Dr Zeresenay Alemseged with SelamSession 2: Looking Back to Look Forward, was kicked off by Dr Zeresenay Alemseged, a palaeontologist from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Dr Zeray discovered the remains of the oldest humanoid child in Ethopia in 2000. The discovery is affectionately named “Selam”, a 3 year old hominid child, and announced in 2006. He explains that we share 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees. While talking about how “Selam” was extracted he relates it to a sort of 2nd birth. That is how long it took him to remove sandstone grain by grain for five years. One of the way to compare skeletons from thousands of years ago to determine if they are our ancestors is to figure out they were walking upright or not. Homo erectus is the great ancestor of homo sapien, modern man. Comparing the size of teeth you can determine if it’s male or female. In this case it’s smaller teeth which confirms it’s a girl. We are by far the most successful species in the history of the world – I would add especially if you consider how our population size keeps growing with almost no end in sight. And by further extrapolation that we are doing this at a substantial cost to the environment and many, many other specifies on Earth.

Here’s my video podcast with Dr Alemseged in the Internet Cafe at TEDGlobal:

For more information on Selam and Dr Zeray Alemseged see his webpage at Dept of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute.