The Stone Age Institute
has been awarded a
$3.2 million research grant by the
John Templeton Foundation

JTF logo

We are very happy to announce that the Stone Age Institute was just approved for a $3.2 million dollar research grant from the John Templeton Foundation for our project “What Drives Human Cognitive Evolution?” to explore the driving forces in the evolution of hominin cognition. The principal investigators are Nicholas Toth and Kathy Schick (Stone Age Institute/Cognitive Science), Tom Schoenemann (Anthropology/SAI/Cognitive Science), Colin Allen (Cognitive Science/History and Philosophy of Science), and Peter Todd (Cognitive Science/Psychological and Brain Sciences).

John Templeton Foundation award research team
Templeton research grant team: (clockwise from lower left) Tom Schoenemann, Peter Todd, Colin Allen, Kathy Schick, Nicholas Toth, and in the center is a neanderthal skeleton cast.

This three-year grant’s funding will include:

  • A new focus on human evolution in the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, including a weekly seminar, and a distinguished visiting lectureship series (at least six visitor lectures per year);
  • Three new five-year graduate fellowships in Cognitive Science at Indiana University: this will be a great recruiting tool for the program;
  • Archaeological research and science outreach in Tanzania (the site of Olduvai Gorge, with Jackson Njau, IU Geological Sciences), the Republic of Georgia (the site of Dmanisi, with David Lordkipanidze of the Georgian National Museum), and China (the Nihewan Basin, with Gao Xing of the Institute of Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing and Xie Fei of the Hebei Province Archaeological Institute); all of these localities have sites between 2.0 and 1.3 million years ago, with simple (Oldowan) stone tools and documenting some of the earliest evidence of brain expansion in early Homo; we have strong ties with each project;
  • Experimental projects on stone tool skill acquisition and brain imaging (fMRI);
  • Four workshops (each a week-long, spanning the three years of the grant) in Tanzania, Republic of Georgia, China, and a final one at the Stone Age Institute to discuss hominin cognitive evolution, examine excavated materials, and visit prehistoric localities. This will involve participants from the United States, Tanzania, Republic of Georgia, and China;
  • The development of an educational website on the Evolution of Human Cognition including archaeology, paleoneurology (brain endocasts) and comparative primatology;
  • An edited volume on the Evolution of Human Cognition to be published by the Stone Age Institute Press.
  • A new focus on human evolution in the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, including a weekly seminar, and a distinguished visiting lectureship series (at least six visitor lectures per year);
  • Will fund science education (teacher training, student field trips to museums and prehistoric sites, enhancement of comparative collections and exhibits) in Tanzania, the Republic of Georgia, and China.

This is one of the largest grants ever awarded in the history of human origins research.


"It's a unique opportunity to address the question of what drives human cognitive evolution with a strong international component and a multi-disciplinary component as well." - Nick Toth

 

The Stone Age Institute is a federally-approved non-profit 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Contributions to the Stone Age Institute are tax deductible, subject to federal and state guidelines. The Stone Age Institute Federal Tax Identification Number is 35-2112461.

 

 

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