Humans are by far the most successful primates on the planet. We owe our status to the evolution of our large and complex brains, upright walking, high fertility, and long lifespans. But we’ve paid a price for these adaptations. Our big-brained babies are difficult to deliver at birth, our backs ache from upright walking, and our long lives predispose us to cancer and other diseases. What other costs have we incurred in becoming human? How did this happen? And what else are we learning about the unique evolutionary path of our species?
Join us for a live Google+ Hangout at 3 p.m. EST on Saturday, 16 February, on this page with two experts in the field. Leave your own questions in the comment box below before the video chat starts. The video from the chat will be archived on this page.
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Karen Rosenberg is a paleoanthropologist who specializing in pelvic morphology, Neandertals, the origin of modern humans and the evolution of human childbirth and infant helplessness. She has studied human fossils in many parts of the world including Europe, Israel, China and South Africa.
Rachel Caspari is a Professor of Anthropology at Central Michigan University and a member of the Core Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Bone Research Center at the University of Michigan. Dr. Caspari is a paleoanthropologist with a focus on the Upper Pleistocene and demographic changes in human evolution.
Ann Gibbons is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine and the author of The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors, which was a finalist for the LA Times best science and technology book in 2007.