Lecture series 2012: "Out of Africa: The Global History of Homo sapiens"

For 20 years now, Friedemann Schrenk has enjoyed global recognition for his scientific research and excavation campaigns aimed at throwing light on the early history of man. He made a sensational discovery in Malawi in 1991 – the oldest lower jaw ever found belonging to the human species, a bone some 2.5 million years old. He is a firm advocate of interdisciplinary research on Africa, is active on the Board of Directors of the Uraha Foundation in Germany and Malawi, and is co-founder of the Cultural & Museum Center in Karonga in Malawi. In 2006, he was awarded the Communicator Award, the Science Award of the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany [Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft], for his outstanding achievements in the field of science and knowledge transfer. – Friedemann Schrenk, Professor of Paleobiology at the Department of Biological Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt and head of the Paleoanthropology division at the Senckenberg Research Institute, will hold the 2012 Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz giving a lecture series entitled: "Out of Africa: The Global History of Homo Sapiens."

Based on his work, Africa is now regarded as the continent of man’s biological origin and the place from where the species’ forerunners spread around the world in several "waves" over the past two million years. It is also in Africa that the biologically modern man emerged about 200,000 years ago before spreading across and populating the entire globe. Paleoanthropology understands the history of Homo sapiens as global history. In his lecture series at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Schrenk will present and discuss with his guests the principal paleoanthropological concept of man's biocultural evolution. The Out of Africa concept assigns the origin of modern man to Africa, a continent that is currently undergoing upheaval and change. For Africa, these archeological finds and their paleoanthropological interpretation are of particular importance.

According to Professor Dr. Andreas Cesana, Chair of the Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship Foundation, the 2012 lecture series will detail the evolution of man from his early beginnings to the present and will use this as background to discuss the scientific concepts, methods, and conceptual history of paleoanthropology. "The question of the origin of man is a key to our self-understanding," says Cesana. "The new global historical approach offers us new perspectives on our common origin. I am sure Friedemann Schrenk will fascinate the interested public, because he himself is still so much fascinated by Africa, his excavations, and his research work."