Research Scientist to Deliver Lecture on Human Evolution at NUI Galway

Friday, 8 January 2010

Dr Peter Andrews, retired head of the Human Origins Group at the Natural History Museum in London, will deliver a lecture on Human Evolution on Tuesday, 19 January, at NUI Galway. Dr Andrew's talk will be based on a survey of new hominid fossil finds and their significance to human evolution, with a slant towards Darwin and his contributions to the subject of evolution. The lecture will take place at 8pm in the MRI Annex Theatre, NUI Galway. Event organiser and NUI Galway Lecturer in Palaeontology with Earth and Ocean Sciences, John Murray, is currently working with Dr Andrews at a pre-neanderthal cavesite in Nagorno Karabagh, Southern Caucasus. During his visit, Dr Andrews will examine the Neanderthal skull-cap in the James Mitchell Geology Museum at NUI Galway. Speaking in advance of the lecture Mr Murray said: "This particular specimen is actually the 'plastotype' for neanderthal people. In 1864 William King, Professor of Geology at Galway, coined the term Homo neanderthalensis and he remains the first individual to ever successfully name a new species of human". Speaking about the upcoming lecture Dr Andrews said: "The past few years have seen exciting new discoveries at all stages of human evolution, and I will be reviewing recent evidence on six stages of human evolution. These include the divergence of the ape and hominin lineages, the development of upright bipedal walking, the origin of stone tool industries, the first emigration of hominin species out of Africa leading to the spread of hominins globally, including Flores, the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa and when and where human populations spread out of Africa into the rest of the world". Although now retired, Dr Andrews is still actively involved in research particularly in the areas of human and primate evolution, palaeoecology of Neogene environments, and taphonomy of vertebrate bones. Since his retirement from the Natural History Museum, London in 2000 he has been the curator of Blandford Museum, Dorset. He has also retained emeritus position at the Natural History Museum and his honorary position of professor at the University of London. He has written and edited ten books and more than 200 articles in the scientific and popular press. On Wednesday, 20 January, Dr Andrew will travel to Trinity College Dublin, where he will deliver the annual New Year address to the Irish Geological Association.
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