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From Afar: The Discovery, Interpretation, and Significance of Ardipithecus ramidus
Dr. Tim White
University of California at Berkeley
First Congregational Church
1126 SW Park
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It took much of the last century to demonstrate that our genus, Homo, descended from Australopithecus. By the 1960s, biomolecular work had demonstrated that our closest living relatives are the African apes—gorillas and chimpanzees. However, the precursor of Australopithecus remained unknown until a series of discoveries that began in the 1990s and continue to this day. These African fossils belong to the genus Ardipithecus, a facultatively bipedal, small-brained, woodland dweller now known from fossils recovered in Tchad, Ethiopia, and Kenya. How were these fossils found?
Tim White directs the Human Evolution Research Center at UC Berkeley where he also is a Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator of Biological Anthropology at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. He co-directs the Middle Awash research project in the Afar rift of Ethiopia. White grew up in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California and majored in biology and anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He is a AAAS fellow, member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa.