How did we evolve?
We’ve all heard of Neanderthals but how many people know that modern humans lived with two other kinds of humans 100,000 years ago?
He will explain how our species, which evolved in Africa, is related to the populations of Neanderthals in western Eurasia, the Denisovans in eastern Eurasia and Homo floresiensis in Indonesia, and why we are the only humans left today.
“New fossil and archaeological discoveries, new dating work and particularly new DNA studies are revolutionising how we look at recent human evolution,’’ Professor Stringer said.
He said the simple models of 20 years ago had been replaced by much more complex ones where our species had a Recent African origin and also where species boundaries with other human groups were still genetically open, leading to interbreeding.
“New work on ancient DNA in Europe has shown how a story that was thought to be well-understood has been replaced by a richer but more convoluted picture, and it is likely that similar work in regions like Sunda and Sahul could reveal hitherto-unsuspected complexity in the human story there.”
Professor Chris Stringer has worked at the Natural History Museum, London since 1973 and is Research Leader in Human Origins and a Fellow of the Royal Society.
His early research was on the relationship of Neanderthals and early modern humans in Europe, but through his work on the Recent African Origin theory of modern human origins, he now collaborates with archaeologists, dating specialists and geneticists in attempting to reconstruct the evolution of modern humans globally.
His recent books include Homo britannicus (2006), The Complete World of Human Evolution (2011, with Peter Andrews), The Origin of Our Species (2011) and Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story (2014, with Rob Dinnis).