Public engagement

Futureproof Podcast

In the Futureproof podcast, Flying to the Sun and Culture-Driven Evolution, Jonathan McCrea looked at NASA’s new mission to the sun with Ethan Siegel and explored how our culture shaped human evolution with Kevin Laland.



What Made Us Unique in Scientific American

Kevin writes for the special issue of Scientific American on Humans: Why We’re Unlike Any Other Species On The Planet (September issue 2018).




Guardian Science Weekly Podcast

Kevin featured in a Guardian Science Weekly podcast, entitled Culture and the mind: a new theory of human intelligence. Nicola Davis interviewed Kevin and Diana Reiss about the role that culture plays in intelligence, how human culture differs from culture found in other animals, and the impact of this on our evolutionary history.



Kevin presenting his Royal Institution lectureRoyal Institution Lecture

Kevin was invited to present a prestigious Royal Institution lecture on Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony on 29 January 2018. The Royal Institution is an independent charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science.



whale watching a school of fishEvolution Unleashed in Aeon

Aeon, an online magazine committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview, commissioned an article from Kevin on the extended evolutionary synthesis. Published online 17 January 2018.



German radio show logoEvolution: From the Selfish Gene to the Cooperative Individual German Podcast

Volkart Wildermuth from German public radio, Hessischer Rundfunk, interviewed Kevin about his book, Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony, and the extended evolutionary synthesis. Listen to the podcast (in German).



Mastering Your Reality video series logoIsaac Lidsky interviews Kevin in the Mastering Your Reality video series

Isaac Lidsky, corporate speaker, author and entrepreneur, interviewed Kevin in his Mastering Your Reality video series, to discuss Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind. Watch the interview on YouTube.



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.



Culture Evolves exhibitionAnimal Culture: Nature’s second inheritance system Travelling Exhibition

Animal Culture was an interactive exhibition presented by the Laland Lab and collaborators in a number of venues in 2014 and 2015. It was created for the Great British Bioscience Festival in London (14-16 Nov 2014). It was also exhibited at the Edinburgh International Science Festival at Edinburgh Zoo (17-19 April 2015), and also during the Fife School Science Fair at St Andrews (25 June 2015).


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, at the Fife Science Festival (2012).




people interacting at the 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). The team spent a week in London engaging with the general public at their interactive exhibit on animal culture.