Reevaluating classic hypotheses through new lenses: how technology is clarifying out biomechanical past

Upcoming onsite and virtual lecture:
Mon., May 6
7–9 pm

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Drs. Erin Marie Williams-Hatala and Kevin Hatala, PhD
Assistant Professors of Biology, Chatham University

Drs. Erin Marie Williams-Hatala and Kevin Hatala, PhD

Classic hypotheses in functional morphology postulate connections between human anatomy and behavior that are thought to define “what it means to be human”. Archaeological evidence of these behaviors, or fossil evidence of the associated anatomies, have been assumed to represent key milestones in human evolution. For example, our large thumbs evolved at the interface of human anatomy and the earliest technology in the archaeological record, and are thought to have enabled our ancestors to engage in stone tool production and use.

New technologies have provided us with novel ways to revisit and test some of these classic hypotheses in experimental contexts, and these studies are yielding surprising and exciting results.

In this talk, we will discuss some of our most recent experimental work that informs long-standing questions about the biomechanics and functional morphology of our fossil relatives.

About Drs. Erin Marie Williams-Hatala and Kevin Hatala

Drs. Erin Marie Williams-Hatala and Kevin Hatala both earned their PhDs from the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology at The George Washington University. Their individual and joint research focuses on the evolution of the human upper and lower limbs, with Dr. Williams-Hatala focusing on the former and Dr. Hatala focusing on the latter, when they are not collaborating. They live in Pittsburgh, PA with their two dogs, with 12 other family members in their neighborhood.

Register for Café Sci

The event is FREE to attend onsite and virtually, but preregistration is required opens in a new window! Carnegie Science Center would like to continue to offer programs like Café Sci, Women in STEM, and others. Please consider making a donation when you register. Once you sign up, you’ll get an email confirmation. Have a question for Dr. Williams-Hatala and Dr. Hatala? You’ll be able to type your questions in the Q&A section during the presentation!

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