Theoretical and evolutionary biologist Philipp Mitteroecker, recipient of the Rohlf Medal, will give a Provost’s Lecture titled “The (Mis)Measure of Human Evolution” on Tuesday, October 24, at 4 pm in the Charles B. Wang Center, Lecture Hall 2.
The measure — and occasional mismeasure — of human morphology is central to biological anthropology and the study of human evolution, as well as many areas of the biological and medical sciences. However, for historical reasons, both evolutionary explanations and the measure of human nature have also been contentious, and they are increasingly criticized by social scientists. Mitteroecker has spent his academic career not only advancing morphometric and statistical methods for evolutionary research, but also identifying their inherent limits and biological meaning.
In this talk, Mitteroecker, a professor of biostatistics and biometrics in the Department of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Vienna, will give an overview of his research in human evolution and morphometric methods. He will focus on the evolution of human childbirth, which is a fascinating evolutionary puzzle. It seems paradoxical that such a painful and sometimes dangerous process has evolved. Mitteroecker will present a model of the underlying evolutionary dynamics and discuss the involved biological, medical and sociocultural factors. He will also touch upon the ethical and political implications of this work.
This lecture is free and open to the public; if you would like to attend, please register through this form.
There will be light refreshments following the lecture.