Distinguished Lectures

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Isotope evidence for environments for early human evolution in East Africa

Start Date: December 8, 2015
End Date: December 8, 2015

Professor Cerling will discuss how stable isotopes are used to quantify aspects of early human environments in East Africa over the past four million years, including how we quantify vegetative cover, absolute temperatures and precipitation. In this lecture, he will also discuss the study of diets of mammals; many mammal groups have undergone significant diet change in this period, including the different hominin lineages. Isotopes provide independent methods for testing hypotheses about the environments in which early humans evolved.



Professor Thure Cerling is a biogeochemist at the University of Utah. His work primarily concerns the use of isotopes to study biological and geological processes occurring near the Earth’s surface. He has done extensive field work in North America, Kenya, Pakistan and other geological and biological studies in Antarctica, Argentina, Australia and Western Europe. 
These studies include cosmic-ray produced isotopes to study geomorphology, chemistry of lakes and lake sediments, stable isotope studies of diet and of soils, isotope forensics and studies of early hominin environments in Africa. He served for nine years on the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board and is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
For more information on Professor Thure Cerling, please click here.