Adrienne Zihlman Emeriti Lecture

"The Inside Story of the Apes"

UC Santa Cruz Fall 2018 Faculty Emeriti Lecture
Presented by Adrienne Zihlman, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology


Dr. Adrienne Zihlman, Department of Anthropology 

Event Details

  • Tuesday, November 13, 7:00 p.m. (Doors at 6:30)
  • At the UCSC Music Recital Hall
  • Free, open to the public. Seating is limited.
  • Complimentary parking is available in the Performing Arts parking lot.
  • More information is available at the Emeriti Association homepage

This story of discovery involves UC Santa Cruz, undergraduate students, veterinarians, zoo and museum personnel, and the apes themselves. The project began with a modest goal: to find out whether anatomical study of whole bodies could detect differences between two chimpanzee species, beyond what could be learned from study of the skeleton alone.  Professor Zihlman applied quantitative methods to study the bodies of apes that died of natural causes, recording all skin, muscles, bones, vessels, nerves, and connective tissue as she and her team dissected each animal. What insights might these findings reveal about human origins, she wondered. As is often the case in science, answers to questions generated more questions. Before long, when opportunities arose, the project expanded to include gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons. She compared individuals of different species, ages, sexes, and body weights, generating data never before available. Her research adds new perspectives to the unending saga of ape and human evolution.

Adrienne Zihlman is an internationally recognized authority on human origins and the role of women in evolution, human locomotion, chimanzee models for the ape-human ancestor, and the expression of sex differences within and across ape species. She combines evidence from ape genomes, geology and the fossil record, wild ape behavior and ecology, and her own laboratory research on anatomy to hypothesize about the time and place of human origins. She authored The Human Evolution Coloring Book; co-edited The Evolving Female: A life History Perspective, based on a conference she organized at UC Santa Cruz; and is coauthor of the forthcoming book Ape Anatomy and Evolution.