Harvard Anthropologist to Lecture on Reproductive Research

Peter Ellison, a leading researcher in the field of human reproduction and dean of Harvard University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, will speak on Evolutionary Ecology and Human Reproduction on Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. in John Dewey Lounge, Old Mill as part of the Presidents Distinguished Lecture Series. Ellison, who is also a professor of anthropology, brings an unusual perspective to his field by examining how evolutionary history and culture affect reproduction. His research looks beyond the biology of reproduction to consider how such factors as diet, disease and labor relate to fertility. In his studies of Western societies, Ellison has examined fertility in male athletes who take anabolic steroids and in women who postpone childbirth until their late 30s.

He has also researched the fertility of women tribal farmers in Mali and Gambia whose daily lives involve demanding physical labor. My team and I have pursued our research questions on every inhabited continent, among both primitive and advanced societies, says Ellison. The results of this work help us to understand both the evolutionary forces that have shaped human reproduction as well as some of the important consequences of our current lifestyle choices. A former Fellow of the John S. Guggenheim Foundation as well as a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow at Harvard, Ellison is the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Human Biology and the author of On Fertile Ground: A Natural History of Human Reproduction. He holds a doctorate in biological anthropology from Harvard University as well as a bachelor of science degree in zoology from UVM. The Presidents Distinguished Lecture Series was established by President Daniel Mark Fogel in October 2002.

Funded by discretionary gift funds, the free, public lectures bring top researchers to campus to enhance the academic experience, showcase faculty, students and programs, and bring the campus community together regularly. Video copies of the lectures are available at the Bailey/Howe Library. For more information on Ellisons talk, contact Robert Gordon, professor of anthropology and lecture host, at 656-3884.





 

 

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