A new report by the National Research Council (NRC), “Understanding Climate’s Influence on Human Evolution,” considers the research needed to answer fundamental questions about impacts of Earth’s climate on human origins. “Significant progress into the question of whether past climate changes influenced human evolution will require a coordinated, focused, and cross-disciplinary research program designed specifically to address this problem,” the report states. Specially, the NRC calls for two research initiatives over a 10-20 year period. The first theme would study the impacts of climate change and climate variability on human evolution and dispersal. Secondly, climate modeling, environmental records, and biotic responses would be integrated. To accomplish these goals, the report calls for a major exploration initiative to locate new fossils sites, and an integrated effort to better understand climate history where hominins evolved by sampling lake and ocean sediments and a major investment in climate modeling. To read the report, please visit http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12825.html.
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