The Center for Human Evolutionary Studies is an interdisciplinary research Center dedicated to promoting the discovery, teaching, and public dissemination of knowledge on the origin, evolution, and history of humanity in the broadest sense. Currently, CHES comprises faculty and graduate student members and affiliates across SAS and SEBS. It is the intellectual home to a diverse team of internationally recognized scientists devoted to expanding our understanding of human evolution through research, education, and outreach. Our strengths lie in our multidisciplinary approach to study of human evolution, our distinguished faculty and research associates, and our highly competitive graduate and undergraduate students, including a number of foreign students from countries in which some of our research projects are based. We also enjoy privileged access to some of the world’s premier fossil localities for the investigation of the fossilized remains and archaeological traces of our early human ancestors.
Our primary mission at the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies is to promote and support innovative and broad ranging faculty and student research that is grounded in evolutionary theory and explores the past and present of what it means to be human. We engage in discovery, education, and public dissemination of knowledge on the origin, evolution, and biological and ecological bases of human behavior. Annual awards are made to help fund top student and faculty research in paleoanthropology, archaeology, non-human primate behavioral ecology, genetics, and modern human behavior across the globe.
At Home at Rutgers
As a top-ranked public research university, Rutgers is unique in housing a center with strengths in all aspects of human evolutionary studies. The university’s commitment to the center’s multidisciplinary explorations of human evolution is demonstrated through its strong support of the center’s research and training programs in five areas within paleoanthropology and the biological study of modern humans and other primates:
- Prehistoric Archaeology
- Hominin Paleontology
- Paleoenvironmental and Paleoecological studies
- Biological basis of human behavior
CHES research has major implications for understanding the roots of humanity and for defining what it means to be human. Our investigation of ancient human ancestors and our closest living relatives are teaching us when and why our distinctive anatomical and behavioral traits evolved. Our studies of modern humans are demonstrating the biological basis of the complex patterns of social behavior we exhibit.
It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing in the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved. -- Charles Darwin