EVENT: What dating can tell us about human evolution

EVENT: What dating can tell us about human evolution

When Neanderthals, Denisovans and modern human met with Dr Katerina Douka from the Max Planck Institute, Germany

How our ancestors evolved, thrived and eventually disappeared, leaving our species, Homo sapiens, as the only human group on the planet, is a fundamental question in human evolution. 

Sequencing of ancient genomes has transformed our knowledge of human evolution by providing solid evidence that archaic (Neanderthals, Denisovans) and modern humans interacted and genetically mixed several times between 150,000 and 50,000 years ago. Yet, we know very little about when and where these events happened. 

Join Dr Katerina Douka from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany as she describes how the application of scientific methodologies, and in particular chronometric dating, helps us understand these processes. Dr Douka will discuss our efforts to date the timing of Neanderthal extinction in Europe and also that of Denisovans. The Denisovans were a mysterious group of humans whose remains have only been identified in southern Siberia, but whose genetic contribution reaches the indigenous populations of Papua New Guinea and Japan.

Finally, she will review the latest data on the expansion of our species, from the Siberian steppe to the rainforests of South Asia about 45,000 years ago, hoping to illustrate how chronometric dating is the key ingredient in understanding human evolution and our own past. 

WHERE:  QCA Lecture Theatre
        S05_2.04, Griffith University, South Bank, Queensland
WHEN:   Thursday, 26 September, 2019
TIME:   5:30 pm – 7 pm 
        7 pm - 8 pm Networking opportunity with canapés and drinks 

Dr Katerina Douka

Dr Katerina Douka is an archaeological scientist focused on the understanding of patterns in human dispersals, interaction, and extinctions across Eurasia over the last 100,000 years. She uses chronometric and biomolecular approaches to understand how our closest evolutionary cousins, Neanderthals and Denisovans, ultimately became extinct as our own species spread across the planet.

Currently, she is the principal investigator of a €2M project “FINDER” funded by the European Research Council for locating and analysing new human fossils in Asia and Oceania. Dr Douka is Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany, and Research Associate of the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK. 

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