UA Science Café at SaddleBrooke – 'Humans and Humidity: How Past Climate May Have Shaped Our Evolutionary History'
Series topic: "Earth's Core to the Clouds"
Volcanoes, earthquakes and ocean currents are a few of the geologic forces that have shaped the contours of our planet for millennia. Today, our climate is rapidly changing. Research presented in this series seeks answers as to why and how natural phenomena and human evolution have played a role. Our journey from the deepest depths of Earth will culminate in a closer look at the trends happening in the southwestern deserts today.
Talk: "Humans and Humidity: How Past Climate May Have Shaped Our Evolutionary History"
Presenter: Andy Cohen, distinguished professor, joint professor, Department of Geoscience and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Talk description: Human evolution spans the last 6 million years, and much of the fossil and archaeological record comes from Africa. Over the last few decades, scientists have accumulated much evidence that climate change has significantly shaped both human evolution and possibly the extinction of many close relative species. Advances in drilling technologies and development of new laboratory protocols are rapidly transforming our understanding of African environmental history allowing us to test various ideas about the links between this history and human origins.