Download: Professor Alice Roberts - Origins of Us: Human Anatomy and Evolution

By University of Birmingham


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Friday 10 February 2012, 4-5pm

Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham presents a lecture in association with the Great Read At Birmingham (GRAB) project.

Clinical anatomist, author and broadcaster Alice Roberts gave her lecture as part of the Darwin Day celebrations, with a focus on the anatomy and evolution of humans as a species.

'We are all members of a very special species. Whilst our anatomy and physiology is undoubtedly that of an ape, we have done things that no other ape can do, and become the most successful ape on the planet. Today, our global population numbers almost seven billion; we survive and thrive everywhere from the tropics to the Arctic.

So just what is it that makes us so special? In some ways we are so similar to our closest cousins, chimpanzees, but it's also clear that we are a world apart. But we can understand ourselves, how we got to where we are today, by going back into our deep past, to the time when we were just another African ape. And then tracing the small changes that over time, and unpredictably, led to us becoming human.

The answers to the question of 'what makes us human?' lie buried in the ground in the form of fossils and traces of our ancestors, but also lie deep within the form and function of our bodies.'

Transcript available on request. Contact: