L807 Summer 2020 The History of Life on Earth, Part 2
Thursdays, 9:40–11:05, July 9–July 30
Instructor: Steve Greenhouse
Part 2 is a follow-up to Part 1 (which is not a prerequisite), that concluded with the end-Cretaceous mass extinction 65 million years ago wiping out dinosaurs (except birds) but opening a niche for mammals to thrive. This resulted in small arboreal creatures that evolved into primates, then hominids, finally Homo, the genus of which we (Homo sapiens) are the only living species. This course will trace these evolutionary transitions and will discuss the characteristics and migrations of early humans who became tool-makers and hunter-gatherers, and learning to talk and to think.
Steve Greenhouse is a retired electrical engineer who worked in the space communications field for 35 years. He has long been fascinated by paleontology and especially paleoanthropology—the evolution of humans.