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Darwin Day - Timothy Bromage on Teeth and Their Evolutionary Significance

Teeth Are Now Giving The Orders: Darwinian Selection For Biological Rhythms And Your Life History Is All About To Change


Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:00 PM

Baruch Performing Arts Center, 17 Lexington Ave, Room 306 (The “Skylight Room”), NY

General admission: $5, free for NYCS members. Bitcoin accepted. You can register here or on site.

Timothy BromageNYU School of Dentistry Professor Timothy Bromage, Ph.D., demonstrates how the evolution of teeth plays an important role in shaping human life.

The adaptation shared by all light-sensitive organisms is the to and fro of their biology in phase with daily astronomical rhythms (e..g., oscillations of metabolism, physiology, behavior), manifesting as circadian rhythms. Dental hard tissues reflect these cycles, but unbeknownst to most people is that they also provide longer periodic signals. The genomics of daily biological rhythms has in recent decades received much attention, but surprisingly little is known of long period rhythms for which the teeth, it turns out, are the story tellers. But more than the story, more than just instructions, teeth reflect strict commands handed down from the genome that define how life is and works; everything from the size of a kidney to lifespan, and everything in between. 

Professor Bromage directs the Hard Tissue Research Unit (HTRU), a mineralized tissue preparation and imaging technology development laboratory of the Department of Biomaterials and Biomimetics, NYUCD. Recently, he has reported on a hitherto unrecognized chronobiological rhythm in bone microstructure that corresponds to a previously observed but enigmatic enamel formation rhythm in mammals, establishing the basis for understanding how chronobiology and organismal life history evolution are integrated.

Professor Bromage supplements laboratory research with African Late Pliocene paleontological fieldwork of significance to human evolutionary research, the surveys of which have recovered the oldest known representative of the human genus, Homo rudolfensis, 2.4 Ma, as well as its contemporary, Paranthropus boisei, from the shores of Lake Malawi. Fieldwork on Late Pleistocene pygmy elephant and pygmy hippopotamus localities in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are also ongoing, which provides a natural experiment of relevance to interpretations of modern human dental reduction.

Professor Bromage is recipient of the 2010 Max Planck Prize in the Life Sciences (paleobiomics; emphasis in Human Evolution), is Honorary Professor of La Salle University, Madrid, Spain, and is Honorary Research Fellow of the Department of Paleoanthropology, Senckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.


Michael Shermer

THE MORAL ARC: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom

When: Tuesday January 20, 2014 @ 7PM

Where: NYU Dental School, 345 E. 24th St. at the corner of 1st. Av. Nagle Auditorium, 6th floor.

General Admission: $15; NYC Skeptics members: $5. Bitcoin accepted. REGISTER NOW!

Bestselling author Michael Shermer demonstrates how abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, skepticism—scientific ways of thinking—have made people, and society as a whole, more moral.

Shermer describes an ever-expanding “moral sphere,” in which more members of our species (and now even other species) are seen as legitimate participants in the moral community. Over time, we no longer only consider the well-being of ourselves, our family, extended family, and local community; rather, our consideration now extends to people quite unlike ourselves, with whom we gladly trade goods and ideas and exchange sentiments and genes rather than beating, enslaving, or killing them.

Touching on religion, human rights, feminism, the legal system, gay rights, and even animal rights, Shermer leaves no stone unturned to show how science has fostered and will continue to foster morality in every aspect of modern life.

Michael Shermer is the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and eight other books on the history and evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. He lives in Southern California.

There will be a social gathering after the event. Time and location TBD.


December Discussion Dinner: “Should we tell children there is no Santa Claus?”

Join us for this month's discussion on whether we should tell children there is no Santa Claus with Guest Moderator Peter Meiland, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychologist) 

The Santa Claus myth is a myth, but it is a harmless one.  Kids need a Santa Claus.  It might help them.  There are many other forms of lying to kids that are harmful.  And remember, sometimes the truth is harmful.  It depends on the context.  Finally, children don’t graduate from mythical thinking to clear and rational belief systems, they cling to fantasy-based ways of experiencing their lives.  Therefore, adults also cling to the fantasies and myths of their own lives, and no amount of truth and realism will change this very much.  Sometimes a good thing, sometimes not. More on this here... 

For more inforemation and to register please visit our Meetup page. If you are not a Meetup member and do not want to join, please email us at

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