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Posted on: Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Creature from Planet X – an anatomist looks at science fiction

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Creature from Planet X

Creature from Planet X

The final lecture in the GIPCA Great Texts / Big Questions series will be held at UCT’s Hiddingh Hall at 5pm on Thursday, October 28th.  Entitled ‘The Creature from Planet X: an anatomist looks at science fiction’, Professor Alan Morris of the University of Cape Towns Department of Human Biology will give a lecture exploring how science fiction movies (think Avatar) paint a picture of what is a very possible reality.

Professor Morris who practices as a professional archaeologist in the excavation of human remains describes himself as a ‘self-confessed science fiction special effects junky’.  The movie Avatar had a huge effect on Prof Morris because the ‘writer and director of the movie not only created a world of weird creatures but obeyed the laws of comparative anatomy’.

In his lecture Professor Morris will examine the rules of comparative anatomy and how they make an imaginary world come alive.  He says we have yet to discover another planet with life on it but when we do it is likely that we will be able to predict the pattern of that life.  According to Professor Morris the best of science fiction recognises this and paints us a picture of possible reality, not just glitzy monsters.

Morris has published extensively on the origin of anatomically modern humans and the Later Stone Age, Iron Age and historic populations of Malawi, Namibia and South Africa.  He has also published on the history of race classification and of physical anthropology in South Africa and on the Canadian involvement in the Anglo-Boer War.  He has been an advisor to the Departments of Forensic Medicine at the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch in cases where only osteological remains are present and the identification of the individual is uncertain.

Where & Where?
Hiddingh Hall, UCT, Rondebosch, Cape Town
This lecture is free of charge and is open to the public.

Please call +27 (0)21 480-7156 if you require additional information.

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