The Origins of the Brain : From Mammal-Like Reptiles to Humans

Wednesday 21 September 2016, 09:00 –14:45

Conference with our new CNRS-Researcher, Laurent Bruxelles


VENUE: Cate Druce Lecture Room,

Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI), Wits University




09:00 – Welcome, Professor Peter Vale (JIAS )

09:10 – Chairperson, Professor Francis Thackeray

(ESI, Wits; President, RSSAf)

09:15 – Emeritus Professor John Parkington (UCT)

The human brain and symptoms of modernity

09:45 – Professor Jose Braga (University of Toulouse) and

Professor Francis Thackeray (ESI, Wits)

Language and the brains of “Mrs Ples” and Homo habilis:

A tribute to the late Professor Phillip Tobias




10:45 – Dr Amélie Beaudet (University of Pretoria)

Hominin brain evolution: extracting paleoneurological

evidence from the fossil record

11:15 – Dr Julian Benoit (ESI, Wits)

The brain and sense organs in therapsids

(“mammal-like reptiles”), 200-260 million years old


12:00 LUNCH


13:30 – Prof Paul Manger (School of Anatomical Science, Wits)

The Five Evolutions of Large Brains in Mammals –

humans, elephants, cetaceans, seals and camels


14:00 –14:45 DISCUSSION




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