KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Philipp Mitteroecker
KLI Colloquia
How Human Bodies Are Evolving in Modern Societies: Do We Want to Know This?
Philipp MITTEROECKER (University of Vienna & KLI)
2019-02-19 17:00 - 2019-02-19 18:30
Organized by KLI

Topic description / abstract:

Despite rapid medical and technological advancements, modern humans are still subject to natural selection, and this goes beyond negative selection on life-threatening diseases. Sociocultural transitions and medical advancements can disrupt evolutionary equilibriums underlying modern human anatomy, physiology and life history. Using examples from childbirth and obstructed labor, autoimmune disorders, and sickle cell disease, I demonstrate how regular medical interventions can disrupt such evolved equilibriums and trigger new evolutionary changes with the potential to affect our bodies and health within only a few generations. Disentangling such complex biosocial evolutionary dynamics poses serious ethical questions and challenges the current borders between academic disciplines, but it has strong potential for guiding public health policies.


Biographical note:

Philipp Mitteroecker is associate professor of theoretical biology at the University of Vienna. He is also teaching at the University of Graz, and he is a directorial board member of the KLI Institute for Evolution & Cognition Research. His research interests include human and animal evolution, evolutionary medicine, biological anthropology, biostatistics, and the philosophy of science. He is particularly interested in the analysis of complex biological data, including morphometric, genetic, and demographic data, to understand and model the interaction of developmental, environmental, and evolutionary processes. Recent work includes the evolution and current transition of human childbirth and reproductive anatomy.