The Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) was established in a collaboration between faculty at UC San Diego and at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, along with some interested scientists at other institutions. CARTA was established as a UC San Diego recognized Organized Research Unit (ORU) in January 2008.
CARTA is a virtual organization formed in order to promote transdisciplinary research into human origins, drawing on methods from a number of traditional disciplines spanning the humanities, social, biomedical, biological, computational & engineering and physical & chemical sciences.
Major Interest Areas
The goals of CARTA are essentially scholarly, with an emphasis on minimization of unnecessary organizational structures, hierarchies, paperwork and bureaucracy. The major interests of the group are:
- Identifying and explaining structural and molecular differences between humans and members of the genetically-related hominid family of “great apes”.
- Defining and explaining the evolutionary origins of humans (e.g., understanding the events of the last 15 million years of great ape and human evolution).
- Identifying human functional specializations relative to other hominids and explaining genetic and biological mechanisms involved in generating these specializations.
- Identifying and explaining the external mechanisms (environmental, cultural, etc.) affecting the expression of these human functional specializations.
- Based on all of the above, generating testable hypotheses and new research agendas.