Schlafly Bottleworks, Maplewood, MO
Mysteries of Human Evolution
Professor of Physical Anthropology
Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology
Moderated by: Cynthia Wichelman, M.D.
Dr. Conroy writes, “The eminent Russian geneticist, Theodosius Dobzhanksy, once remarked: Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. And as people interested in science, you recognize the power of that statement. For not only does evolutionary biology inform how we do science, it also affects how we, as human beings, deal with each other and all that surrounds us.”
“I’ve been involved in the study of human evolution for over 40 years — both exploring for, and analyzing, the fossil evidence for our own evolution. A few years ago I started jotting down some personal reflections about a career spent thinking about, and contributing to, the study of human origins. As all of us sometimes do, I wanted to reflect upon “the bigger picture” of what one's career has been all about — if, indeed, there really was “a bigger picture”. What are some of the mysteries of human evolution — and do those mysteries have anything to say to us today? Why are humans still plagued by chronic lower back pain after having supposedly perfected upright walking over 3 million years ago? Why is human birth so difficult? Why do human infants take such an interminably long time to grow up? Why are humans the only mammal routinely capable of choking to death? Are WE the missing link?”
“Together we will explore some of these mysteries of human evolution and what they may tell us not only about our past, but more importantly, about our future. Why study human evolution? For some the study of our evolutionary past evokes sublime reflections about our place in time and nature; but perhaps the philosopher George Santayana expressed it best when he wrote: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Science On Tap is a place where, for the price of a beverage, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place outside a traditional academic context, in the Crown Room at Schlafly Bottleworks.
Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month during the academic year, usually from 7:00 - 8:30 PM. The standard format is as follows: about 45 minutes of presentation, followed by discussion until 8:30 PM. Seating is limited to the first 100 people. No reservations accepted.
Room at the Schlafly Bottleworks
Register to receive e-mail announcements of future Science On Tap events.
Interested in learning about medicine? Check out Washington University's Mini-Medical School!