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Origin Stories: The History of Us

Saturday, May 30, 2015
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Solving the puzzle of how we humans developed the unique traits that separate us from our ancient ancestors is a full-time, multidisciplinary pursuit. From fossils to food cultivation to social structure, the story of human evolution is written from many angles. Attendees heard from leaders in biology, anthropology, and archaeology who search for the answer to that most basic question: what makes us, us? This discussion included the remarkable findings of paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, whose Rising Star Expedition in South Africa has discovered a treasure trove of hominin fossils.

The World Science Festival’s annual salon series offers in-depth conversations with leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s premier public programs to graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and well-informed members of the general public.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

Photograph: Jon Smith


Bill BlakemoreNews Correspondent

Bill Blakemore became a reporter for ABC News 46 years ago, covering a wide variety of stories. He spearheaded ABC’s coverage of global warming, traveling from the tropics to polar regions to report on its impacts, dangers, and possible remedies.

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Lee BergerPaleoanthropologist

Professor Lee R. Berger is an award-winning researcher, author, paleoanthropologist, and speaker. His explorations into human origins on the African continent, Asia, and Micronesia for the past two and a half decades have resulted in many new discoveries.

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Paul BinghamMolecular Biologist

After receiving a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard, Paul Bingham spent two years at the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park. He later joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University.

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Michael PuruggananEvolutionary biologist

Michael Purugganan is the Dorothy Schiff Professor and Dean of Science at NYU. His research focuses on identifying the genes that are involved in the evolutionary adaptation of plants.

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