Research and Sponsored Programs, with support from the Jerome Richfield Memorial Fund, organizes each year an event that celebrates a CSUN faculty member engaged in high quality, high-impact research, where they are named as the Richfield Memorial Fellow. The Fellow presents a lecture at the Provost’s Colloquium Series, which is designed to highlight and celebrate the scholarly achievements of our faculty, and to provide an opportunity for socialization among faculty, administrators, students, and staff.
We are happy to announce that this year’s 2020 Jerome Richfield Memorial Fellow is Dr. Hélène Rougier from the department of Anthropology.
Please join us on Friday, April 3rd from 4-6 p.m. at the USU, Thousand Oaks Room. Please RSVP HERE.
Here is an excerpt of her work:
The disappearance of our closest relatives, the Neandertals: Were we involved?
Neandertals are a fossil human group that lived in Eurasia between approx. 200,000 and 35,000 years ago. Recently, genetic studies have shown that Neandertals are part of our direct ancestry due to interbreeding between them and our early modern human (Homo sapiens) ancestors when the latter were migrating from Africa into Eurasia approx. 50 to 60,000 years ago. As a result, all non-Africans today have about 2% of their DNA inherited from Neandertals and geneticists have just begun to understand the impact of this heritage on our biology.
Ample evidence has shown that Neandertals were well adapted to their environment and that they may have had high cognitive and symbolic abilities. Yet they went extinct, and the circumstances of their disappearance and the role our modern human ancestors may have played in it have been highly debated. Recent multidisciplinary projects, both in the field and laboratory research on old collections, have resulted in the discovery of new Neandertal and early modern human fossils. Their study along with that of their associated context has produced new data that provide critical information towards better understanding the period of the Neandertals’ disappearance. This talk will review the current evidence and hypotheses pertaining to the replacement of Neandertals by our modern human ancestors in Eurasia, a process that forms part of the evolutionary background for recent human biological diversity.