Dr. Mark Pagel heads the Evolution Laboratory in the Biology Department at the UK’s University of Reading. Working in the philosophy of biology, mind, and language, he answers questions such as “Why would humans have evolved language abilities that keep them from communicating with other humans?” His other work has involved using statistical methods to reconstruct features of dinosaur genomes and to make inferences about the ancestral features of genes and proteins. His talk at the TED Global 2011 conference in Edinburgh Scotland on how humanity has been transformed by language is a must watch. Dr. Pagel’s new book Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind explores 80,000 years of human evolutionary history to describe why our innate imperative to be a part of and contribute to the culture we were born into aided our survival and progress in the past and still influences us today. It is this subject that he joined us to discuss.
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