A panel exploring women and the paleolithic glass ceiling. When woman-the-gatherer was first proposed as a counter to man-the-hunter, we were only beginning to understand the many faces of primate females – their role as teachers, tool users, carriers of tradition, and as the social glue in society. In ensuing decades we have learned about the skills and talents of female primates which have been key ingredients in the evolution of our species."
Dr. Kelly Stewart is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. During her college summers, Dr. Stewart dug up fossils in northern Kenya with Richard Leakey. She later became a student of Dian Fossey, and has been observing, thinking about, and writing about gorilla behavior and conservation ever since. She is the co-author of Gorilla Society, with her husband and research partner Dr. Alexander Harcourt.
Adrienne Zihlman is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Zihlman's research interests are in primate and human evolution. Her publications cover topics on the evolution of human locomotion, chimpanzee and gorilla anatomy, sexual dimorphism, growth and development, and the role of women in evolution. She is co-editor of The Evolving Female: A Life History Perspective and author of The Human Evolution Coloring Book. A book on comparative ape anatomy is in progress. She is a Fellow and Science Trustee of the California Academy of Sciences.
Evolution of modern human beings from extinct nonhuman and humanlike forms. Genetic evidence points to an evolutionary divergence between the lineages of humans and the great apes on the African continent 85 million years ago (mya). The earliest fossils considered to be remains of hominins (members of the human lineage) date to at least 4 mya in Africa; they include the genus Australopithecus and other forms. The next major evolutionary stage, Homo habilis, inhabited sub-Saharan Africa about 21.5 mya. Homo habilis appears to have been supplanted by a taller and more humanlike species, Homo erectus, which lived from c. 1,700,000 to 200,000 years ago, gradually migrating into Asia and parts of Europe. Between c. 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis, sometimes called archaic Homo sapiens, lived in Africa, Europe, and perhaps parts of Asia. Having features resembling those of both H. erectus and modern humans, H. heidelbergensis may have been an ancestor of modern humans and also of the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis), who inhabited Europe and western Asia from c. 200,000 to 28,000 years ago. Fully modern humans (H. sapiens) seem to have emerged in Africa only c. 150,000 years ago, perhaps having descended directly from H. erectus or from an intermediate species such as H. heidelbergensis.