John Hawks

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Presentation Title:

New discoveries from ancient genomes

The DNA from Neandertals and other ancient people is yielding a new understanding of their biology and relationship to living humans. Many of us carry genes from these people. Dr. Hawks and other scientists are beginning to find out which genes and what they may do.

Lab Website

Recent Publications

John Hawks blog
Dr. Hawks comments on recent developments in human evolution and biological anthropology on this site.

Hawks, J, Wang, ET, Cochran, GM, Harpending, HC, Moyzis, RK 2007. Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution.
PNAS Vol 104(52):20753-20758 doi:10.1073/pnas.0707650104 A more general audience explanation of this paper is available on Dr. Hawks blog

Resources for Teaching

John Hawks Interview
John Hawks talks about his research in this 2010 YouTube video.

Making sense of ancient hominin DNA
May, 2010 Evo in the News story from Understanding Evolution and NESCent. Text story on the Denisovian X-woman and podcast interview with John Hawks.

Scientists Finish First Draft of Neanderthal Genome
February 13, 2009 story from NPR on the Neanderthal genome sequencing project.

What Does Evolution Want?
August 7, 2011 stories from To the Best of Our Knowledge. Simon Conway Morris says that humans, or something like them, were the inevitable outcome of the appearance of life on earth. Robert Richards believes that Charles Darwin himself believed evolution marches inevitably toward greater complexity. Ruth Padel is an acclaimed British poet and a direct descendent of Charles Darwin. John Haught talks about his theology of evolution. John Hawks says human beings have evolved since their cave man days, and how the process is continuing.

Humans Now Evolving Faster
December 12, 2007 story from NPR. A new study finds that humans are now changing more rapidly than at any point in history. John Hawks, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin Madison and a lead author of the report, explains why.

Hey Good Lookin: Early Humans Dug Neanderthals
May 6, 2010 story from NPR. Scientists say modern humans did more than simply coexist with our evolutionary cousins.

Neanderthal Genome Offers Clues on Early Humans
May 7, 2010 story from NPR. Researchers present a draft of the Neanderthal genome in the journal Science this week. Ira Flatow talks with researchers about the results of the genetic analyses, including a new finding that some modern humans have Neanderthal DNA in their genomes.

Un-natural Selection: Human Evolutions Next Steps
September 6, 2010 story from NPR. John Hawks, an anthropologist and geneticist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, says we've created a lifestyle that is at odds with the one natural selection provided us with.

Ancient Bones DNA suggests New Human Ancestors
December 23, 2010 story from NPR. DNA from 30,000-year-old pinkie bone hints at a previously unknown group of ancient humans.