Humankind: How Biology and Geography Shape Human Diversity
Leakey Lecture presented in partnership with the Leakey Foundation
Dr. Alexander Harcourt, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Humanity’s expansion around the world from our African origins is astounding. How did we spread across the globe? Why do people from different regions vary? Is our diversity a function of geography, adaptation, or both? Join anthropologist Alexander Harcourt as he explores how humanity’s interaction with the environment can explain why we differ biologically and culturally from one region of the world to another.
Dr. Alexander Harcourt is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California, Davis, and an emeritus member of The Leakey Foundation’s Scientific Executive Committee. He received his PhD from Cambridge University and has worked at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the National University of Rwanda at Butare, Rwanda, and at the Primate Research Institute of the University of Kyoto at Inuyama, Japan. Field research has taken him to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, the Karisoke Research Centre in the Virunga Volcano region of Rwanda, Uganda and Zaire, the Bwindi Forest in Uganda, and the forests of Nigeria.
His research interests have moved over time from behavior, ecology and conservation of gorillas, to issues in the evolutionary biology of reproduction, to the biology of extinction and of the geography of primates, and finally to the biogeography of the one primate that rules them all, namely humans. His most recent book, Humankind: How Biology and Geography Shape Human Diversity, can be summarized as asking and (partly) answering questions about why we are what we are, where we are.