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The University of Alabama

UA’s ALLELE Lecturer to Discuss Ancient Man, Evolution

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will visit The University of Alabama campus to give the lecture, “Neandertime: How Ancient Genomes are Transforming Our Past and Present,” Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in room 127 of the Biology Building.

Hawks is the second speaker in the Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution, known as ALLELE, lecture series. The lecture is free and open to the public.

As a paleoanthropologist, Hawks studies ancient humans as found in fossil evidence around the world. In his lecture, Hawks will talk about his research that has uncovered the rapid genetic changes in humans during the past 10,000 years and the unique contribution of the genomes of Neanderthals and other ancient people to our origins and evolution.

Hawks is known as an international advocate for open science, which is a movement that aims to make all scientific research available to people at all levels, from amateur to professional. His blog ( has become a highly visible science communication resource with 2.5 million annual visits. He is part of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute initiative to improve undergraduate biology education. He also serves on the advisory panel for a new Smithsonian-sponsored pilot project to bring human evolution into advanced biology education.

He received his doctorate at the University of Michigan and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Utah. While there, Hawks expanded his work into the field of genetics, and he has since become known for his ability to connect these different aspects of the evidence for human origins. His research has taken him to Africa, Europe and, most recently, Siberia.

While on campus, Hawks will visit anthropology classes and will also give a talk titled, “Human Evolution During the Holocene” Friday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. in room 22 of ten Hoor Hall.

The 2012-2013 ALLELE series is an interdisciplinary lecture series organized by the Evolution Working Group and supported by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Honors College, Blount Undergraduate Initiative, New College, educational studies in psychology, research methodology and counseling, and the departments of anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, English, gender and race studies, geological sciences, history, philosophy, psychology, and telecommunications and film.

The ALLELE lecture series is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Kelli Wright, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539,
  • SOURCE: Dr. Christopher Lynn, assistant professor of anthropology, 205/348-4162,