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Distinguished anthropologist to lecture at Memorial University

Ref. No. 113

DATE:     Mar. 13, 2002
SUBJECT:     Distinguished anthropologist to lecture at Memorial University

Note to editors:

Dr. Pamela Willoughby, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta, will host this year's Elizabeth R. Laird Lecture. Her presentation, The Great Rift Valley: East African Evidence for our Remote Past will focus on the fossil evidence for human evolution that comes from East Africa and examine its unexpected contribution to the origin of our own species. The lecture will be held in the Health Sciences Auditorium, located on the main floor of the Health Sciences Centre, on Monday, March 18, starting at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend. Parking is available in Lot 9 on the east side of the Health Sciences Centre. A reception will follow.

Dr. Pamela Willoughby is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta. A native of Kingston, Ontario, she received a BA (Hons.) from Trent University, a MA from the University of Alberta and a PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles, all in anthropology. She is a Palaeolithic archaeologist and palaeoanthropologist, someone who researches human biocultural evolution. She has participated in archaeological excavations in Canada, France, Algeria and Egypt and has travelled extensively in East and South Africa.

Since 1989, she has been directing an archaeological field project in the Albertine or Western Rift of Tanzania, investigating the biological and cultural origins of the human species, Homo sapiens. At the University of Alberta she teaches courses on human variation (race and ethnicity), Palaeolithic archaeology, human palaeontology, stone tools analysis, and archaeological methods and theory. She is currently one of 30 Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturers for the period 2001 to 2003. Her many professional affiliations include the Society for American Archaeology, the American Anthropological Association, and the Society of Africanist Archaeologists, for whom she has been since 1994, the editor of Nyame Akuma, a bulletin on current research.

Dr. Willoughby's lecture will focus on East Africa, which has long been a source of information about human origins. The geology of the East African Rift Valley has led to the preservation of the world's earliest human fossils and archaeological sites. The Eastern branch contains a wealth of information of palaeoanthropological evidence from the last six million years, which has been the subject of debate since the first really ancient human fossil was discovered there in 1959. This lecture discusses the fossil evidence for human evolution that comes from East Africa, how its interpretation has changed over the last two decades, and its unexpected contribution to the origins of our own species, Homo sapiens.


For more information please contact Dr. Grant Gardner, associate dean, Faculty of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, at (709) 737-8155 or by e-mail at ggardner@mun.ca.


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