The journal Human Evolution (Pontecorboli Press) launches “Human Evolution 5.0” – a new Section dedicated to the interface between technologies and human evolution

Since the Australopithecus afarensis widely-known as “Lucy” was discovered back in 1974, the study of human evolution has undergone many different changes and shifts highlighting new insights on our past.  In fact, while the stereotypical image of the anthropologist in khaki outfit looking for fossils in a remote dusty area is still standing, the contemporary work of an anthropologist encompasses the utilization of a wide variety of new technologies as well as the study of the interactions between these new technologies and the socio-cultural-biological systems related to human beings. 

In fact, with the advent of Technologies 4.0, anthropologists as well as other scientists have been increasingly applying technologies towards studying both fossil specimens and extant primate species (e.g., Gundling, 2010). Among the new developments, we draw attention to the innovative techniques in modern and ancient DNA analysis (e.g., Rogers & Gibbs, 2014), the employment of 3D-Scanning and 3D-Printing (e.g., Martin, 2021; Walker & Humphries, 2019), the application of computed tomography (e.g., Bernardini et al., 2012) as well as the utilization of geotechnologies towards, inter alia, identifying fossils and non-human primates (e.g., d’Oliveira Coelho, Anemone & Carvalho, 2021; Bergl et al., 2012). The employment of these technologies has allowed for important discoveries in understanding socio-cultural and biological trends in human evolution. 

At the same time, anthropologists are also confronted with the influence of these new technologies on human beings with respect to the impacts on human social behavior and social organizations (e.g., Tuniz & Tiberi Vipraio, 2020) as well as on possible natural evolutionary trends through the so-called “human enhancement” (see e.g., Almeda & Diogo, 2019). These issues are also inducing discussions on ethical debates on the meaning of being “human” in this century, for instance within the context of “Life 3.0” (sensu Tegmark, 2017). 

However, while these developments have been acknowledged in different articles and news-pieces as well as through UNESCO initiatives and normative work, scientific journals have not really provided a dedicated space for the publication of studies on how field of human evolution is changing in light of the application of  Technologies 4.0 and how evolutionary patterns themselves are being impacted by such technologies within the framework of socio-cultural-biological systems. 

The international scientific journal Human Evolution – a scientific journal (Pontecorboli Press) stemming from a long tradition of publications on anthropological research – encompasses a record of different developments in the anthropological sciences with a particular focus on human evolution. However, since its launch in 1969, the focus and works of anthropologists have changed radically, also through the application and impact of new technologies; hence, the journal Human Evolution through its new Section “Human Evolution 5.0” intends to provide such a venue allowing  scholars to specifically address the interface between technological innovation and human evolution, in all its aspects and dimensions, with the ultimate goal to provide a frame for the study of “Human Evolution 5.0”. 

In particular, the Section – edited by Dr Lucilla Spini – is calling for contributions from anthropologists as well as from other scholars and/or practitioners in social, natural and engineering sciences and in the humanities fields. The contributions may be related to the following thematic streams:  

1. The impact of new technologies (e.g., 3D-Printing, Ancient DNA, and computed tomography) in conducting research on human evolution;

2. The possible roles of technologies (e.g., gene editing and social robots) in altering the natural evolutionary trends in humans and in affecting human behavior and social organizations;

3. New and old concepts related to human evolution (e.g., “Life 3.0”), also with respect to current debates in “evolutionary robotics” (e.g., Harvey, Husbands, Cliff, Thompson & Jakobi, 1997) and “digital evolution” (e.g., Lehman, Clune & Misevic, 2020).

Contributions can be submitted as research articles (7,000-8,000 words), commentary to a published article (2,000-3,000 words), book reviews (2,000-3,000 words), as well as interviews (2,000-3,000 words).  Information on the section including “Guidelines for Authors” can be found on the website of the journal Human Evolution and/or can be requested by e-mail at 

Refences cited quoted in:  Spini, L. (2022). Human Evolution 5.0: A new section in Human Evolution. Human Evolution, 37(1-2), 95-98. Retrieved from 


Dr. Lucilla Spini is a biological anthropologist with expertise in sustainability, stakeholder engagement, and gender mainstreaming. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Spini has held various positions within the UN System (e.g., UNESCO and FAO) and international NGOs. She has contributed to international negotiations on environmental challenges and sustainable development (e.g., 2030 Agenda), managed sustainability initiatives, and contributed to scientific publications and UN Reports (e.g., Global Sustainable Development Report). Dr. Spini has also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Waterloo and as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University. She has been a Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in Sustainability Science at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a Policy Leader Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance of the European University Institute. Dr. Spini holds a B.A. (Honors) in anthropology from New York University (NYU), a Laurea in foreign languages and literature from the University of Florence, and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in human biology and Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) in biological anthropology, both from the University of Oxford. In 2020, she has published the book “Of Scatterlings and Stakeholders: diversity, inclusion and transnational governance for sustainable development” (Angelo Pontecorboli Editore). As of June 2022, she is the Editor of “Human Evolution 5.0”, a new section of the scientific journal Human Evolution (Pontecorboli Press).