Houston Museum of Natural Science

Brain Evolution from Lucy to Einstein by Dean Falk

Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2020 – Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2020

06:30 PM

Imprints of brains stamped on the insides of ancestral skulls (called endocasts) provide clues about the evolution of intelligence. The same kinds of analyses used to analyze the bumps and grooves on the endocasts of apes, early ancestors and modern people have been used to study the cerebral cortex of Albert Einstein.

Although the size of Einstein's brain was average, the form of his cortex was extraordinary. Einstein³ brain verifies that, in addition to increased brain size during human evolution, alterations in the brain's wiring were crucial for the emergence of complex thinking.

The fossil record of early human ancestors suggests that walking on two legs sparked the origins of language, which eventually paved the way for the emergence of other advanced cognitive abilities. This is reflected in the archeological record of material culture, which progressed from simple stone tools in early ancestors to the relatively recent invention of reading in "Homo sapiens" and the subsequent development of complex problem solving, like Einstein's theory of relativity.

Dr. Dean Falk of Florida State University will enlighten us on the latest understanding of the evolution of human intelligence--past, present and future. Falk is a paleoanthropologist whose interests include brain evolution and the emergence of language, music, analytical thinking and warfare in humans. She has directed research on the brains (or traces of them in fossilized skulls) of apes, prehistoric human relatives, and relatively recent humans including "Homo floresiensis" (aka "Hobbit") and Albert Einstein.

Co-Sponsored by The Leakey Foundation.

Early Bird pricing available until 3/17.

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The Museum offers easy access to a quick meal at McDonald's in the Grand Entry Hall. Open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. McDonald's also offers the option to pre-order meals for field trips.

Please note: Food and beverages are not allowed inside the Museum exhibit halls or theaters.

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