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DySoC/NIMBioS Seminar Series

DySoC and NIMBioS are hosting a series of seminars on topics related to social complexity. Monthly seminars will be held at NIMBioS in Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Light refreshments will be served in Room 205 beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.

C. Botero photo.

Speaker: Dr. Carlos Botero, Biology, Washington Univ., Saint Louis, MO

Time/Date: Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 3:30 p.m.*

Location: Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.

Topic: Ecological and evolutionary modeling shed light into the evolution and spread of human agriculture

Abstract: Modern humans existed for at least 200K years as hunter-gatherers before developing agriculture. However, around 12KYA a few societies around the world figured out how to domesticate plants and animals, forever altering our ecology and way of life. My talk will cover how my team is taking advantage of recent advances in cultural phylogenetics, computational biology, and evolutionary ecology to quantitatively test a variety of mechanistic hypotheses related to the origin and spread of agriculture. Specifically, I will discuss how we (1) hindcasted population dynamics of hunter-gatherers to evaluate whether agriculture most likely originated in times of need versus surplus; (2) used climate niche modeling to evaluate whether the 11 to 19 areas of origin of agriculture were somehow different than other places concurrently inhabited by humans; (3) investigated how environmental and geographic barriers may have significantly delayed the spread of agriculture in Africa and the Americas as compared to Eurasia; and (4) used machine leaning to evaluate whether the rapid spread of agriculture was primarily enabled by war, cultural diffusion, or both.

Carlos A. Botero is an Assistant Professor at Washington University in Saint Louis. He is generally interested in understanding how animal behavior is subjected to eco-evolutionary dynamics driven by climate oscillations and climate change. His research program is currently focused on the evolution of avian cognition and human culture.

*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m.

Seminar Flyer (pdf)

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This seminar was streamed live. Live-streamed seminars are archived for later viewing on NIMBIoS' YouTube channel. Watch seminar online.

For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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