VC’s Inaugural Lecture: Prof Rebecca Rogers Ackermann

Vice-Chancellor's Inaugural Lecture Series

The evolution of human diversity: the relative roles of chance, adaptation and ancient sex

Human evolution has traditionally been portrayed as a branching tree, where you can trace the success of a single lineage through that tree that ultimately leads to the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens, in Africa a few hundred thousand years ago. Other branches either go extinct before we evolve, or soon after through replacement. And yet, we look around us and see so much diversity in the single living product of this evolution - us. How did this diversity evolve in such a short period? Or is this narrative incorrect? This lecture engages with current research including evidence from the fossil record to provide perspective on these and other issues.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, invites you to the inaugural lecture by Professor Rebecca Rogers Ackermann.

Professor Rebecca AckermannRebecca Rogers Ackermann is a biological anthropologist, Professor in the Department of Archaeology, and Deputy Dean of Transformation in the Faculty of Science at the University of Cape Town. She was the founding Director of UCT’s Human Evolution Research Institute and is currently its Deputy Director.

Her research focusses on evolutionary process, and specifically how gene flow, drift and selection interact to produce skeletal diversity through time, with a focus on human evolution.

Ackermann is a past recipient of the UCT Distinguished Teacher Award and has a B2 rating from the National Research Foundation. She sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Human Evolution, Primate Biology, and American Anthropologist.

Ackermann is also Chair of the Committee on Diversity International for the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and is engaged in discourse and policy development around sexism, racism and transformation of the discipline more generally.

Date:       Wednesday, 14 August 2019
Time:       17h30
Venue:    Lecture Theatre 2, Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, University of Cape Town

To attend the lecture, complete the online reply form below by Sunday, 11 August 2019.

For general enquiries contact or 021 650 4847/4870.