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Paleontology, Paleobotany and the Rise of the Apes
Sunday, October 08, 2017 from 3:00PM – 6:00PM
The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park
Join us on Sunday, October 8th at 3:00pm for a fascinating lecture on the ancestors of apes and humans, focusing on the role of fossil plant discoveries in our understanding of early ape evolution, with University of Minnesota Professor Kieran McNulty.
Professor McNulty will share more than a decade of field experience in East Africa on his quest to find the ancestors of today’s apes and humans.
There is no fee for this lecture. Free will donations will support vulnerable and orphaned children in west Kenya through the Kathy and Mike McNulty Academy primary school. $500 raised would pay for a month of the school’s food program for the 80 children served as well as two teacher salaries.
This lecture is open to the public but advance registration is requested.
Focusing specifically on the role of fossil plant discoveries in our understanding of early ape evolution, he will describe the rich fossil sites on Rusinga Island, Kenya. Perched on the shoulders of a massive prehistoric volcano, these 18 million-year-old habitats were once teeming with plants and animals, and it is in this setting that the rudimentary traits we associate with humans first appeared.
Following the lecture, there will be ample time for questions, plus an opportunity to examine casts of some iconic fossil apes and humans.
Professor Kieran McNulty is an anthropologist and paleontologist and faculty member at the University of Minnesota. Specializing in the origins of apes and humans, he has conducted fossil excavations in western Kenya for more than a decade. His research involves discovering and naming new fossil species, reconstructing the paleohabitats in which they lived and using 3-D modeling to study evolutionary processes. Kieran conceived of and directs the REACHE project, a collaborative research network funded by the National Science Foundation.
Professor McNulty was named a McKnight Land-Grant Professor in 2008 and Scholar of the College in 2017. He and his wife Katie (née Maxbauer) live with their two children in Minnesota and are proud members of The Botanic Garden in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan.