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The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Nina Jablonski

  • Date: March 29, 2012 8:00 pm
  • Location: Old Capitol Museum, Senate Chamber
  • Cost: Free Admission

Lecture Committee and University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums present:

"In Living Color: The Evolution and Meanings of Human Skin Color"

Part of a free event series March 29-April 1: "What Does It Mean To Be Human"

Nina Jablonski is Head and Professor of Anthropology at The Pennsylvania State University. She is a biological anthropologist and paleobiologist who specializes in the evolution of adaptations to the environment in nonhuman and human primates. In her paleontological and comparative anatomical research, she has worked to shed light on the nature of “successful” and “unsuccessful” anatomical and physiological adaptations to the environment through time, especially in the Old World primates. Her research comprises descriptive and functional studies of living and fossil primates and theoretical studies of aspects of primate and human not preserved in the fossil record. Many of these studies have involved long-term collaborations with scientists in east and south Asia, and in eastern Africa.

In the last 15 years, Jablonski has been increasingly absorbed in studies of “unseen” aspects of human evolution, most notably, the evolution of human skin and skin color.  Her research received much praise, and she earned the W.W. Howells Book Award of the American Anthropological Association for 2007 for her book, Skin: A Natural History (University of California Press, 2006). In April 2005, she was awarded one of first twelve Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowships (“Guggenheims for race”) for her research on the evolution of human skin color.

She is a Joint Editor of the Cambridge Series in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology and an Associate Editor of Folia Primatologica. Jablonski is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the California Academy of Sciences. In her long career, she has authored over 30 publications and has been featured in many acclaimed newpapers and television shows, including the New York Times, BBC, NPR, and The Colbert Report.

For more information and details on "What Does It Mean To Be Human" events, visit the the UI Museum of Natural History's website.

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