Ian Tattersall

You've written that "evolution is not a long undeviated slog." If it's not that, what is it?
What makes humans so different from our closest animal relatives?
There was a dramatic shift in human development about 100,000 years ago. This occurred well after the appearance of human fossils similar to our own. Can you elaborate?
In your book The Human  Odyssey you've written that "the shared possession of DNA is the clearest proof of the common descent of all life forms on Earth." Can you elaborate?
As you know, in the United States a large segment of the population doesn't accept evolution. How do we reach these people?
You've talked about the future evolution of humans, you've said we're not evolving anymore. Can you elaborate?
What is it about studying humans and primates that you enjoy? What have you learned from them?

Ian Tattersall is currently Curator in the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Born in England and raised in East Africa, he has carried out both primatological and paleontological fieldwork in countries as diverse as Madagascar, Vietnam, Surinam, Yemen and Mauritius. Trained in archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge, and in geology and vertebrate paleontology at Yale, Tattersall has concentrated his research since the 1960s in two main areas: the analysis of the human fossil record and its integration with evolutionary theory; and the study of the ecology and systematics of the lemurs of Madagascar. Tattersall is also a prominent interpreter of human paleontology to the public, with several trade books to his credit, among them The Monkey in the Mirror (2002), Extinct Humans (with Jeffrey Schwartz, 2000), Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness (1998) and The Last Neanderthal: The Rise, Success and Mysterious Extinction of Our Closest Human Relatives (1995; rev. 1999) as well as numerous articles in Scientific American and the co-editorship of the definitive Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory.

Future of Science

There of Science conference was held in Venice, Italy in September of 2006. Peter Atkins, Daniel Dennett, Marc Hauser, and Ian Tattersall were interviewed at this the Second World Conference. The theme was evolution and as the organizers themselves state:

Evolution is a central concept in many spheres of human endeavour, ranging from astrophysics and genetics to philosophy and psychology. Reflection about evolution is reflection about ourselves, our future and our place in the universe.

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