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    September 27, 2012
    Dr. Charles Perreault

    Dr. Perreault is a Paleolithic archaeologist who is interested in both prehistory of the Tibetan Plateau and Mongolia, and the origins of culture and gene-culture coevolution. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA and a master’s in anthropology from the Université de Montréal, and is currently an Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute.

    AbstractThere has been much interest in understanding when natural selection will favor individuals who imitate others. Here I will discuss two approaches to the evolution of social learning. In the first part of this talk, I present a model in which individuals use Bayesian inference to combine social and nonsocial cues about the current state of the environment. The model allows us to relax the assumption that social and individual learning are independent processes.

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    October 11, 2012
    Dr. Simon DeDeo

    Simon DeDeo is an Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. He holds an A.B. in astrophysics from Harvard, a Master’s in applied mathematics and theoretical physics from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University. His recent past includes post doctoral fellowships at the Institute for Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo and at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago.

    Abstract.  Central to the construction of scientific theories are the related notions of *coarse-graining* and *effective theory.* Here I show how these concepts carry over to the sciences of the 21st Century, which take as their subjects the biological and social worlds. In particular, I show how they can help us meet the challenges of building rigorous and compelling theories from large-scale data in the social sciences.

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    October 18, 2012
    Dr. Agustín Fuentes

    Agustín Fuentes completed a B.A. in Zoology and Anthropology, and an M.A. & Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. His current foci include cooperation and bonding in human evolution, ethnoprimatology and multispecies anthropology, evolutionary theory, and public perceptions of, and interdisciplinary approaches to, human nature(s).

    Abstract. Humans exhibit extreme cooperation and the strongest sense of community. Diverse disciplines recognize the need to be in community with other humans to effectively develop as a human being. Accumulating research suggests that the social brain, our extended mind, and extreme social complexity are central in human evolution, and niche construction and emerging concepts in evolutionary theory provide an important context for examining and modeling these processes.

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    October 25, 2012
    Dr. Marco A. Janssen

    Dr. Janssen is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and Director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University, Tempe. His research is focused on understanding how people solve collective problems at different levels of scale, especially those problems related to sustainability of our environment: What makes groups cooperate? What is the role of information? How does the ecological context affect the social fabric? How do they deal with a changing environment? How can we use these insight to address global challenges? These questions are approached via behavioral experiments, agent-based modeling and case study analysis.

    AbstractAn agent-based model of Ache hunters in Paraguay is developed using ethnographic observations and field data. Groups of Ache hunters forage on a daily basis in an empirically grounded landscape of 60,000 hectares for 10 animal species. We compare the simulated data with the empirical data on the diet composition and success of hunting and show that cooperative hunting and frequent movement of camps is needed to be included in the assumptions to fit the data.

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    November 1, 2012
    Michael J. O'Brien

    Dr. O'Brien is the Dean of the College of Arts and Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Museum of Anthropology, at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He was awarded a B.A. from Rice University in 1972 and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977. He is a pioneer in the application of evolutionary theory to the archaeological record, including the use of phylogenetic methods, especially cladistics, in archaeology.

    Abstract. Phylogeny refers to the genealogical history of any group of things, be they organisms, manuscripts, languages, or anything else that changes over time by means of an ancestor passing on material to an offspring. Phylogeny should be an important issue in both anthropology and archaeology because of their focus on history—that is, on questions about how and why people and their cultural trappings change in certain ways over time.

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    November 7, 2012
    Enrico R. Crema

    Enrico Crema is a PhD student at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL (United Kingdom). His doctoral project investigates the dynamics of changes in the settlement system of Jomon hunter-gatherers by means of spatial analysis and agent-based simulations, and was jointly supervised by Andrew Bevan and Mark Lake. He obtained his BA (with honours) in Italy at the Department of Oriental History in the University of Bologna, where he participated in several field projects in the Sultanate of Oman and Tunisia. He then obtained a MSc in GIS and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology at UCL, with a thesis centred on the development of new spatio-temporal analysis specifically aimed for archaeologists. His research interests spreads from the application and development of quantitative and computational methods (using software packages such as R, GRASS, NetLogo and Repast) to human behavioural ecology, dual-inheritance theory, settlement archaeology, and hunter-gatherer studies.

    AbstractHuman groups are generally characterised by a non-linear relation between size and fitness. Increasing group sizes have beneficial effects up to a certain point, when negative frequency dependence starts to predominate and being part of a group is no longer a viable strategy. Such a relationship has evolutionary implications in human metapopulations once individuals have the possibility to modify their conditions through fission-fusion dynamics and migration.

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    November 29, 2012
    Dr. Elissa Schwartz

    Dr. Schwartz is an assistant professor in Washington State University's School of Biological Sciences where she specializes in Infectious Disease Dynamics. She received her B.A. in Mathematics from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at Mount Sinai-NYU; she also served as a Postdoc in Biomathematics and Biostatistics at UCLA. Her research combines experimental and theoretical techniques to investigate mechanisms in virology, immunology, and infectious disease epidemiology.

    Abstract. Infectious diseases have had an impact on human evolution throughout history. Pathogens, likewise, have evolved in order to persist in their hosts. Mutation allows viruses to adapt in response to constraints in the host that threaten their survival, such as recognition and elimination by immune responses.  In this talk, I will present an agent-based model of the immune response to viral infection that includes viral mutation and escape from immune recognition. The model reproduces the phenomena seen in clinical data from viral infection.

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    December 6, 2012
    Dr. Katie Hinde

    Dr. Hinde is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University and directs the Comparative Lactation Laboratory of the California National Primate Research Center at the University of California, Davis. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from UCLA.

    Abstract. Mother’s milk represents a critical adaptation in vertebrate evolution, so much so that our class derives its name from mammary glands. Despite the ways milk facilitated mammalian adaptive radiation and its transformational effects during ontogeny, milk remains poorly understood especially within biological anthropology. Recently, research effort into mother’s milk has been significantly accelerating. In humans and rhesus macaques, milk parameters vary substantially among mothers.