Date(s) - October 11, 2018
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
LSC 308, Lory Student Center
Close Encounters with Humankind
When and where did our earliest ancestors first appear? When did we first walk upright? How did we become meat eaters? Are we still evolving? In her best-selling book, Close Encounters with Humankind, paleoanthropologist Sang-Hee Lee explores our biggest evolutionary questions, and takes us along unexpected paths in pursuit of answers. For example, in Lee’s hands, fossil teeth become data that allow us to discover when we began to live long enough to be grandparents. In another chapter she questions agriculture’s role in human history by showing an increase in disease and malnutrition after the introduction of farming. Lee even suggests that social bonding—the key to humanity’s rise—was triggered not by our prized intelligence, but instead by the simple fact that large brains, coupled with narrow birth canals, forced us to seek help from others to successfully give birth. Lee’s curious nature and surprising conclusions make Close Encounters with Humankind an illuminating delight to read.
About the Speaker:
Sang-Hee Lee is a biological anthropologist, specializing in human evolution. She holds degrees from University of Michigan (MA and PhD in Anthropology) and Seoul National University in Korea (BA in Archaeology). After working as a postdoctoral researcher in Sokendai (Graduate University of Advanced Studies) in Japan, she returned to US and held a faculty position for one year in Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has been a faculty at University of California, Riverside, since 2001, and is currently a Professor in Anthropology. She served as the Chair of Anthropology Department (2012-15) and is now the Associate Dean for Social Sciences, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Lee has published more than 30 single-authored or co-authored journal articles in topics of human evolution, sexual dimorphism, brain size evolution, longevity, and human evolution in northeast Asia. She has been writing for the general public in various topics of human evolution through newspaper and magazine columns. With Shin-young Yoon, she wrote a best-selling and award-winning book in Korea, “Human Origins” published in September 2015. Lee translated the book into English, “Close Encounters with Humankind: A Paleoanthropologist Investigates Our Evolving Species” (W.W. Norton), published in February 2018. The book was also published in Spanish (2018) and Chinese (2018), and will be translated into Russian and Greek, forthcoming in January 2019.