In an event held on 19 November 2014 to reflect on the Academy’s centenary research project From Lucy to Language, Professors Robin Dunbar FBA, Clive Gamble FBA and John Gowlett discuss how their research into the evolution of human cognition and social lives over the ages further our understanding of the relationship between mind and world.
To understand who we are and why we are, we need to understand both our modern self, and our past.
Reflecting on the British Academy's Centenary Research Project From Lucy to Language, Professors Robin Dunbar FBA and Clive Gamble FBA discuss how their research into the evolution of human cognition and social lives over the ages furthered our understanding of the relationship between mind and world.
Wednesday 19 November 2014, 6-7.30pm
The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH
In 2003 the British Academy selected ‘Lucy to Language’ as its Centenary Research Project. Professor Robin Dunbar FBA, Co-Director of the Project, reports on the first phase of the research programme to unpack what it means to be human.
Short notices about: From Lucy to Language project; Dictionary of Medieval Latin; British Academy Book Prize 2003; Medals and Prizes 2004.
‘In the beginning was the word’. Well, in an archaeological sense it wasn’t. That human story begins with a stone technology two and a half million years old. Brains were much smaller, about half the size of our own. And instead of being a single, global species of seven billion, our highly varied hominin[i] ancestors were clustered in tiny numbers in parts of Africa. Moreover, nobody suggests that any of these different species of hominin could speak. What anatomical evidence survives points to the lack of a serviceable vocal tract and the fine breathing control needed for speech.
Joint British Academy/British Psychological Society Lecture, delivered by Professor Robin Dunbar FBA, on 11 October 2007 (venue: The British Academy). Although we share many aspects of our behaviour and biology with our primate cousins, humans are, nonetheless, different in one crucial respect: our capacity to live in the world of the imagination. This is reflected in two core aspects of our behaviour that are in many ways archetypal of what it is to be human: religion and story-telling. The lecture will show how these remarkable traits seem to have arisen as a natural development of the social brain hypothesis, and the underlying nature of primate sociality and cognition, as human societies have been forced to expand in size during the course of our evolution over the past 5 million years.