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Human Evolution: The First 150 Years of Discovery  

Charles J. Vella, PhD This is a journey through the well-established information and many discoveries in the field of human evolution leading up to 1970. The incredible history of discoveries, major researchers, the controversies, and many famous discovery stories will be included; along with the major types of ancestral hominins. After an initial review of general evolution and the paleoarcheology of human evolution (dating techniques, fossilization, etc.), we’ll proceed to very beginning of discoveries, 1820, and continue through the first 150 years. This will include the major evolutionary types of ancestral hominins, including the Australopithicines, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo heidelbergensis. We will review how this first group of homins affected our understanding of human evolution. Week 1: General Evolution (belief in evolution, creationism, processes, etc.) Week 2: Basics of human evolution (dating techniques, fossilization, etc.) Week 3: Early Hominins: Sahelanthropus, Orrorin, Ardipithecus Week 4: The Australopithecines Week 5: Transitional Hominins: Homo habilis, Homo erectus Week 6: Homo heidelbergensis Charles J. Vella, PhD is a neuropsychologist and an amateur human evolution enthusiast. He received his PhD in Counseling Psychology at UC Berkeley in 1977 and worked at Kaiser Hospital, Dept. of Psychiatry from 1978 to 2009 as Chief Psychologist and Director of the Neuropsychology Service where he continues to volunteer in the Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Training program as its senior consultant. An expert in most brain related topics, he lectures to the public in this area. Since his retirement in 2009, Vella has been active as a docent at the California Academy of Science, specializing in the human evolution area. While he's not an anthropologist, he has become an amateur expert in field of human evolution and has taught a variety of docent classes in this area at the Academy. He has read extensively on most of the topics in human evolution, taken a variety of courses on this topic, and enjoys teaching this subject.