The Female in Evolution

April 28, 2012


length: 00:16:15 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:21:48 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:23:45 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:29:50 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:31:31 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:21:10 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:26:56 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:19:10 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:26:57 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:27:12 | date: 04.28.2012
length: 00:50:03 | date: 04.28.2012

About this conference

A human female is born, lives her life, and dies within the span of a few decades, but the shape of her life has been strongly influenced by 50 million years of primate evolution.

Join leading scientists for a special symposium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco as they discuss the The Female in Evolution. This rich topic will be considered in the context of the three research areas funded by The Leakey Foundation; Paleoanthropology, Behavioral and Hunter-gatherers and will integrate life history, behavior, anatomy, development, and cultural identity of females.

After an introduction by primatologist Kelly Stewart, pioneering anthropologist Adrienne Zilhman will give the keynote presentation, titled "The Real Females of Human Evolution". Zihlman’s research has had major impacts on the fields of physical anthropology and human evolution. In the 1970s, her critique of the “Man the Hunter” model opened the way for researchers to incorporate the role of females in hominid biological evolution and in human cultural development, an approach that has since become mainstream.

Chaired by Leslea Hlusko, the Paleoanthropology session will feature an overiew lecture by Daniel Lieberman, titled "Millions of Years of Moms," and a case study lecture by Dean Falk on “The Role of Prehistoric Mothers in the Evolution of Language”.

The Behavioral session, chaired by Jill Pruetz, consists of an overview lecture by Joan Silk on "The Natural History of Social Bonds". Dorothy Cheney will discuss “Primate Social Cognition” for the case study lecture.

For the afternoon keynote, Robert Martin will discuss “The Evolution of Mothering: How Long Should A Mother Suckle Her Baby?”.

Chaired by Brooke Scelza, the Hunter-forager session will have an overview lecture by Kristen Hawkes on "From Men’s Hunting to the Importance of Grandmothers: Lessons About Human Evolution from the Behavioral Ecology of Foragers", and a case study by Rebecca Bliege Bird titled "Beyond Woman the Gatherer: Women's Cooperative Hunting, Sharing and Social Networks in Aboriginal Australia".

Each session of this intimate event will end with a question and answer session. Leslie Aiello will conclude the day’s proceedings with a symposium wrap-up.

Produced in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences, this special symposium is generously sponsored by Jean and Ray Auel, Gordon Getty, and with support from Wells Fargo Bank.

About The Leakey Foundation

The mission of The Leakey Foundation is to increase scientific knowledge, education, and public understanding of human origins, evolution, behavior, and survival.

For more information, visit:

About California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a world-class scientific and cultural institution based in San Francisco, driven by a mission to explore, explain and sustain life. Originally founded in 1853, the Academy recently opened a new 400,000 square foot facility that houses an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and four-story rainforest all under one roof. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded the building a LEED Platinum certification for its sustainable features, the highest rating available. The Academy is also home to a staff of world-class scientists, an education department that provides a wide range of student and teacher services, and an extensive collection of more than 26 million scientific specimens and artifacts. Lectures and programs are offered year-round, featuring experts on the biological sciences, climate change, astronomy, and a range of other engaging topics.

For more information, visit: