Recent advances in molecular genetics are radically changing ideas about the appearance of primates and the subsequent branching off of the major lineages. Previously, it was thought primates first appeared some 65 million years ago; now experts are proposing dates as far back as 80-90 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
The hazy image of our lineage provided by the fossil record is now coming into focus thanks to new molecular analytical techniques; researchers now have whole genome sequences representing at least one member of each major lineages and whole mitochondrial lineages of nearly every genus in the order Primates.
Dr. Todd Disotell
Dr. Todd Disotell is a professor of anthropology at New York University. His research interests are centered upon the theme of primate and human evolution, at all levels from the populational to the supra-ordinal. Those interests encompass primate evolution, molecular evolution, mammalian evolution, molecular systematics, phylogenetic analysis, population genetics, phylogeography, computer modeling, human evolution, human variation, and the history of anthropology.
Dr. Disotell received his Ph.D. and Masters degrees from Harvard University, and his Bachelor's degree from Cornell University.
Greg Farrington is executive director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair of the California Academy of Sciences. Since beginning his post in 2007, Farrington has focused efforts on addressing what CAS considers to be two of the most important scientific questions of our time: How did life happen? And how can we sustain it? CAS is the only institution in the world to combine a museum, aquarium, and planetarium, as well as vigorous programs of research and education. Farrington came to CAS after eight years as president of Lehigh University. Prior to that, he spent 19 years at the University of Pennsylvania. A widely published chemist, Farrington holds more than two dozen patents and has written more than 100 articles in the fields of solid-state chemistry, electrochemistry, and education.
Todd Disotell, a professor of anthropology at NYU, examines the human-chimp split in relation to bipedal fossils that date back to the time period during which many scientists believe the evolutionary leap occurred.
Any of more than 300 species of the order Primates, including monkeys, apes, humans, and others. Primates are distinguished from other mammals by one or more of the following traits: unspecialized structure, specialized behaviour, a short muzzle, comparatively poor sense of smell, prehensile five-digit hands and feet possessing flat nails instead of claws, acute vision with depth perception due to forward-facing eyes, a large brain, and prolonged pre- and postnatal development. Most species bear a single young and live in troops headed by a male. The primates are one of the most diverse orders of mammals on Earth. They include the lemurs (more than 70 species in six families), the lorises (three or more species in one subfamily), the tarsiers (six or more species in one family), the New World monkeys (almost 100 species in five families), the Old World monkeys (more than 100 species in one family), and the apes and humans (about 20 species in two families). The oldest known fossil remains of primates are about 60 million years old.
I cannot express enough the frustration in watching and listening to a talk in which the speaker refers to important slides while they are NOT shown in the video. Can anything be done to correct this? Perhaps split screens can be used. What makes the camera person think the slides can be omitted?
Robert D. Martin, MD
Agree..:-)Very interesting. I got lost there couple of times lol but it was quite an easy talk to follow on very difficult theme. He is a great speaker. I may re-watch couple of segments for better understanding. Cheers!
I thoroughly enjoyed this talk and probably got a clearer understanding of the subject from this hour and a half than the several books I've read on the splits in the hominid lines. Excellent communicator, for being able to speak on a layman's level about research questions that he describes as "complicated".
I tossed out my TV 15 years ago because it seemed to consume too much time that was better used doing life than passively watching it on TV. Fora.TV and the TED Talks series certainly are different creatures entirely. If kids, from a young age were encouraged to watch these, and less TV and computer games our dismal state of education and enthusiasm for learning about the world would be countered. This is exciting real world "stuff" that would fascinate any young person if given the chance to experience it and encourage them to dig deeper out of the joy of discovery.
This was a great talk. He has a unique voice that carries well, gives honest answers to questions and is willing to say "I don't know". I appreciated what I learned from this talk, if only for the fact that I learned that the Human Genome isn't fully understood just yet. I was a little overconfident in the knowledge we had in that area until now. Five stars.