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From Fossils to the Genome: the 150th Anniversary of the naming of Homo neanderthalensis

by Ed Hagen last modified Mar 26, 2014 11:12 PM
Abstract submission deadline Tuesday 15th April. In 2014. The National University of Ireland Galway plans to mark the sesquicentennial anniversary of the naming of neanderthal people by William King, with a special international symposium. King was Professor of Geology in Queen's College Galway (as the university was then known) at the time he published his idea.


King initially proposed the name Homo neanderthalensis, at the 1863 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, for fossil human remains discovered in a cave in the Neander Valley of Germany seven years previously. His idea was based on careful examination of a plaster replica of the Neander fossil skull and it was published the following year (1864). This suggestion was both extraordinary and revolutionary for its time. Darwin’s masterpiece ‘Origin of Species’ had been published just a few short years beforehand. To his lasting credit, William King remains the first scientist to name a new and extinct species of human.

The Galway symposium is intended as a celebration of Neanderthal research in general and also a fitting tribute to a geoscientist who made an important contribution to palaeoanthropology, at a time when it was still very much in its infancy.

The meeting will take place from the *23rd – 25th May 2014 in NUI Galway, Ireland*, and will be attended by the great grand-daughter of William King, who is looking forward to meeting the scientists currently investigating and researching Neanderthal people work which her great grandfather immersed himself in a century and a half ago.

Submission of abstracts for oral and/or poster presentations are welcome from anyone working in the broad area of Neanderthal research, including palaeontology, systematics, palaeoanthropology, palaeoecology, lithic technology, archaeology, ancient DNA and human genome evolution. Talks dealing with wider issues of human evolution and the history of research on human evolution will also be considered. There is a call for papers under the following themes:

• The scientific contributions of William King
• Neanderthal palaeoecology & palaeoanthropology
• Palaeolithic to Mesolithic technologies
• Plio-Pieistocene palaeoenvironments, stratigraphy, archaeology & human evolution
• Ancient DNA (including non-human species)
• Human genome evolution
• History of research on human origins



Fieldtrips: Pre and post conference fieldtrips will be organised to sites of archaeological and geological interest in the west of Ireland.

For more information please see or email

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