All things anthropogeny

Established in 2008 by co-founders Ajit VarkiMargaret Schoeninger  and Fred Gage, the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) promotes transdisciplinary research in the study of human origins.

Anthropogeny is not a synonym for human evolution, but rather encompasses investigation of all factors involved in human origins, including climate, cultural, geographic, social and ecological. The word was popularized by the noted German zoologist Ernst Haeckel.

Not surprisingly, it’s a rich and diverse topic of conversation. Consider CARTA’s regular symposia, which have produced more than 150 scholarly presentations on subjects ranging from language and the biology of altruism to the evolution of nutrition and whether the human mind is unique. Future symposia will discuss child-rearing in human evolution and the role of male aggression and violence.

All CARTA symposia are recorded by UCSD-TV and archived on multiple sites: CARTA, UCSD-TV, iTunes and YouTube.

Recently, the number of online hits of CARTA videos topped 10 million in just four years – a big number in a blink of geologic time.

Word of the day

Anthropogeny  is the study of human origins. It is not simply a synonym for human evolution, which is only a part of the processes involved in human origins. Many other factors besides biological evolution were involved, ranging over climatic, geographic, ecological, social, and cultural ones.

The term anthropogeny was first used in the 1839 edition of Hooper's Medical Dictionary[1] and was defined as “the study of the generation of man”. The term was popularized byErnst Heinrich Haeckel (1834–1919), a German naturalist and zoologist, in his groundbreaking books, Natural History of Creation[2] (German: Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschicht) (1868) and The Evolution of Man [3](German: Anthropogenie) (1874). Haeckel was one of the first biologists to publish on evolution. Haeckel used the term Anthropogeny to refer to the study of comparative embryology and defined it as “the history of the evolution of man”. The term changed over time, however, and came to refer to the study of human origins.[4]

The last use of the word anthropogeny in English literature was in 1933 by William K. Gregory.[5] There was a gap in the usage of the term from 1933 to 2008. Anthropogeny was reintroduced in 2008[6] and is now back in academic use at the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) at the University of California, San Diego.

The root anthropos means human, -logia means discourse or study, and -geny means origin. Anthropology, therefore, is quite literally the study of humans, whereas anthropogeny is the study of the origin of humans.

According to Gregory (1933), anthropologists are interested in measuring and quantifying aspects of being human, whereas anthropogenists are interested in “piecing together the broken story of the ‘big parade’ that nature has staged across the ages”.[5]

There is a some overlap between anthropology and anthropogeny, as both are interested in the study of humans. The field of anthropology has origins in the natural sciences,humanities, and social sciences. Anthropology is typically divided into four sub-fields: social anthropology or cultural anthropologybiological anthropologylinguistic anthropology, and archaeology. The field of anthropogeny is also influenced by the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences, however, given that it is the study of the origin of humans, it is also influenced by fields ranging from anatomy and biomechanics to neurology and genetics.

A comprehensive list of Domains of Scientific Discipline relevant to anthropogeny can be found in the Matrix of Comparative Anthropogeny (MOCA), associated with the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA).

via Wikipedia

Watch on

Culture-Gene Interactions in Human Origins (by UCtelevision)


Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (German: [ˈhɛkəl]; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919[1]) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and Protista. Haeckel promoted and popularised Charles Darwin’s work in Germany and developed the influential but no longer widely held recapitulation theory (“ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”) claiming that an individual organism’s biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarises its species’ evolutionary development, or phylogeny.

The published artwork of Haeckel includes over 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations of animals and sea creatures (see: Kunstformen der Natur, “Art Forms of Nature”). As a philosopher, Ernst Haeckel wrote Die Welträtsel (1895–1899; in English: The Riddle of the Universe, 1901), the genesis for the term “world riddle” (Welträtsel); and Freedom in Science and Teaching[2] to support teaching evolution.