Researchers Land Human Origins Grant

Posted: Updated:
(Clockwise from lower left) Researchers Tom Schoenemann, Peter Todd, Colin Allen, Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth. (Clockwise from lower left) Researchers Tom Schoenemann, Peter Todd, Colin Allen, Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth.

Researchers with The Stone Age Institute in Bloomington, in partnership with the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, have received one of the largest grants ever awarded for human origins research. The John Templeton Foundation in Pennsylvania has awarded the three-year, $3.2 million grant, titled "What Drives Human Cognitive Evolution?"

The research is also in partnership with prehistoric archaeological research projects in Tanzania, the Republic of Georgia and China. IU says the grant will allow researchers to examine and explore prehistoric evidence for fossil human brain expansion.

IU says the grant will help establish a strong focus on evolution of human cognition within the Cognitive Science Program, provide three graduate fellowships and create a distinguished visiting scholars program. The grant will also fund experimental research.

"A key component of studying cognitive science, and one that is too often forgotten, is exploring what various aspects of cognition are for -- what problems did cognition help our ancestors to solve?" said Peter Todd, director of the Cognitive Science Program. "This grant lets us do exactly that, uncovering the evolved cognitive mechanisms that help us tackle central human problems including making tools, constructing sentences, finding information and learning from experts."

The grant will also support science education in Tanzania, Georgia and China. That support includes teacher training, student field trips to museums and archaeological sites and the enhancement of collections and museum exhibits in the three countries. An education website on human cognitive evolution will also be created.

The project leaders are all IU faculty and members of the Cognitive Science Program. Todd joins Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth, who are also founders and co-directors of The Stone Age Institute. Colin Allen, provost professor of history and philosophy of science and medicine, and Tom Schoenemann, associate professor of anthropology, are also part of the research group.

  • Perspectives

    • How to Find a New Audience After Hitting a Marketing Plateau

      It may sound like a marketer’s dream scenario: efforts have proven to be so successful it appears a company has completely saturated their target audience. While it may be a good problem to have, it still may be a problem. Hitting a marketing plateau is an opportunity for companies in any industry to reevaluate, re-energize and come to the table with new ideas for better understanding existing customers and engaging new audiences.



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (image courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Crews Start Demolition of Carson's in Hammond

      The face of downtown retail in Hammond is changing once again with the demolition of Carson’s department store, the one-time the anchor of Woodmar Mall. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report excavating crews have started to demolish the last vestige of the shopping center which stood since the 1950s. 

    • (photo courtesy of WTHR-TV)

      Andrew Luck Retiring from NFL

      In a shocking development following the Indianapolis Colts' preseason loss to the Chicago Bears, quarterback Andrew Luck has announced his retirement from the NFL. Luck, who did not play in Saturday's game, said the number of injuries he has suffered throughout his professional career "has taken my joy of this game away." Luck teared up during a news conference in which he made his announcement. "After 2016 where I played in pain and was unable to regularly...

    • Shaina Keck

      Pier 48 Manager Named

      FK Restaurant Group has named Shaina Keck sales and banquet manager for Pier 48 Fish House and Bar in downtown Indianapolis. She previously served in sales at Kilroy's Bar & Grill. Keck is a graduate of Indiana University Kelly School of Business with a bachelor of science degree in finance and accounting with a concentration in international studies.  
    • Fort Wayne Tops 'Hottest Real Estate Markets'

      Fort Wayne just opened its brand new riverfront Promenade Park to pomp and pageantry, hoping to make it a draw to Indiana’s second largest city. But now the Allen County community has something else to celebrate. The editors of declared Fort Wayne as the hottest real estate market in July for the entire country. 

    • On-Air

      Find out when and where you can watch and listen to our reports.