Human evolution: an introduction

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Tuesday 6 May

The Theatre

This event has already taken place

  • Various hominin skulls

    Hominin skulls

    Credit: Brent Danley, full license available at


Standard £12

Concession £8

Associate £6

Free to Members, Faraday Members and Fellows

Event description

What makes us human? How did we develop language, thought and culture? Why do we need them?

The past 12,000 years represent the only time in the sweep of human history when there has been only one human species. How did this extraordinary proliferation of species come about - and then go extinct? And why did we emerge such intellectual giants? 

The tale of our origins has inevitably been told through the 'stones and bones' of the archaeological record, yet Robin Dunbar shows that it was our social and cognitive changes rather than our physical development which truly made us distinct from other species.


This event will be chaired by Aleks Krotoski, who hosts The Guardian's Tech Weekly podcast and presents BBC Radio 4’s award-winning science series The Digital Human

About the speaker

Robin Dunbar heads the Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford.  He specialises in primate behaviour and is best known for coming up with Dunbar's number.

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