Adapt or die: The last human species

Looking at the fate of our long-gone relatives shows us that being able to adapt to changing conditions is key to ongoing survival. With the reality of climate change and an expanding population now with us, how will our species survive and have we become too specialised already?

Andy Herries - Adapt or die: the last human species

Speaker bio: Dr Andy Herries

Australian Research Fellow, Head of Archaeomagnetism Laboratory, Archaeology

Andy undertook his degrees in Archaeological Science (BSc), Geoarchaeology (MSc) and Palaeoanthropology and Geomagentism (PhD) at the University of Liverpool. He began working in South Africa in 1997 and has worked there every year since.  He is an active caver and has generally specialised in cave archaeology and palaeontology and the geochronology of human evolution, particularly in Africa. With colleagues he has produced some of the first reliable age estimates for many of the earliest human ancestors in South Africa, including the discovery of a new species, Australopithecus sediba.

More recently he has expanded this work to East Africa and most recently as part of his ARC fellowship he helped date and describe a series of new human fossils from southern China that may indicate a complex history for early modern humans moving out of Africa and into Asia. He has also worked on the issue of modern human origins in Africa since 2003 and has helped identify the oldest evidence for the human heat treatment of stone tools and the earliest acquisition of seafood by modern humans at Pinnacle Point, South Africa. Much of this research has been published in the journals Nature and Science.

Andy's future research will involve undertaken the same methods he has developed on his work in Africa for understanding the Australian record and the links between climate, speciation and extinction in different parts of Africa.

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