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Evolutionary Studies spring seminar series offered

Evolutionary Studies will host its annual spring lec- ture series at 4 p.m. Fridays in S1-149. The series will include six speakers who illustrate the range of subjects that can be approached from an evolutionary perspective. For more information, visit
Each seminar will be followed by an discussion to explore the topics in more depth. There will also be opportunities for all Evolutionary Studies participants and others with a key interest in the speaker to attend dinner prior to the evening discussion. For more information, contact David Sloan Wilson at
Lectures include:
Friday, March 5

Paul Griffiths, University of Pittsburgh, will present “Representing genes.” He is a philosopher of biology, whose seminar will trace the concept of the gene through history and among the many current disciplines of biology. Griffiths will also present a second talk at noon (location to be announced) on the concept of instinct in the field of animal behavior during its formative period.

Friday, March 19
Robert Kurzban, University of Pennsylvania, will present “Evolution, trust, and reciprocity.” He studies a broad range of subjects in cognitive and social psychology from an evolutionary perspective, including stereotypes, stigmatization, and cooperation. His talk will focus on the cognitive mechanisms that enable people to cooperate while punishing or avoiding non-cooperators.

Friday, March 26
Irby Lovett, Cornell University, will present “How to build a warbler.” He combines molecular biological techniques to study the long-term history of life on earth with the comparative analysis of life history, behavioral, and ecological traits. His talk will focus on a group of birds called the wood warblers, showing how different patterns of adaptive radiation in North America, the West Indies, Central America and South America have led to similar present-day species diversities.

Friday, April 23
Mark Flinn, University of Missouri, will present “Are there sensitive periods in the ontogeny of the 1-HPA Stress System?” He is an anthropologist who studies human development from an evolutionary perspective. His talk will review how naturalistic events in children’s’ everyday lives are associated with neuro-endocrine stress response, immune function, morbidity and psychological development.

Friday, April 30
Paul Rozin, University of Pennsylvania, will present “Preadaptation and the cultural evolution of disgust.” He does research on the interface of psychology, anthropology and evolutionary biology. He will discuss eating as a biological adaptation that has been vastly transformed and expanded by cultural evolution. He will focus specifically on the emotion of disgust, which originated as an adaptation to avoid unpalatable food but is now generally involved in socialization and the moral domain.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08