Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made The Human Mind
Humans possess an extraordinary capacity for cultural production, from the arts and language to science and technology. But recent research suggests that our culture is not only a magnificent end product of the evolutionary process, it was also a key driving force behind it. The truly unique characteristics of our species – our intelligence, language, teaching, and cooperation – are not adaptive responses to predators, disease or other external factors. Rather, humans are creatures of their own making. Drawing on his acclaimed popular-science book Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind, which drew huge crowds at the 2017 Hay book festival, Professor Kevin Laland describes how studying animal behavior – including painting elephants, dancing cockatoos, and innovating orangutans – sheds new light on human origins. In a whistle-stop tour through three decades of research, Laland explains how the cultural activities of our ancestors transformed the evolutionary dynamic, to generate a species unlike all others.
40-minute talk + 20-minutes Q & A
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