Findings About Homo Erectus Overturn Prior Thinking About Human Brain Evolution


Between 900,000 and 1.8 million years ago, Homo erectus made an evolutionary leap to develop brains closer in size to the large brains of modern-day man at birth.

Paleontologist Scott Simpson, professor of anatomy at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, is the lead author of research describing a nearly complete female of a 1.2 million-year-old H. erectus pelvic fossils found in the region of Gona, Ethiopia.

Simpson along with Jay Quade (University of Arizona), Naomi Levin (University of Utah/California Institute of Technology), Robert Butler (University of Portland), Guillaume Dupont-Nivet (Utrecht University) and Melanie Everett and Sileshi Semaw (Stone Institute) describe the importance of this pelvis in the article, "A Female Homo erectus Pelvis from Gona, Ethiopia," in the current issue of Science.

Making obstetrical measurements and comparing them to prior published specimens, Simpson determined that the birth canal in the pelvis had adapted to deliver a baby with a brain almost comparable to a modern-day baby at about 36 weeks and weighing approximately four pounds. Read more.

Case Western Reserve University's Alumni House Receives 2008 Ohio Historic Preservation Merit Award


The Ohio Historical Society presented Case Western Reserve University, Richard L. Bowen + Associates and Marous Brothers Construction its 2008 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award of Merit for the rehabilitation and adaptive use of the 1911 Chamberlain House, at 11310 Juniper Rd. in Cleveland. It is now the Case Western Reserve University Alumni House.

The award was presented earlier this month by Ohio Historical Society Executive Director William Laidlaw, a Case Western Reserve graduate and former interim dean of the university's Weatherhead School of Management.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Alumni House was John A. Massie (CIT '66), Alumni House project consultant for the university's alumni relations office. In accepting the award, Massie noted that in addition to preserving the historic character of the house itself, the Alumni House project has provided a suitable home for many historic artifacts and memorabilia celebrating the nearly 200 year history of the university. Read more.

Campus News

The campus community is invited to attend a program of music and reminiscences at 4:30 p.m., Friday, November 14, in Rockefeller, Room 301, to honor the memory of Stefan Machlup, associate professor emeritus of physics. Machlup died last August. Following the performances there will be a brief discussion of Machlup's physics career and a film clip of him playing his cello accompanied by the late "Doc Oc" (Ignacio Ocasio).

The Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences is hosting an information session from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 19, at the school. The community is invited to learn about social work degrees from one of the highest-ranked graduate social work programs in the nation. The session will focus on the master's program, field education and financial aid. Go to the school's Web site or call 368-2290 for details.

"Human Subjects Protection and Data Privacy in PBRN Research" with Barbara Daly, professor and director of the Clinical Ethics Program at University Hospitals, takes place from 6-7 p.m. this evening at the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Building, first floor conference room. The free lecture will cover IRB, HIPAA and ethical and practical issues in practice-based research networks (PBRNs). Dinner will be provided. Free parking is available in the attached garage. CREC credits are available to attendees. Learn more.

For Faculty and Staff

Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder and Provost W.A. "Bud" Baeslack will host a Faculty and Staff Holiday Open House from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Friday, December 12, in Adelbert Hall. Additional information with RSVP instructions are forthcoming.

For Students

Unite for Sight is hosting its inaugural benefit dinner at 7 p.m., Tuesday, November 18, in Thwing Center ballroom. Guest speakers will include physicians from University Hospitals, speaking on the importance of eye health. Tickets are on sale this week in Nord Hall and on the day of the event for $5. Several math and chemistry professors have offered to provide additional assistance for anyone who attends. Contact Monique Farone for details.

The University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE) and the Office of Greek Life are sponsoring a faculty-student panel discussion on the topic of "Is Four Years and One Major Enough?" from 12:30-1:45 p.m., Friday, November 14, in Clapp Hall, Room 108. Topics that will be discussed include: Why are so many students trying to obtain double majors or dual degrees? Is it driven by intrinsic needs or by peer pressure? What should be the optimum number of credits per semester? Is the idea of a four-year degree becoming unrealistic? The discussion will be moderated by Provost W. A. 'Bud' Baeslack III. Pizza and sodas will be served. No prior registration is required.

Undergraduates who were invited to join the Case Chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society should submit the membership form and fee by November 16. Contact Erica Hoffman with questions.


The next Friday Public Affairs Discussion Group will feature the topic "Charging for Car Insurance by the Mile: Good Business and Good for Energy and the Environment?" with Richard Hutchinson of Progressive Insurance. Discussion begins at 12:30 p.m., Friday, November 14, at the Inamori Center in Crawford Hall.


Eldred Theater presents Crimes of the Heart, a Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy concerning three sisters surviving crisis after crisis in a small Mississippi town. The play won the 1981 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New American Play, a Guggenheim Award and garnered a Tony nomination. Directed by Catherine Albers. Performances are November 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. and November 16 and 23 at 2:30 p.m.

The Rethinking Urban History: Technology, Environments and Politics symposium begins at 7:30 p.m.this evening in Ford Auditorium. The symposium, organized by the Department of History, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Society for the History of Technology at Case Western Reserve. Questions should be directed to Kalli Vimr.

The Department of Astronomy is co-sponsoring the 2008-09 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series. Alan Marscher of Boston University will speak on the topic of "Jets from Black Holes in Quasars" at 8 p.m. tonight.

The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

November 13, 2008

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Charity Choice 2008


Members of the university community can contribute to the Charity Choice Campaign online or print out a pledge form and return it by mail. The active campaign continues through December 31, 2008. Additional information about the organizations and the program is available on the Charity Choice Campaign 2008 Web site.

Case in the News

G.M.'s troubles stir question of bankruptcy vs. a bailout

New York Times, November 13, 2008
Momentum is building in Washington for a rescue package for the auto industry to head off a possible bankruptcy filing by General Motors, which is rapidly running low on cash. But not everyone agrees that a Chapter 11 filing by G.M. would be the disaster that many fear. Susan R. Helper, a professor of regional economic development at Case Western Reserve University, comments. Related article.

Case Western Reserve sports news and notes

The Plain Dealer, November 12, 2008
For the second time in her career as head men's and women's cross country coach at Case Western Reserve University, Kathy Lanese has been named University Athletic Association Coach of the Year. Lanese shares this year's honor with Assistant Coach Tim Barnes. In other sports news, the number 11/12-ranked Case Western Reserve football team earned two University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week honors in week nine of their season; and the Spartan wrestling team had an AOW in week one of its season. Junior quarterback Dan Whalen won the co-offensive award, and junior defensive back Bobby Bott claimed the defensive honors. Freshman wrestler Issac Dukes brought home his first UAA honor.

The greatness of Les Paul

Akron Beacon Journal, November 12, 2008
Les Paul is a true living legend. The 93-year-old is an iconic musician and inventor enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005. This week, the rock hall is focusing its annual American Music Masters series on Paul with a series of events culminating in a tribute concert Saturday at the State Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. A Rock and Roll Retrospective will be held this Saturday at Case Western Reserve University's Wolstein Auditorium. Related article.

Higher Ed News

Internships, study abroad, community service enhance learning

USA TODAY, November 11, 2008
Educators often refer to internships and study abroad options as "high-impact activities" which stimulate and sustain the active learning that distinguishes highly engaged undergraduates. Schools that successfully encourage high-impact activities win kudos from the National Survey of Student Engagement.