LEADERS: Peter Smith in conjunction with Peggy de Wolf. Dr. Smith has had a career in chemistry and IT, and Dr. de Wolf’s background is in biological anthropology and sociology with much of her career on the sociology faculty of Virginia Tech.
MONDAYS: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., 6 weeks: February 25 through April 1
LOCATION: The Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville
The study of human evolution may be viewed as a neat, linear trajectory toward ever clearer understanding, or, as in reality, a somewhat more complicated path. This course provides the underpinnings and basic architecture of our current understandings of human origins, but also explores the serious challenges encountered along the way: a possible revision of the basic premise of the tree of life; misdating and misclassification of paleontological evidence; the Piltdown Hoax; the recent discovery of very early remains in unexpected locations. The developing tools of genetics must now be integrated with paleontological evidence, and with a projection into the future of human evolution, we can also consider global climate change, overpopulation, and the nature of societal organization.