After a two-year hiatus, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology’s annual Ancestors lecture will return with a talk by The University of New Mexico assistant professor and evolutionary anthropologist Ian Wallace. The lecture will be Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hibben Center for Archaeological Research, Room 105, in the Maxwell.

Wallace will speak about Human Metabolism and the Evolution of Hunting and Gathering.

Human bodies burn an extraordinary amount of energy — calories — for a primate of our size. In this talk, Wallace will discuss the many reasons why human bodies are so energetically costly, including our enormous brains, high fertility rates, and long developmental periods and life spans. He will also describe recent research indicating that the evolution of the hunter-gatherer way of life among our ancient hominin ancestors was critical to humans’ ability to pay for our energetically expensive bodies. 

Wallace is an evolutionary anthropologist. His research tackles two big questions: How did humans evolve to use their bodies to move? And what are the costs and benefits of modern physical activity patterns for human health? 

To address these questions, Wallace explores how the way people use their bodies has changed over time. He is especially interested in the transitions from non-industrial to industrial and then post-industrial societies. What drives his research and energizes Wallace, both in the field and in the lab, is a profound wonder for humanity: the saga of our evolutionary history and the lessons it holds, the exquisite diversity of people and cultures, the undeniable similarity of us all, the joy and pain of being a person. But in pursuing his work he has discovered another strong motivating force: He wants his research to help people. 

For more information visit the Maxwell’s public event page here.

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