What makes us human?
One of the most challenging and interesting questions that has been pondered by scientists through the ages, from Aristotle to Darwin, through to the present day is where, when and how did we, humans, come about? This is a BIG question that perhaps almost everyone has asked at some point in our lives.
Human beings (Homo sapiens), are just one of over 1.9 million described species living on the planet (and there are millions more of species as yet unstudied or classified).
Today we hold the fate of many of the other species in our hands. How did we come to be in this position? Why have we been so successful as a species in a relatively short period of time?
To help explore this question, scientists from many different disciplines gathered this week at the Turkana Basin Institute at South Turkwel in the hot, sunny reaches of Northern Kenya to discuss ‘Theories of Human Evolution’. The aim of the meeting was to elaborate a clearer pattern of human evolution by synthesizing findings and discoveries from many different fields, and to see how that pattern can be explained with Darwinian ideas.
The meeting drew together scientists from a wide range of fields including human evolutionary biology, palaeontology, evolutionary psychology, behavioural ecology, evolutionary anthropology, genetics, archaeology, ecology and the history and philosophy of science.