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The Grandmother Hypothesis and Human Evolution – Kristen Hawkes

Author: Amy Juhnke

Kristen Hawkes is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a graduate of Iowa State. She will discuss her research on the Grandmother Hypothesis, the theory that the trait for human females having long post-menopausal lives has been selected because it allows grandmothers to help their offspring survive and assist in raising their grandchildren. The theory focuses on key differences in life history between humans and our closest living relatives, the great apes. Hawkes’s research also focuses on the evolutionary advantages and consequences of grandmothering, which include more than just longevity.

Hawkes is a member of the Scientific Executive Committee of the Leakey Foundation and has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Science. She earned a BS in sociology and anthropology from Iowa State and completed her graduate work at the University of Washington.

Cosponsors: Anthropology Program, World Languages and Cultures, International Studies Program, President’s Distinguished Seminar Support Program