“What happened to the Neanderthals?” – Special Public Lecture in Cape Town

May 21, 2015 No Comments by

On 3rd June 2015 Professor Richard G. Klein Hon. FRSSAf, MNAS (National Academy of Sciences), Stanford University, will present a free public talk entitled “What happened to the Neanderthals?”at the SA Astronomical Observatory, Observatory at 5pm.

Models of a Homo Sapien (LT) and Neanderthal

Models of a Homo Sapien (LT) and Neanderthal

Abstract : In 1987, a landmark exploration of mitochondrial DNA diversity popularized the idea of a recent African origin for all living humans. The ancestral African population was estimated to have existed 200 ka (thousands of years ago) plus or minus a few tens of thousands of years. A corollary was that at some later date the fully modern African descendants of that population expanded to swamp or replace the Neanderthals and other non-modern Eurasians. The basic concept soon became known as ‘‘Out of Africa,’’ after the Academy Award winning film (1985) that took its title, in turn, from Isak Dinesen’s classic autobiography (1937). Many subsequent genetic analyses have reaffirmed the fundamental Out of Africa model. The fossil and archeological records also support it strongly. The fossil record implies that anatomically modern or near-modern humans were present in Africa by 150 ka; the fossil and archeological records together indicate that modern Africans expanded to Eurasia beginning about 50 ka.  The recovery of DNA from the Neanderthal bones now suggests their genes comprise 1.5-2% of the present-day human genome, which means they occasionally interbred with modern African invaders.  The most conspicuous surviving Neanderthal genes have to do with skin and hair, perhaps because these enhanced early modern humans survived in Eurasian environments.

For best ever reconstruction of early humans and Neanderthals : The Telegraph

*Directions to SAAO Auditorium : From the N2, turn off to the M57 – Liesbeek Parkway; turning in the direction of Cape Town and continue until the traffic lights with Hartleyvale (hockey and football) on your left. Turn right at traffic lights into Observatory Road, pass the River Club; the S A Astronomical Observatory is next on the left. Once through the security gates bear left following the SALT signs to the auditorium i.e. last building on the left (white with stoep & ramp).

 

RSSAf Talks

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