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Lecture follows in Darwin’s footsteps

Professor van Hooff An expert on the study of primates will reflect on Charles Darwin's studies at a public lecture at BU.

Professor Emeritus Jan van Hooff from Utrecht University in the Netherlands will deliver a free public lecture at BU entitled ‘Darwin with a Smile’ on Thursday 16 April.

The lecture will look at Charles Darwin’s work on evolutionary continuity, particularly in the behavioural expression of mental states which can be seen in the facial expressions of primates.

Professor van Hooff is considered the scientific ‘father’ of modern primatology and has inspired a number of prominent primatologists. His lecture coincides with the annual Spring Meeting of the Primate Society of Great Britain hosted at BU from 16 to 17 April.

Professor van Hooff said: “This year we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of a genius who gave us an explanatory model of the phenomenon of evolution.

“Darwin was also one of the first to make scientifically reliable observations about animal behaviour and, contrary to what many are willing to accept, he regarded the mind as a product of evolution.

“A century later, new approaches have revived interest in our expressive behaviour,” Professor van Hooff continued. “These approaches even reveal the evolutionary origins of such ‘unique’ human attributes as our laughter and sense of humour; a good reason to look at this with a smile.”

Admission to the lecture is free of charge. Pre-booking is recommended.

Where: Woolstonecroft Lecture Theatre, Lansdowne Campus, Bournemouth University.
When: Thursday 16 April 2009, 6pm.
Further information and bookings: Please email the BU Lecture booking service.

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