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Biologist to discuss issues surrounding fossil energy dependence during ‘Thursdays at the U’

Dr. Jane Shoup

Dr. Jane Shoup

Homo sapiens — very clever, but seldom wise — has evolved with a Stone Age brain inherited from our ancestors on the African savanna. In the last 200 years, we have discovered and exploited, in our cleverness, a one-time bonanza of cheap, stored fossil energy upon which we have become almost totally dependent.

Dr. Jane Shoup will present “Homo sapiens: Hitchhiking toward sapience” April 18 for UW-Eau Claire – Barron County's "Thursdays at the U" lecture and performance series. The event will be from noon-1 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234, Ritzinger Hall) on the Rice Lake campus, 1800 College Drive.

Shoup contends that humans have succumbed to expectations of inevitable, never-ending progress. But it is a tragic delusion to assume that growth — on a finite planet — can continue inevitably.

Shoup is a professor emerita of biological sciences at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana, where she taught for 33 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Rochester and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Chicago.

In retirement, she and her husband, Stefan, live in a solar house in northeast Wisconsin. Shoup has recently presented a number of classes for the LIFE (Learning Is ForEver) program at UW-Stevens Point, including “Darwin and His ‘Dangerous’ Idea”; “An Ecolate View of the Human Predicament”; “Learning to Live within Limits”; “The Sixth Mass (Anthropocene) Extinction”; and “A Journey through Time: Running the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.”

For more information about "Thursdays at the U," contact Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, professor emeritus of psychology, UW Colleges, at or 715-788-6216.