14th Martin-Schwarzbach-Colloquium

Dear Martin-Schwarzbach attendee,
Thanks for your interest in the 14th annual Martin-Schwarzbach colloquium. With deep regret we have to announce, that this year’s Martin-Schwarzbach colloquium is cancelled due to the current Corona crises. The decision has not been made easily, but we here follow regulations provided by the government and the University of Cologne (https://portal.uni-koeln.de/coronavirus). We surely will continue with our colloquium series next year (new date: 30. April 2021) and are currently trying to invite this year’s speakers again for next year. Please accept our sincere apologies for these unexpected circumstances. We would be very pleased to welcome you next year at our colloquium.

We wish you all the best in these difficult times. Stay healthy!
With kind regards,
Hannah Hartung & Frank Schäbitz




                                       15.00 – 15.15h:        Words of welcome

15.15 – 16.15h:        Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie
“Shaking the Human Family Tree: Recent fossil discovieries from Woranso-Mille, Afar region, Ethiopia” 

Woranso-Mille, a paleoanthropological site located in the Afar region of Ethiopia, has become one of the most important sites providing fossils that help us better understand the evolutionary history of early hominins during the mid-Pliocene. The geological sequence at this site samples almost one and a half million years of the geological past, between >4.3 and <3.0 million years ago (Ma). It is the only site thus far that has provided incontrovertible fossil evidence showing that there were multiple related hominin species co-existing in close geographic proximity during the mid-Pliocene (3.5 – 3.3 Ma). Recently, a 3.8-million-year-old almost complete hominin cranium (MRD) was discovered at the site and it was assigned to Australopithecus anamensis – the earliest known species of the genus Australopithecus – now dated to 4.2 – 3.8 Ma. MRD reveals the face of A. anamensis for the first time and adds about 100 kyr to the younger end of the species. Most importantly, MRD shook the human family tree by challenging the long-held hypothesis of linear transition from A. anamensis to Lucy’s species, A. afarensis. This talk will describe the discovery and interpretation of MRD, highlight some of the major fossil discoveries from Woranso-Mille, and how they are re-shaping our understanding of the earlier phases of our evolutionary history



                                       16.15 – 16.30h:        Coffee Break

16.30 – 17.30h:        Prof. Dr. Katerina Harvati
“The Apidima fossil humans and the role of South-East Europe in human evolution” 


The timing and number of early dispersals of Homo sapiens out of Africa is a matter of great interest and debate. Broad consensus exists that the major dispersal of early modern humans started 70-50 thousand years ago (ka), reaching the Near East by 60 ka and Europe by 45 ka, and eventually replacing archaic humans around the world. However, a well documented population of early Homo sapiens is known to have lived in the Near East already by 130-100 ka and possibly as early as 180 ka, raising the possibility of earlier dispersals and potential interactions between early modern humans and other Pleistocene hominins. The re-analysis and dating of the Apidima fossil human crania indicate an earlier and more geographically widespread dispersal event of early Homo sapiens than previously suspected, reaching South East Europe as early as 210 ka. This evidence fits well with the fossil record from the Near East, as well as with paleogenetic evidence suggesting an early interbreeding event between Neanderthals and early modern humans before 200 ka. The implications for the role of South-East Europe in human evolution will be discussed.



                                        17.30h:                     Farewell drinks and snacks


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Köln-Süd (train)
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