Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Biosciences Seminar Speaker - 10 April 2014

Biosciences Seminar Series - Lent 2014
10 April 2014 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

The long march of the human genes

Dr. Andrea Manica

Where do we, modern humans, come from? Most likely we originated in Africa, specifically East Africa, and successively colonized all other continents (e.g. see here). This is called the Out-of-Africa theory for the origin and early spread of anatomically modern humans (see here). Whilst there is quite good consensus on the origin in East Africa, considerable debate has surrounded the timing and pattern of spread of modern humans out of Africa. 

Our seminar speaker of this week, Dr. Andrea Manica from the Department of Zoology at Cambridge University and head of the Evolutionary Ecology Group, will present us his work of the last few years about this topic. Andrea and his group are broadly interested in the causes and consequences of animal movements and the topics addressed range from understanding and predicting individual strategies, to using population genetics models to reconstruct and understand the timing of past dispersal events, to the role of species interactions in the spaital ecology of populations.

Anatomically Modern Humans first appeared in Africa approximately 200 thousand years ago (kya), but failed to colonise other continents until much later (approximately 60-70 kya). What caused such a delay, and what are the consequences of their subsequent fast expansion once they abandoned their ancestral home? Using spatially-explicit genetic models informed by paleo-climate reconstructions, I will explore the role of climate change during the Pleistocene in driving the time and tempo of the range expansion of Anatomically Modern Humans.

Everyone most welcome to attend!