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Department of Zoology


Dr Alex Thornton will be speaking at a prestigious joint meeting of the Royal Society and the British Academy entitled "Culture Evolves" on the 28th of June at the Southbank Centre in London. The meeting runs from the 28th to the 30th of June and is open to the public. The meeting forms part of the celebrations of the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society.

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In association with this joint meeting is a 'Science of culture' exhibition which features in the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, a 10-day extravaganza showcasing the UK's cutting-edge science in London's Southbank Centre from 25th June.

Scientists from the Universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh, Stirling and Cambridge will show how they study the evolution of culture in humans and in animals, from meerkats to apes. The researchers expect to attract the interest of all age levels by offering computer games played on ipads, videos and hands-on examples of their experiments. Visitors will be able to step into the shoes of a chimpanzee learning about tool use from other apes or play their part in the building of ever taller spaghetti towers.

Some parts of the ‘Culture Evolves’ exhibit are about answering the question, ‘where did our human cultural nature come from?’ From chimpanzees to meerkats to fish, the researchers will present some of their most fascinating discoveries showing that the roots of culture can be traced in animal traditions.

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