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Human Metabolism and the Evolution of Hunting and Gathering

When: 
Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 6:30pm
Where: 
Hibben Center for Archaeology Research, Rm 105
Cost: 
FREE
Presenter/s: 
Professor Ian Wallace

After a two year hiatus, the Maxwell Museum's annual Ancestors lecture will return with a talk by UNM Anthropology Professor Ian Wallace. Please join us!

Human Metabolism and the Evolution of Hunting and Gathering

Human bodies burn an extraordinary amount of energy (calories) for a primate of our size. In this talk, Dr. Wallace will discuss the many reasons why our bodies are so energetically costly, including our enormous brains, high fertility rates, and long developmental periods and life spans. He will also describe recent research indicating that the evolution of the hunter-gatherer way of life among our ancient hominin ancestors was critical to humans’ ability to pay for our energetically expensive bodies. 

Dr. Ian Wallace is an evolutionary anthropologist and Assistant Professor. His research tackles two big questions: How did humans evolve to use their bodies to move? And what are the costs and benefits of modern physical activity patterns for human health? To address these questions, Dr. Wallace explores how the way people use their bodies has changed over time. He is especially interested in the transitions from non-industrial to industrial and then post-industrial societies. What drives his research and what energizes Dr. Wallace, both in the field and in the lab, is a profound wonder for humanity: the saga of our evolutionary history and the lessons it holds, the exquisite diversity of people and cultures, the undeniable similarity of us all, the joy and pain of being a person. But in pursuing his work he has discovered another strong motivating force: he wants his research to help people. As a result, he is particularly drawn to topics that lie at the interface between evolutionary anthropology and medicine, especially those related to degenerative diseases that appear to stem from deleterious interactions between our evolutionary heritage and modern environments. Read more about his fascinating work by clicking here to visit his website.