Professor Timothy Bromage
The Visiting Scholars Program of
Phi Beta Kappa and the Zeta chapter at R-MC announce a visit by New York
University Professor of Biomaterials and Biomimetics Dr. Timothy Bromage on
September 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the SunTrust Theater,
Brock Commons (304 Henry Street).
Bromage will present "What the cells of our pearly whites can tell us about the
climate fate of the world and becoming human." The lecture, which is free and
open to the public, is made possible by the John and Anita Werner fund
for Phi Beta Kappa and the Visiting Scholars Program of PBK.
Bromage’s presentation will combine discussions of how, by processes of natural
selection, most African mammals developed larger bones and teeth to cope with a
changing vegetation and how the development of teeth and the chronological age at
which they erupt in the mouth are coordinated to meet the metabolic requirements
of increasing size and activity during growth and maturation. Early humans had shorter
periods of growth and development, leading to a paradigm shift that changed forever
the way we interpret early human life and biology. Becoming modern, or nearly so,
was driven by an inexorable shift in brain size, dragging with it every other aspect
of being human, a process that began approximately 1.5 million years ago.
Bromage is a paleoanthropologist and professor of biomaterials and biomimetics at
the NYU Dental Center where he is director of the Hard Tissue Research Unit. His
research focuses on human evolution and growth and development, with emphasis on
the biology of bones and teeth as windows into life history. He conducts fieldwork
principally in Malawi, where he examines both modern and early human dental and
skeletal development to draw inferences concerning relationships between human biology
and the environment. The surveys of his fieldwork have recovered the oldest known
representative of the human genus, Homo rudolfensis, 2.4 Ma, as well as its contemporary,
Paranthropus boisei, from the shores of Lake Malawi. He recently discovered a new
biological clock while observing incremental growth lines in tooth enamel, hypothesized
to regulate many metabolic functions.
Bromage is the coeditor of African Biogeography: Climate Change and Early Hominid
Evolution. He has been honored for his research by the National Science
Foundation and the National Geographic Society. In 2010 he received the prestigious
Max Planck Prize in recognition of his achievements in the research on the microanatomical
structure of ancestral human teeth and bones. Bromage is also Honorary Professor
of La Salle University, Madrid, Spain and Honorary Research Fellow of the Department
of Paleoanthropology, Senckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.