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XLVII Journal of Anthropological Research Distinguished Lecture

Thursday Oct 25, 2018

Dept. of Anthropology, UNM
Between MLK and Roma, E of University Blvd
Albuquerque, NM 87131






Jonathan Dombrosky

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Dr. Karen Kramer, Associate professor, Anthropology Department, University of Utah lectures on concepts of The Evolutionary Story of Population Growth and a Human Life History of Cooperation.

How There Got to Be so Many of Us: The Evolutionary Story of Population Growth and a Human Life History of Cooperation

Dr. Karen Kramer, Associate Professor, Anthropology Department, University of Utah

Lecture Abstract: One of the characteristics that defines humans is our amazing demographic success. The capacity for population growth has profound effects on people’s lives today, but it is also one of the remarkable stories of our evolutionary history. My talk will focus on how evolved changes in the human diet, life history and cooperation are linked in a kind of brilliant strategy that gives humans their demographic edge and has made us incredibly successful as a species. Following an overview of these evolutionary changes, I will use several examples from my ethnographic research with South American hunter-gatherers and Maya agriculturalists to illustrate how cooperation permits flexibility in both physiological and demographic traits that allow humans to maximize fertility and minimize juvenile mortality in ways not available to our closest nonhuman relatives. In conclusion, I bring forward what we can learn from traditional societies to inform us about population growth today.