CENIEH, Fundación Caja de Burgos and Obra Social “la Caixa” renew their commitment to raising awareness of human evolution and encouraging scientific vocations

The Director-General of the Fundación Caja de Burgos, Rafael Barbero, the Institutions Manager of CaixaBank in Castilla y León and Asturias, Alberto Navarro, and the Director of the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), María Martinón-Torres, have presented a collaboration agreement this morning at the CENIEH, whose objective is to raise awareness of human evolution and encourage scientific vocations.

Under the auspices of that agreement, over the course of 2018, various activities aimed at the general public are being undertaken, for which "la Caixa" and the Fundación Caja de Burgos have allocated 15,000 euros.

The first of these, the IX European Researchers' Night, is an international event within the framework of the European program HORIZON 2020, held in over 300 European cities, which this year brought together more than 500 people, both children and adults, at the CENIEH.

This year, this European Night program included the V Ratón Pérez Tooth Collection Campaign, whose principal objective is to get the child populace of Burgos to participate in the research carried out by the Dental Anthropology Group of the CENIEH by collecting as many dental pieces as possible, so that studies can be undertaken on dental variability, morphological characterization of the tissues and histological development, among other questions.

In parallel, an educational workshop was carried out, at which the donors have been able to see these teeth under the microscope and learn about the kinds of analysis to be performed on them and the information yielded at the CENIEH.

In this Campaign, more than 700 teeth were collected, not only thanks to the people of Burgos, but also from donations by boys and girls in Andalucía, Asturias, Baleares, Cantabria and Extremadura, through institutions and universities which have joined this initiative for the first time.

The event also included the “Sketch a Scientist” competition for children, divided into four categories by participant age: 5 and 6 years old, ages 7 and 8, ages 9 and 10, and 11 and 12 years old, in which around 160 boys and girls took part. There will be three prizes in each category, which will be presented at a ceremony to take place during Science Week.

Science Week

The second major activity envisaged under the aegis of this agreement is the IX Science Week, from 12 to 18 November, which will include the II Open Labs, aimed at third and fourth-year ESO and Baccalaureate students, who will get to see the CENIEH laboratories and will be involved in the work that takes place in them. For this second edition, the participants will have an opportunity to see the Microscopy and Micro-Computed Tomography Laboratories.

Another of the activities that will take place that week is the talk What makes us human? which will be given by José Mª Bermúdez de Castro, the Coordinator of the Paleobiology Program, on Thursday 15 November in the Assembly Hall of the CENIEH, with free entry while space is available.

Finally, the II ICTS Open Day will be held, to enhance knowledge of the 29 Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructure (ICTS) in Spain which are open to the use of the scientific, academic and business community, and one of which is the CENIEH. Guided tours lasting 50 minutes for groups of 20 people will take place, on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 November from 12 noon to 3 pm.