You Are What You Eat: The Evolutionary Importance of Diet in Mammals
with Samantha Hopkins, assistant professor of geology in the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon
As humans, we're very familiar with the ability of mammals to eat a diversity of foods, but we must also appreciate how much diet has to do with the diversity of mammals alive today. Mammal diets range from plants to meat and everything in between, and these dietary specializations dictate a great deal about the biology of different mammals. In this talk, Dr. Hopkins will be talking about how mammals specialize on different diets and how those specializations affect where and how they live and their likelihood of extinction, or of giving rise to new species. In particular, she will talk about where omnivores come from, and why the diet of humans is so very strange in comparison with so many other mammals. We'll range from fossils to evolutionary relationships to ecology in exploring the links between this critical ecological feature and the major patterns of mammalian evolution.
Samantha Hopkins is an assistant professor of geology in the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. She is originally from East Tennessee, where she got her B.S. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Biology and Geology. She then moved to the west coast to do a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. As a member of the Clark Honors College, she teaches classes in evolutionary biology and paleontology and is pursuing research on the evolution of ecology in mammals, especially as driven by environmental change.
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