Babies, Brains and Bipedality in Human Pelvic Evolution
Called on to serve “the incompatible functions of pillar and portal” (Earnest Hooton), the distinctive human pelvis represents a precarious compromise between the demands of childbirth and upright bipedal locomotion. Biological anthropologists have long thought that the human pelvis was remodeled from an ape-like form in two stages: an initial reshaping for bipedality in the genus Australopithecus around 5 million years ago, and a second reshaping in early Homo three million years later that permitted the delivery of bigger-brained babies. Surprising new discoveries about fossil hominids and living apes have raised doubts about this whole picture.
This Dialogue paired two experts on the evolution of human anatomy and behavior, Dr. Steve Churchill (Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University) and Dr. Karen Rosenberg (Professor and Chair of Anthropology, University of Delaware), who will discuss and debate the meaning of these discoveries. Read their statements here.
The one-on-one dialogue between Drs. Churchill and Rosenberg was webcast on this site at 2:00 P.M., Friday, October 21, 2011, exclusively to the BU community. Videoreecordings of that dialogue and the ensuing roundtable discussion will be posted soon for public viewing.