Evolutionary Origins of the Human Niche - Online Lecture and Q&A with Prof Kevin Laland

  • Date: Dec 3, 2020
  • Time: 14:00 - 16:00
  • Speaker: Prof Kevin Laland
  • Location: Zoom
  • Host: Department of Archaeology
  • Contact: richardson@shh.mpg.de
Evolutionary Origins of the Human Niche - Online Lecture and Q&A with Prof Kevin Laland
How did our species’ distinctive niche evolve, and what role did our ancestors play in its origin? Understanding the origins of the human niche requires recognition of the manner in which organisms construct aspects of their world. Empirical and theoretical studies show how the activities of organisms modify selection and influence evolution, and how this was a particularly important process in human evolution. In this seminar, Prof Laland will describe some theoretical and experimental projects suggesting feedback mechanisms that may have been instrumental to the evolution of human cognition.

Kevin Laland is Professor of Behavioural and Evolutionary Biology at the University of St Andrews, where he is a member of the Centre for Biological Diversity, the Centre for Social learning and Cognitive Evolution, the Institute for Behavioural and Neural Sciences, and the Scottish Primate Research Group. After completing his PhD at University College London, Kevin held a Human Frontier Science Programme fellowship at UC Berkeley, followed by BBSRC and Royal Society University Research fellowships at the University of Cambridge, before moving to St Andrews in 2002. He has published over 230 scientific articles and 13 books on a wide range of topics related to animal behaviour and evolution, particularly social learning, cultural evolution and niche construction. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Society of Biology, and the recipient of both an ERC Advanced Grant and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

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