2024 Events

This online series explores past human, social, cultural and environmental systems in deep time through the lens of various ecological niches. Leading scholars will present cutting-edge research, providing critical insights into a suite of processes that shaped the early prehistory of our species at different times and places. [more]
In this beautifully illustrated talk, award winning and bestselling author Andrea Wulf tells the story of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), the great scientist and intrepid explorer who has more things named after him than anyone else. [more]

Crossing Boundaries 2024: The Anthropocene - Addressing its challenges for humanity - crossing the boundaries of science

A joint conference with the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
This conference will be hosted by the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology (MPI GEA) in Jena and will mark the new direction of the institute in addressing issues of the Anthropocene. It will feature three days of lectures and panels with leading researchers from a range scientific disciplines. [more]
By assembling young scholars together with a panel of specialists from diverse backgrounds, we hope to shed light on the complexities of the Anthropocene with a multifaceted methodological approach. Our mission is to underscore how dialogue between archaeology, history, palaeoecology, and Indigenous knowledge can yield insights into relationships between human land use, environmental stewardship, and the Earth system across space and time. [more]

Tag der Vielfalt 2024 in Jena

  • Date: May 28, 2024
  • Time: 03:00 PM - 07:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Location: Holzmarkt Jena
Jena celebrates diversity and we are part of it: Meet us at the stand of the network JenaVersum and test your knowledge with an exciting quiz on internationality and interculturality in our science location. [more]
As high-throughput sequencing techniques continue to advance, an increasing amount of genetic information across all branches of the tree of life is being generated. With the introduction of the molecular clock hypothesis, we are now capable not only of making inferences about genetic divergence based on the number of differing mutations between sequences but also of estimating divergence in terms of absolute time units. Since then, numerous conceptual and methodological advancements have facilitated bridging the gap between genetic data and temporal divergence, jumping from molecules to millennia. Nevertheless, many challenges still remain that need to be addressed to form a more comprehensive understanding of evolution as a function of time. [more]
The notion of ‘extreme events’ is widely discussed in various disciplines, and is a topic of increasing academic research. Rapid and dramatic environmental and climatic events are particularly prominent in this – including heat waves, volcanic eruptions, droughts, earthquakes, floods, etc. Several of these are forecast to increase in frequency and severity given current anthropogenic climate change, as widely discussed by organisations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [more]

Flora and Fauna in the Afterlife: Japanese Decorated Tombs and their Symbolism

Claudia Zancan specialises in the art and archaeology of Japan, particularly in the funerary art of the decorated tombs of Northern Kyūshū. Her fields of research include: Kofun period, iconography and iconology in Kyūshū decorated tombs, Yellow Sea interactions, identity, style, symbolism, social meaning of pre-protohistoric visual art, and hybridization theory. [more]

Long-term sea-level commitment and reversibility of ice loss from Antarctica

The evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet is of vital importance given the coastal and societal implications of ice loss, with a potential to raise sea level by up to 58 m if melted entirely. However, future ice-sheet trajectories remain highly uncertain. In fact, current estimates range from a slight mass gain to a mass loss of the Antarctic Ice Sheet by the end of this century. What is more, due to ice-sheet inertia and potentially self-sustained mass loss when exceeding critical thresholds or tipping points, the bulk of sea-level rise is expected to arise beyond the end of this century as sea-level commitment. Here, we systematically assess this long-term committed sea-level contribution from the Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to warming projected over the next centuries under lower- and higher-emission pathways, as well as the reversibility of the committed large-scale ice-sheet changes when reducing warming to relatively colder climate conditions. [more]

Human evolution of, in and beyond the Anthropocene

Modern ecological crises can be seen as resulting from human social and technological evolution. However, research on human evolution is not sufficiently developed to address global environmental issues or our species’ future on Earth. Theories of human evolution are numerous, poorly integrated, and are fractioned within subdisciplines. Human evolution can be better understood with a set of simple principles from current research in human sociality, cultural evolution, and group interactions. From these I sketch an integrated theory of long-term human evolution that provides a logical and testable pattern of change across the span of our species existence and integrates contrasting theories in anthropology and biology. This theory, and the principles on which it builds, can be used to address our current ecological crises more effectively. I propose a global research agenda of applied cultural evolution for beneficial social change and analyze the example of cultural adaptation to climate change. I review open questions and ethical issues in this line of inquiry. Finally, I issue an urgent call for help in developing applied evolutionary research for addressing human sustainability on our finite planet. [more]

Exhibition: Let's talk about inclusive language

The exhibition takes visitors through the historical evolution of inclusive language in Germany. It aims to ignite discussion and offers solutions in the German context. It also delves into how other languages have tackled the same challenges, enriching your understanding of inclusive language across cultures. Brought to you by the Equal Opportunity Office at the Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology, it opens on 8 March 2024 as part of International Women’s Day. [more]
Because they offer deep temporal perspectives, the historical and archaeological records of past cities have potential to make a unique contribution to understanding of urban resilience and urban adaptations to climate change today. I single out two approaches that illustrate the potentials and pitfalls of this kind of past-to-present transfer of knowledge: shocks and persistence. The responses of urban residents and institutions to diverse types of shock is a kind of specified resilience (i.e., resilience to what, who, when, and where), whereas the temporal fates of cities over time—persistence—provides insights on the general resilience of early cities. I explore reasons for the great difficulty in applying past knowledge to contemporary urban settings, particularly the near-complete disjunction between research on past resilience and research on past urbanism. [more]

Genealogies of Anthropocentrism

How did we end up in the Anthropocene? In the human and social sciences, a growing consensus holds anthropocentrism responsible for setting human societies and the Earth System onto a collision course, typically defining anthropocentrism as human exceptionalism in viewing nature and other lifeforms as objects of human mastery and means to human ends. The nature of anthropocentrism and its exact role in driving the Anthropocene are, however, seldom subjected to thorough research. [more]
The conference aims to explore what we know and what we would like to know about cultural dynamics and human-environment interactions in ancient Central Asia and Mongolia. The cross-disciplinary event will bring together local and international scholars with expertise in archaeology, archaeobotany, and palaeoenvironmental sciences in Central Asia and adjacent regions. It will be an excellent venue to present and exchange new research results and to encourage new research projects. [more]
Go to Editor View