective from Africa.
More than 20 years ago, a small group of La Jolla academics began periodic meetings for transdisciplinary discussions on explaining the origin of humans – anthropogeny – an effort which has blossomed into an international intellectual collaborative organized by UC San Diego and the Salk Institute as the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny – CARTA.
At the formal opening of CARTA just over 10 years ago a group of CARTA leaders and advisors attempted to “define the agenda.” Since then, much additional relevant information has emerged, and an expanded group of experts now revisits the agenda by addressing the following questions on a broad array of selected topics: What do we know for certain? What do we think we know? What do we need to know? How do we proceed?
Effectively, this is a whirlwind tour of many, but not all, approaches to anthropogeny.
Browse more programs in CARTA 10th Anniversary: Revisiting the Agenda