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UWFox Scholars Series Presents World Famous Anthropologist

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The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley continues it acclaimed Scholars Series program with a presentation by Milford Wolpoff, an internationally recognized anthropologist. His presentation is entitled, “A Neanderthal in Your Closet? Modern Human Origins and the Origins of Humanity,” and takes place from Noon to 1:00 p.m. in the campus’ Fine Arts Theatre on Monday, October 6. The presentation is free and open to the public.

A graduate of the University of Illinois (Ph.D. 1969), Wolpoff has worked at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Michigan, where he has been a Professor of Anthropology since 1977. He is a paleoanthropologist, with primary interests in evolutionary process and theory, and in functional morphology. Wolpoff has first hand experience with virtually the entire human and pre-human fossil record, from evidence of hominid origins to the appearance of modern humans, and their evolution. His research overseas has been supported by grants from many sources, including the National Science Foundation, the Committee for Scholarly Exchange with the People's Republic of China, the National Academy of Sciences, and various funding within the University of Michigan.

Based on this substantial body of research, and a theoretical perspective emphasizing populational evolution, Wolpoff developed the “Single Species Hypotheses” early in his career, established the pattern of marked australopithecine megadontia and sexual dimorphism and documented the adaptive pattern of changes in sexual dimorphism during human evolution, argued against the contention that the 15 million year old Ramapithecus was a hominid ancestor, and determined the pattern of dental allometry in human populations.

He is deeply involved in the ongoing debate over the place of Neandertals in human evolution, and provided primary descriptions of fossil human remains from Krapina (Croatia), Vindija (Croatia), Mladec (Moravia), and Loboi (Kenya). He is an originator of the Multiregional Evolution model of Pleistocene human evolution (which he named), and has published on it extensively from both the paleontological and genetic perspectives. Related to Multiregional evolution, and in the face of increasingly popular taxonomizing of recent human variation, he has argued that there is but a single species of Homo in the Pleistocene.

Recent books include the definitive textbook Paleoanthropology (2nd edition, McGraw- Hill, 1999) and the award winning Race and Human Evolution (co-authored with Rachel Caspari, Simon and Schuster, 1997). Wolpoff has chaired 14 Ph.D. committees, and recently received the Dragutin Gorjanovic-Kramberger Award at the Krapina 1899-1999 Conference, from the Croatian Natural History Museum, and (with Rachel Caspari) the W.W. Howells Book Prize in Biological Anthropology, presented by the Biological Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association.

Besides his substantial publication record (in scientific journals he is the most widely cited member of the department), Wolpoff is often heard on PBS, quoted in articles on recent fossil and genetic discoveries in The New York Times and other papers, and widely cited in editorials and summaries in journals and magazines such as Science, Scientific American, Science News, Discovery, and New Scientist. His reputation is reflected in his many radio appearances and his continued presence in science documentaries on the Discovery Channel and other similar shows. His work is discussed in all textbooks dealing with the pattern of human evolution and the origin of modern humans, whether specifically anthropological or more broadly biological.

Seating is based on a first-come basis, and free parking is available on the west side of the campus. For more information, call UW-Fox Valley at 920-832-2600.

Posted 10/3/2003