Distinguished Lecture Series
Thur • 7 pm • Lunt-Fontanne Theatre • John
Hawks, "Almost Human: Bringing South African Fossil Ancestors to Light"
In 2013, Professor Hawks's team of underground cave explorers found fossil remains of an unknown human relative in the Dinaledi Chamber, deep within the Rising Star cave system. These fossil bones belong to a previously undiscovered species, which they named Homo naledi. H. naledi has a small brain and many primitive features, but also many humanlike features. Geological evidence shows that these fossils lived at the same time our own species was evolving in Africa. Hawks and his team has recently returned to the cave, finding new evidence of H. naledi and providing new clues about how the bodies entered this incredible place.
Professor John Hawks, from UW-Madison, is an internationally recognized expert on human evolution and genetics. He is best known for his work demonstrating the rapid evolution of modern humans within the past 40,000 years; and for exploring the contribution of ancient Neandertals to the ancestry of people living today. He is a core member of the team that discovered the new species Homo naledi, from the Rising Star cave of South Africa, the largest fossil hominin discovery ever made in Africa.
John Hawks | Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of Anthropology, UW-Madison •