Friday, November 6, 2009

Celebrating Darwin's legacy

What is it that makes the human brain different from the brain of our closest relative, the chimpanzee, besides the larger size? What are the origins of empathy, fairness and cooperation? What constitutes culture in humans and other species, and how far back can we trace it?

Some of the world’s leading scholars of evolution – including many from Emory – will gather to discuss these questions during the conference on the Evolution of Brain, Mind and Culture Nov. 12-13. The free, public event – held in honor of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth – will give an overview of the latest discoveries in biological, cognitive and cultural studies of evolution.

“We are taking the conceptual and theoretical tools that Darwin gave us and putting them in the midst of contemporary thought and controversies,” said Robert McCauley, director of the Emory Center for Mind, Brain and Culture, which is hosting the event. “We’re taking a forward look at Darwin’s legacy.”

Award-winning science writer Matt Ridley, author of “Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code” and “Nature via Nurture,” will give the keynote, “Darwin in Genes and Culture,” at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Click here for more details of the two-day event.

Related stories:
Getting a grip on cultural evolution
Ape murder-suicide leads to human drama
Icons of evolution

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