Houston Museum of Natural Science

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Event/Item Event Scheduled  
Lecture - Ethics without God? The Evolution of Morality and Empathy in the Primates by Frans de Waal

 

Empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans. In his work with monkeys, apes and elephants, Dr. Frans de Waal has found many cases of one individual coming to another's aid in a fight, putting an arm around a previous victim of attack, or other emotional responses to the distress of others.

By studying social behavior in animals -- such as bonding and alliances, expressions of consolation, conflict resolution, and a sense of fairness -- de Waal demonstrates that animals and humans are preprogrammed to reach out, questioning the assumption that humans are inherently selfish. Understanding empathy's survival value in evolution can help to build a more just society based on a more accurate view of human nature. Religion may add to a moral society, but as an addition and way to enforce good behavior rather than as the source of good behavior.

 

Dr. Frans de Waal is a professor of psychology at Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. Following the lecture Dr. de Waal will sign copies of his latest book is The Bonobo and the Atheist.

 

This lecture is sponsored by The Leakey Foundation.

10/21/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Bats: The Night Shift by Cullen Geiselman

 

Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight and they have radiated into almost every habitat on earth.  They are responsible for eating millions of night-flying insects, dispersing seeds in rain forests, and pollinating plants in deserts.  Only three out of the 1,300+ species of bats are vampires and feed solely on the blood of other mammals and birds. Other bats are carnivorous and capture small vertebrate prey, such as lizards, birds, and even other bats.  Their great diversity of feeding strategies is a testament to the adaptability of these nocturnal animals and reveals their important roles they play within ecosystems.  During her lecture, Dr. Cullen Geiselman will give a brief summary of the world’s bat species, their habitats, and adaptations and discuss their ecological functions and the benefits they provide to humans within different environments. She will end by bringing it all back to the 38 bat species found in Texas highlighting the 8 or so that call Houston home. Bat researcher and conservationist Dr. Cullen Geiselman has studied bats around the globe. She currently serves on the board of directors of Bat Conservation International. This lecture is co-sponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

10/27/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Camp Logan, a WWI Emergency Training Center in Houston by Louis Aulbach and Linda Gorski

 

Camp Logan, a military training base built in 1917 housed 44,000 soldiers in what is now Houston's Memorial Park.  To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, historians Louis Aulbach and Linda Gorski will present a program on this almost-forgotten chapter in Houston's history and the archaeological work done at the site where foundation features of the camp remain in the wooded areas of Memorial Park and have been declared State Archeological Landmarks.  This presentation will be a tribute to the soldiers who trained at Camp Logan - including nine Medal of Honor winners and seventy one African American soldiers who won the French Croix de Guerre. Following the lecture, Aulbach, Gorski and co-author Robbie Morin will sign copies of their new book Camp Logan Houston Texas 1917 - 1919.

11/4/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Growing an Ark: The Expanding Role of Gardens in Plant Conservation by Peter Wyse Jackson

 

Often referred to as “living museums,” over 3,000 botanic gardens are known in 175 countries and territories worldwide, most of which were established since 1950. Botanic gardens’ efforts to rescue plants from extinction through expanded research, conservation programs, and environmental education is leading to their increasingly influential role in the development of international policies in biodiversity conservation. Peter Wyse Jackson will take you on an around-the-world journey that showcases a wide range of some of the most significant successes and contributions by botanic gardens, both individually and collectively.

 

Peter Wyse Jackson, Ph.D. is director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and former Secretary-General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

 

This lecture is cosponsored with The Mercer Society.

11/6/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Ice Age Yucatan by Dominique Rissolo

 

The complete, well preserved skeleton of a young girl from over 12,000 years ago was found in an underwater cave on the Yucatan Peninsula. Nicknamed “Princess Naia,” her remains are among the oldest yet found in the Americas. Her discovery is reshaping our understanding of human migration into the Western Hemisphere. This lecture is presented by marine archaeologist Dr. Dominique Rissolo, expedition coordinator for the Waitt Institute.

 

This lecture is cosponsored by AIA – Houston.

11/12/2014
6:30 PM
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