PLAYA VISTA, Calif., Sept. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wallis Annenberg PetSpace™ today announced the launch of its public workshop series "Animal Matters," featuring top experts in human-animal studies. Approximately 68% of homes in the USA include a pet, and dogs and cats are the #1 and #2 most Googled topics on animals, yet there is no public forum to discuss the science behind the human-animal relationship. With its core mission to strengthen and celebrate the human-animal bond with the broader public, this inaugural lecture will be held on September 21st at 7PM at Wallis Annenberg PetSpace. Cost to attend is $25. The panel discussion will be live streamed via YouTube for those not local to Los Angeles.
The panel of experts includes Dr. Greger Larson, who studies the origins of animal domestication. Dr. Eric Strauss specializes in the human-animal interface in urban settings. Dr. Naomi Sykes studies the changing relationships between humans and animals through time. Each will present new directions in research and understanding regarding the human-dog relationship, and conclude with an audience Q&A.
The panelists will cover the fascinating subject "Everything (we wish we knew) about dogs and people." The addition of pets as family members in urban homes seems totally natural to us today, and yet it is a very recent phenomenon. These three distinguished scholars will discuss and answer questions about how little we really know about the history and evolution of dogs and humans together.
Greger Larson, Director, Paleogenomics and Bio-Archeology Research Network, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford received his bachelor's degree in 1996 from Claremont McKenna College, and studied at Oxford and the University of Colorado before receiving his Ph.D. in Zoology in 2006. Dr. Larson has recently moved to Oxford University to become the Director of the Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archeology Research Network, where he is continuing his focus on the use of ancient DNA to study the pattern and process of domestication. He has said, "By using two levels of biological organization (the genome and the size and the shape), we are starting to infer the general pattern of what happened … how wolves became dogs. And armed with that information, we are trying to work out the process, which is how did that whole process actually take place?" His work has been featured in the NY Times, Science Magazine, and in WAMC's Academic Minute.
Eric Strauss, President's Professor of Biology, Executive Director, LMU center for Urban Resilience, Loyola Marymount University serves as President's Professor of Biology at Loyola Marymount University and executive director of the LMU Center for Urban Resilience (CURes). His research includes collaborative long-term studies of coyotes, white tailed deer, crows, turtles, and other vertebrates, and the appropriate management responses to wildlife problems and zoonotic disease. Dr. Strauss has stated, "There are very fundamental questions that we haven't even begun to approach in our understanding of animals. What are the attitudes that people have about their pets? What draws them to their pets? And how does this change throughout their lifetime? And this is central to creating this healthy relationship which becomes a human-animal bond, and leads to healthy communities." He has co-written multi-media textbooks in biology and urban ecology as well as hosting multiple video series on the life sciences and ecology. Dr. Strauss received his B.S. in Mass Communication from Emerson College and Ph.D. in Biology from Tufts University, The University of Massachusetts Boston, and Boston College.
Naomi Sykes, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham has multiple degrees at the Institute of Archaeology (London) and received her Ph.D from the University of Southampton before taking a lectureship at Cardiff (Wales). Her research focusses on the global dynamics, cultural meaning and impact of human-animal-environment interactions over the last 10,000 years. She has said, "If you want to understand people, look to their relationship with animals. Pet keeping as we know it is not a universal of human societies and, by examining changing attitudes to companion animals, we can learn a lot about ourselves." Her work includes "Beastly Questions: Animal Answers to Archaeological Issues," and she has been featured in the Washington Post.
Each panelist is a Fellow of the Wallis Anneneberg PetSpace Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute was created to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary scholarship, high-level policy discourse, and public education on the relationship between human beings and their domestic animals. Each Fellow comes from a varied background, including veterinary medicine, sociology, cognitive science, zoology, animal behavior, history, genomics, and urban ecology, and more, and will shape the Annenberg PetSpace programming.
About Annenberg PetSpace
Annenberg PetSpace, opened June 24th, 2017, is the first destination of its kind with a combined focus on pet adoption, education, and thought leadership. At Annenberg PetSpace, pet lovers of all ages can play, adopt, learn and grow. Upcoming programs include National Guide Dog Month Special Happening with Melissa Billingsley, RVT who is a Canine Companions for Independence Puppy Raiser and hearing dog recipient. October events include a pet photography workshop with Michael Brian Photography, and the sophomore Animal Matters Lecture with expert dog trainer Joel Silverman, "The Art of Dog Training". Demos and Happenings occur daily. Learn more at https://annenbergpetspace.org/events .
For information on adoption, volunteering, programs, hours, and more, visit annenbergpetspace.org. The mobile app is also now available on the iTunes App Store; Android App launches in Q3 of 2017.
Contact for Wallis Annenberg PetSpace:
Jan Sarah Sink, Annenberg PetSpace Digital Marketing Coordinator
(424) 384-1801 x 2006
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