The PrimateCast Origins (66): Dr. Robin Dunbar on how the social brain evolved

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In this installment of The PrimateCast we continue with our International Primatology Lecture Series: Past, Present and Future Perspectives of the Field..
The IPLS is dedicated to providing origin stories about experienced researchers of primatology and related fields, through lectures delivered by those very individuals. The lectures are conducted via Zoom within our CICASP Seminar in Science Communication for graduate students of our program, but we decided to release the audio right here on The PrimateCast.
Unlike most academic lectures, which are usually focused on testing scientific hypotheses, this series is designed to offer a feel for how one becomes a professional in the field of primatology. In a way, we might think of it as a career primer for young primatologists just starting their own journeys into the nether regions of Academia. At the same time, anyone might enjoy the stories told of big dreams, exotic locations and species, and the humanity inherent in forging a new path in life and in work.
For anyone interested in viewing the video versions of these lectures, head over to CICASP's YouTube channel, where you can also watch them live as we stream our Zoom feeds there.

"Ideas in science often evolve as the result of unexpected accidents"
- Robin Dunbar

Prof. Dunbar is behind some key scientific ideas, such as the Social Brain Hypothesis - which has had ample success in explaining the distribution of higher forms of cognition across the animal kingdom - and Dunbar’s number, the iconic idea that there is a numerical cap on the number of relationships we can realistically maintain at any given time in our lives.
During the talk, he explains the origins of these ideas and their origins in his own fieldwork on primates and ungulates, as well as some accidental collaborations with people from a wide range of other disciplines.
Robin Dunbar is Professor Emeritus in Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford. You can find out more on our dedicated page for this event.

The PrimateCast is hosted and produced by Andrew MacIntosh. Artwork by Chris Martin. Music by Andre Goncalves. Credits by Kasia Majewski.

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A podcast from Kyoto University and CICASP.

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