The COE international Symposium,
November 1999, "Evolution of the Apes and the Origin of
Human Beings" is held in Inuyama, Japan, under the auspices
of Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture. The symposium
has two satellite meetings of SAGA (Support for African/Asian
Great Apes) and CBSG (Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
for bonobos). It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you to
Inuyama for this very special event. This symposium might be
the first truly worldwide meeting on the Apes and Human Beings
in the primatology and anthropology spheres at the end of the
Japan is a special country because
it has an indigenous primate species (Macaca fuscata), known
as snow monkeys, and there are also many primatologists. Japanese
primatologists led by the late Imanishi started the study on
wild Japanese monkeys living in Koshima island in 1948. With
the accumulation of knowledge on wild Japanese monkeys, Imanishi
and his colleagues first stepped into Africa in 1958 and started
the socio-ecological study of African great apes. The long term
studies on chimpanzees and bonobos continues in Mahale, Bossou,
Wamba, and the other several research sites.
In addition to the socio-ecological studies, various disciplines
have contributed for the study of living and fossil primates.
The purpose of this symposium is threefold. Firstly, it aims
to combine the various disciplines such as Ecology, Sociology,
Ethology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Molecular Biology, Physical
Anthropology, and Paleontology to illuminate the evolution of
the apes and the origin of human beings. Secondly, it aims to
provide a rare opportunity for exchange of information and discussion
among leading scientists from various disciplines with Primatology.
Thirdly, it aims to promote future scientific collaboration between
Japanese and other researchers of apes and humans from around
the world. Participants will have the presentation describing
her/his major research topic reviewing past and present trends
plus her/his thoughts about its future directions.
Recent fossil findings of the
Australopithecines suggest that they are more similar to living
apes than to modern humans with regards to skeletal features.
The early hominids exhibit a high degree of sexual dimorphism
in body size with a large face and relatively small brain. Recent
molecular biological studies have also shown that the living
apes are very close to humans. Several million years ago, the
early hominids differentiated from a common ancestor of the African
great apes. Lithic technology and the genus Homo are estimated
to have emerged around 2 to 2.5 million years ago. Given these
findings, the time is now ripe to reconsider the evolution of
human sociality, culture, cognition, and behavior.
A key focus of the symposium will
be to bring together the results from long-term laboratory and
field research. From this we wish to reconfirm what we have learned
about the apes through our collective long-term experience with
them. The symposium will consist of three major topics: "ape
social systems and culture", "cognition and behavior",
and "evolutionary anthropology". To be held in conjunction
with the COE symposium are two satellite meetings, SAGA2 and
CBSG. All participants are welcome to join these satellite meetings
to be held before and after to the main COE symposium. The symposia
are open to attendance by all interested international scientists.
At the time of the meetings, Japan is especially attractive,
with clear blue sky, pleasant temperature, and autumn leaves.
We, the organizers of the COE
symposium welcome you to Inuyama, and hope you enjoy this meeting.
COE International Symposium, November1999
Copyright (C) 1999 COE International Symposium