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Understanding Climate’s Influence on Human Evolution
modeling, and genomics. Committee biographic information is presented in Appendix A.
The committee held four meetings between September 2007 and October 2008, convening in Washington, DC; Irvine, California; Tucson, Arizona; and Woods Hole, Massachusetts (see Appendix B). The major focal point for community input to the committee was a 2-day open workshop held in February 2008, where concurrent breakout sessions interspersed with plenary addresses enabled the committee to gain a thorough understanding of community perspectives regarding research priorities. Additional briefings by sponsors and keynote addresses from other speakers were presented at the initial meeting of the committee.
This report is organized following the task statement—Chapter 2 contains a description of the existing scientific understanding of the approximately 8-million-year record of hominin evolution and climate change in the regions where hominins lived, as well as the interaction between other relevant organisms and climate. Chapter 3 contains a description of two overarching research themes, encompassing a range of individual research initiatives, which have the greatest potential to provide major advances in the understanding of potential interactions between the earth system and hominin evolution, and Chapter 4 describes the implementation strategies that will be needed to address these themes and initiatives. Recognizing deficiencies in the understanding of evolutionary principles and processes in the wider nonscientific community, Chapter 4 also contains the committee’s response to the specific charge to suggest dissemination strategies. Chapter 5 briefly summarizes the conclusions and recommendations arising from the earlier chapters.