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David Bricker
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Friday, April 23, 2004

Indiana University hosts world conference on early humans

Stone Age Institute

Photo by: CRAFT

The Stone Age Institute is the world's first research center devoted entirely to early human culture.

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Human evolution experts from South Africa, Spain and throughout the United States will gather at Indiana University Bloomington this coming week for the first annual CRAFT Missing Links Conference.

Two events are open to the public. On Wednesday (April 28), 4:30 p.m., paleoanthropologist Charles Kimberlin Brain, former curator of the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria, South Africa, will begin the conference by delivering the CRAFT Distinguished Lecture on Human Origins, "Driving Forces Behind the Evolution of Human Technology," in the Indiana Memorial Union's Frangipani Room. On Saturday (May 1), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Rawles Hall's room 100, the 15 invited speakers will give 15-minute talks on an array of contentious subjects related to humans' biological and technological evolution. Rawles is located just north of 3rd Street between S. Park and Woodlawn Avenues.

"The purpose of this conference is to summarize major ideas and issues in human origins research," said CRAFT co-director Kathy Schick. "Presenters are leading, international experts in the field. The conference also will celebrate the life and career of one of those experts -- C.K. 'Bob' Brain."

The scientists also will make use of CRAFT's new Stone Age Institute for private sessions. CRAFT (Center for Research into the Anthropological Foundations of Technology) is co-directed by Schick and her husband, Nicholas Toth.

Particpants at the conference are Brain; IUB anthropologists Schick, Toth and Travis Pickering; Transvaal Museum scientist Francis Thackeray; University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) archaeologist Kathleen Kuman and anatomist Ronald Clarke; Complutense University (Madrid, Spain) archaeologist Manuel Dominquez-Rodrigo; University of Nevada, Reno, anthropologist Gary Haynes; Smithsonian Institution paleoecologist Kay Behrensmeyer and paleoanthropologist Richard Potts; Rutgers University anthropologist Robert Blumenschine; University of Wisconsin anthropologist Henry Bunn; Arizona State University anthropologist Curtis Marean; University of Minnesota anthropologist Martha Tappen; and University of California at Berkeley human evolutionary biologist Tim White.

The conference is sponsored by the New York City-based Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Inc., the Stone Age Institute, the CRAFT Research Center, IU's Office of the Vice President for Research, IU's Office of International Programs, the College of Arts and Sciences (IUB) and the Office of the Chancellor (IUB).

To speak with Schick, Toth, Pickering, Brain or other conference participants, contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035 or

The "Missing Links" public symposium will take place on Saturday (May 1) in Rawles Hall, room 100, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The schedule is as follows:

  • 10:00 a.m. Opening remarks.
  • 10:15 a.m. Travis Pickering, "The Career and Life of Bob Brain: Example, Inspiration and Continued Work at Swarkrans Cave"
  • 10:30 a.m. Bob Brain, "Hunters or Hunted? Raymond Dart's Contribution to Paleoanthropology"
  • 10:45 a.m. Francis Thackeray, "Hominids in the Sterkfontein Valley, South Africa"
  • 11:00 a.m. Ron Clarke, "The 4-Million-Year-Old Sterkfontein Cave Australopithecus Skeleton"
  • 11:15 a.m. Kathleen Kuman, "Excursions into the Early Archaeology of Southern Africa"
  • 11:30 a.m. Gary Haynes, "Elephants in the Forest with a Desert Heart"
  • 11:45 a.m. Questions for all of morning participants

12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Lunch break

  • 2:00 p.m. Kay Behrensmeyer, "The Bones of Amboseli Park, Kenya: Studying the Present to Understand the Past"
  • 2:15 p.m. Robert Blumenschine, "Recent Investigations at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania"
  • 2:30 p.m. Henry Bunn, "The Role of Meat in the Foraging of Early Homo"
  • 2:45 p.m. Manuel Dominguez-Rodrigo, "A New Research Project on Human Evolution at Lake Eyasi, Tanzania"
  • 3:00 p.m. Curtis Marean, "The Evolution of Behavioral Modernity: New Evidence for an African Origin"
  • 3:15 p.m. Martha Tappen, "New Discoveries from Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia"
  • 3:30 p.m. Nicholas Toth and Kathy Schick, "The Dawn of Human Technology: Do it Like an Ape-Man"
  • 3:45 p.m. Tim White, "Tracking Technology through the Middle Awash, Ethiopia"
  • 4:00 p.m. Questions from the public, followed by a reception in the Rawles Hall lobby.