Featuring Paul Sereno

We have reached capacity for this event, and registration is now closed. Walk-ins are still welcome to attend but cannot be guaranteed seating.

Why does human cognition, in its fullest development, appear to be a unique evolutionary phenomenon on Earth and, apparently, on comparable Earth-like planets and more distant celestial objects? UChicago paleontologist Paul Sereno will compare our adaptive trajectory to that of the Dinosauria (dinosaurs and living descendants), where bipedalism first appeared 250 million years ago, followed by toolmaking, dense brains, and complex phonic signaling and learning—with a totally different evolutionary outcome. In light of these considerations, human cognition appears to be an extraordinary, historically contingent condition, the adaptive value of which is open to question.

Contact harperlectures@uchicago.edu or 773.702.7788.

Event Details

2:00 p.m.  Registration and networking
2:30 p.m.  Presentation and discussion
3:30 p.m.  Reception

$10/recent graduate (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Free for current academic year graduates and current students
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Chicago, Harper, Phoenix, and Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association philanthropic societies

Parking Information

Free parking is available in surrounding lots.

Featured Faculty


Paul Sereno is a professor of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago, where he maintains the Fossil Lab. Sereno’s field exploits began in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina, where he discovered the earliest dinosaurs. His other expeditions have explored the Sahara and Gobi deserts, India’s Thar desert, and remote valleys in Tibet, where he has unearthed a menagerie of spectacular crocodiles and dinosaurs. His latest discovery is a human graveyard in the Sahara predating the Egyptian pyramids. A National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Sereno has been featured in many National Geographic Magazine stories and NOVA documentaries. Sereno was named Teacher of the Year by the Chicago Tribune and received the University Medal for Excellence from Columbia University.