Home / Colloquium: Establishing new and reliable approaches for reconstructing past human behavior


Title: Establishing new and reliable approaches for reconstructing past human behavior

Speaker: Alexandros Karakostis (University of Tübingen)

Date: Thursday, 29 October, 10:00

Venue: Zoom, Link will be published on the day before the talk


Reconstructing behavior in past human populations is a paramount goal of archaeological sciences, as it can elucidate the interplay between the biological and cultural factors driving human evolution. Given that habitual physical activity comprises a major component of human behavior, several methods have been proposed for assessing activity based on human skeletal variation. However, most of these approaches have been put to question due to methodological shortcomings and a lack of supportive experimental data. Through a series of studies, I have systematically addressed these concerns, introducing novel and experimentally validated methods for reconstructing physical activity in the past. The interdisciplinary spectrum of these projects involves the use of human skeletons with documented life histories, geometric morphometrics, experimental animal models, histological analyses of human tissue, and biomechanical muscle modeling. Importantly, applying these methods to the fossil record has provided crucial new insights into hominin lifestyle, reconciling anatomical and cultural lines of evidence. In this talk, I will concisely present the findings of the above studies and outline future directions in my research, focusing on a potential expansion of our methodological framework that could help addressing other major aspects of human bio-cultural evolution.


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