Becoming human: The evolution of mind and language
McGill Millennium public lecture series concludes Oct. 20.
McGill Millennium public lecture series concludes Oct. 20
The final lecture in the provocatively named "Ape or Angel " McGill Millennium public lecture series "opens up an exciting new line of inquiry about how human beings became so different from our closest biological relatives," says McGill professor Bruce Trigger. Trigger is introducing the speaker, British archaeologist Steven Mithen, who will discuss the evolution of the human mind itself in his talk, "Becoming Human: the Evolution of Mind and Language," on Wednesday, October 20, 1999 at 8 pm (Fieldhouse Auditorium, Stephen Leacock Building, downtown McGill campus).
Mithens basic theory is that over millions of years different aspects of the human mentality evolved at different rates. Social abilities, he believes, were the first to evolve, while our ability to analyse the natural world and to construct technology developed considerably later. Instead of comparing people to apes, says Trigger, who is himself a renowned anthropologist and winner of the Prix du Québec, "Mithen studies archaeological remains to compare humans to humans over time, in light of what they created and what they left behind."
Dr Steven Mithen teaches in the department of Archaeology at the University of Reading (U.K.) He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, Sheffield, York, and Cambridge Universities and has excavated prehistoric sites in the Western Hebridean Islands of Scotland and in southern Jordan. He is interested in the behaviour of prehistoric hunter-gatherers and human ancestors as derived from the archaeological record, and especially in the evolution of mind, intelligence, and language. His books, Thoughtful Foragers (1990) and The Prehistory of Mind: A Search for the Origins of Art, Religion, and Science, (1996) have achieved widespread critical acclaim.
The Millennium Series, whose first two lectures featured Dr Eugenie Scott on the controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution in North American schools and Dr Paul Ewald on the evolution of human disease, is presented by the Redpath Museum and three prestigious partners, the Beatty Memorial Lectures Committee, the Mossman Libraries Endowment, and the Maxwell Cummings Distinguished Lectureship. Everyone is welcome to attend. No tickets are required.