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Our interactions with our fellow creatures have been greatly varied over our existence. Join us for an evening of talks about how we can use archaeology to understand historical hunting practices, and how we study primates now to understand that phenomena such as empathy are not only human traits...
Hunting the Biggest Beasts: aurochs and elk in prehistoric Europe
Professor Emeritus Peter Rowley-Conwy (Professor Emeritus (Archaeology))
Aurochs (wild cattle) and elk were the largest animals hunted in Late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Europe, by hunters using stone tools. Elk hunting is fairly well understood, but archaeologists have limited understanding of how aurochs were hunted. We underestimate two things about aurochs: their size and power, and their intelligence. I will use archaeological evidence of successful and unsuccessful kills, and ideas drawn from modern hunting and bullfighting, to try to show how these animals were killed.
Into the minds of our closest relatives: What bonobos and chimpanzees can tell us about human evolution
As our closest living relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees present a unique opportunity to understand how our own species evolved. Moreover, despite many behavioural similarities, these two ape species also display some remarkable differences in their social lives, cognition and emotional intelligence which can provide new insights into human evolution. In this talk, Dr Zanna Clay will delve into the social and emotional worlds of our great ape cousins and consider what this can tell us about how humans have evolved.
Try a little tenderness: Empathy in sanctuary-living great apes
Jake Brooker (PhD student in Psychology)
Empathy, the ability to share and understand the emotions of others, was once long thought to be unique to humans. However, studies of animals from mammals to fish to birds indicate that this complex phenomenon has deep evolutionary origins. Using examples from observations at African great ape sanctuaries, I'll explain how our closest living relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, appear to use reassuring body contact when responding to moments of social tension, such as conflicts.
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