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World-renowned anthropologist gives public lecture

Nov. 16, 2009

KALAMAZOO--One of the leading paleoanthropologists in the world who is also a MacArthur "genius" grant winner will make a presentation at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at Western Michigan University.

Thursday, Nov. 19, 5 p.m.
2302 Sangren Hall

Dr. K. Christopher Beard will speak on "Filling Some Missing Links in Early Primate Evolution, 200 Years After the Birth of Charles Darwin" in Room 2302 of Sangren Hall. His talk is free and open to the public.

Beard is curator and head of the section on vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. During the past 25 years, Beard has done paleontological fieldwork in Wyoming, New Mexico, Egypt, Kenya, China, Indonesia and Myanmar. He is recognized as a leading expert on primate evolution and has made major contributions to the understanding of the first anthropoids or higher primates.

Beard's "East of Eden" hypothesis suggested that the first modern primates were Asian in origin, and his fieldwork in Asia has yielded solid support for this revolutionary hypothesis. He received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2000 and is the author of the award-winning "The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey."

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 5 p.m.
1115 Moore Hall

In addition to his public lecture, Beard will present a seminar titled "Burmese Days: Primate Paleontology in the Union of Myanmar" for the WMU Department of Anthropology at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Room 1115 of Moore Hall. That presentation is open to WMU students and faculty as well as the general public.

Beard's WMU visit is sponsored by the anthropology department and made possible through the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. The WMU Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 to contribute to the intellectual life of WMU and the community by providing funds for academic units to bring distinguished scholars and artists to campus.

In addition to meeting with faculty and students, these scholars address the community at large. Since its inception, it has supported more than 600 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 60 academic disciplines.

The chair of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Elke Schoffers, associate professor of chemistry.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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