SpeakersRichard Holdsworth, Egenis PhD student
University of Exeter,Egenis, Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ
Room no: GF7, Byrne House
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM
Title: Anthropology, energetics and genomes: issues from recent researchThis presentation stems from a philosophical enquiry into diversity of concepts and methods among a number of research disciplines investigating origins of human behaviour by reference (direct or indirect) to findings of genomic science. Among the various modes of enquiry into human behaviour that scientists pursue, the bioenergetic perspective is – arguably - relatively under-represented. However, certain recent anthropological research shows that there are researchers who are working to fill in the energetic part of the picture. Three authors and their respective disciplines are selected for discussion. The presentation will concisely review examples of these researchers’ investigations in the light of such concepts as ‘energy’, ‘work’, ‘energy balance’ and ‘energetic optimisation’. It will also show that the research of each author stands in a differing relation to findings of genomics and to the types of inference that the latter permit. The researchers discussed (with their fields) are: Robin Crompton (evolutionary biomechanics), Martin Jones (biomolecular archaeology) and Ruth Mace (evolutionary anthropology and human behavioural ecology). Crompton has worked, among other things, on the evolution of bipedal locomotion in hominids, combining primatological fieldwork with the laboratory discipline of evolutionary robotics. Jones has worked, notably, on the biomolecular archaeology of agriculture. He is the author of the recent book ‘Feast - Why humans share food’ (2007). Mace works on cultural phylogenetics, and also on life-history analysis, which typically analyses the resource trade-offs demanded at the critical phases in an individual’s life-span.