Public engagement

Explorathon panel showExplorathon 2017

Explorathon is an extravaganza of discovery, debate and entertainment that takes place on European Researchers’ Night at universities throughout Scotland. The Laland lab participated in a number of events, all drawing large numbers of attendees from the university and general public. Kevin gave a talk on Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony, Katrina organised and chaired the panel discussion How We Think: From Animals to AI (pictured) and Helen Spence-Jones competed in the XX Factor and performed her standup comedy debut at Bright Club.


Provocative Enlightenment radio showKevin guests on Provocative Enlightenment radio show

Kevin made a guest appearance on Eldon Taylor’s radio show, Provocative Enlightenment, to discuss Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind. Listen to the interview on YouTube.



War for the Planet of the ApesReality Check: Could “War for the Planet of the Apes” Actually Happen?

Kevin was asked to write an op-ed on “War for the Planet of the Apes” for the pop culture and entertainment content website, Adventures in Poor Taste. Following release of the blockbuster movie, Kevin explained how there will be no inter-primate war on Earth until such a time as other species have undertaken a prolonged evolutionary journey. Published online 13 July 2017 and reposted on the EES Update blog.


World Science Festival panelWorld Science Festival event: The Social Synapse: Neuroscience and the Roots of Human Connections

Kevin was invited to participate in the World Science Festival, the annual science and arts festival held annually in New York City drawing millions of visitors and viewers from around the world. ABC Correspondent John Donvan moderated discussion between Louise Barrett (anthropologist), Augustin Fuentes (anthropologist), Kevin Laland (biologist), Kevin Ochsner (neuroscientist) and Dietrich Stout (evolutionary anthropologist, paleolithic archaeologist). The video of the panel discussion held on 2 June 2017 can be viewed on the WSF website.


Hay FestivalHay Festival: Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind

Hay Festival brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world. Kevin was invited to present Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind to an audience of over a thousand in Hay-on Wye, UK, on 30 May 2017. You can watch or listen to the talk online on the Hay Festival website.



Waterstones talkWaterstones book talk: An evening with Kevin Laland

Kevin gave a book talk at the St Andrews branch of the Waterstones book store. Audience members from the University and the general public enjoyed a small wine reception and presentation from Kevin focussing on topics from his book, Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind.



Project SyndicateHow Culture Shapes Human Evolution

Global news outlet, Project Syndicate, commissioned an article from Kevin explaining how human culture sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Published online 15 May 2017.




Big Questions OnlineIs There a Role for Intelligence in Evolution?

Big Questions Online aims to explore the “big questions” of human purpose, existence, and the universe in widely accessible online essays and discussion forums. Kevin published an essay on how culture shaped the human genome, the role of niche construction in evolution and human choice and intelligence. Published online 27 December 2016.



Darwin's Unfinished SymphonyDarwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind

We humans possess an extraordinary capacity for cultural production, from the arts and language to science and technology. Yet a scientific understanding of how the human mind and culture evolved from their roots in animal behaviour remains elusive. In his engaging and accessible book, Kevin describes the challenges to understanding the origins of human intelligence, technology and culture, what he calls Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony. Kevin has studied this intriguing problem for 30 years, and this book draws on his and others’ findings to present a new theory of human cognitive evolution.


New ScientistEvolution Evolves: Beyond the Selfish Gene

For more than 150 years, the selfish gene has been one of science’s most successful theories, but we need to rethink evolution for the 21st century. Kevin Laland introduces the extended evolutionary synthesis in the popular science magazine, New Scientist. Published 21 September 2016.



The Science of Being Social exhibitThe Science of Being Social Fife Science Festival Exhibition

The Science of Being Social was an interactive exhibition on friendship and loneliness, presented by Kate Cross and others from Fife at the Fife Science Festival (2012).




Culture Evolves exhibitionCulture Evolves 2010 Summer Science Exhibition

A team of group leaders, postdocs and PhD students brought Culture Evolves to the Royal Society’s 350th Anniversary Summer Science Exhibition (2010). Kevin, Lewis, Camille and many others spent a week in London, engaging with the general public at their interactive exhibit on animal culture.