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Kevin Laland: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution

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In his latest book: Darwin's Unfinished Symphony (http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10961.html), Kevin Laland shows how the learned and socially transmitted activities of our ancestors shaped our intellects through accelerating cycles of evolutionary feedback. The truly unique characteristics of our species—such as our intelligence, language, teaching, and cooperation—are not adaptive responses to predators, disease, or other external conditions. Rather, humans are creatures of their own making. Drawing on his own groundbreaking research, and bringing it to life with vivid natural history, Laland explains how animals imitate, innovate, and have remarkable traditions of their own. He traces our rise from scavenger apes in prehistory to modern humans able to design iPhones, dance the tango, and send astronauts into space.

Kevin N. Laland (https://risweb.st-andrews.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/kevin-neville-laland(4ae352f3-32ca-418e-9d07-9b8ee17e6183).html) is professor of behavioral and evolutionary biology at the University of St Andrews. His books include Social Learning: An Introduction to Mechanisms, Methods, and Models and Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution (both Princeton).

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