CARTA presents, “Comparative Anthropogeny and Other Approaches to Human Origins” (FREE: In person and livestreaming)

You’re invited! In person or livestreaming!

“Comparative Anthropogeny and Other Approaches to Human Origins,” is the topic of a FREE, public symposium hosted by the CARTA: UC San Diego/Salk Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny at the Salk Institute – Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium in La Jolla, CA, on FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2023 (Beginning 1:00 p.m. Pacific with Q&A and expert discussion commencing ~ 4:30 p.m. Pacific), co-chaired by Pascal Gagneux (UC San Diego) and Carol Marchetto (UC San Diego). Register for FREE:

Event Summary:
Comparative Anthropogeny (CompAnth) is the study of distinctly human traits and characteristics in the context of comparisons with our closest living relatives, the “great apes.” This symposium, the third of CARTA’s CompAnth series, will present a collection of distinctive human traits, ranging from molecular, cellular, and anatomical biology to behavioral, societal, and cultural features. For each feature, available evidence for the evolution of the distinct trait will be discussed, including the timing of its appearance in the evolutionary history of our species, the mechanism(s) responsible for its appearance, its development during the life span, and its ultimate function for human existence and human health.

Whenever possible, the existence of similar traits in animals/organisms outside those belonging to the evolutionary lineage of great apes and humans will be carefully considered. Given the large number of human traits for which no counterparts have yet been described in nature, the limitations of the comparative method will also be addressed and alternative approaches to the singularity that is the human phenomenon will be discussed. The goal is a better understanding of human origins and a full appreciation of our species’ planet altering effects.

The CompAnth series (see also Oct. 2020 and Oct. 2021 events) gathers dedicated CARTA Members and MOCA entry editors for discussions regarding humans and our closest evolutionary cousins (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans: i.e., “great apes”), with an emphasis on uniquely human features. These insights form the foundation for CARTA’s “Matrix of Comparative Anthropogeny” (MOCA)” online resource and planned eBook entitled, “Comparative Anthropogeny (CompAnth).” Initial funding for the MOCA/CompAnth project was generously provided by late CARTA Major Sponsor Annette Merle-Smith.

Additional Information:
For updates regarding the live webcast on FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2023, follow CARTA’s X/Twitter (@CARTAUCSD), Facebook (@ucsdcarta), and LinkedIn accounts and/or visit the event page: For more information, please email: or

Funding for this symposium was provided by many generous CARTA friends like YOU. Closed captioning for recordings was made possible by CARTA Patrons Ingrid Benirschke-Perkins and Gordon Perkins.