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Does your dog really think and feel like a human? Do our closest primate relatives have brains and emotions similar to ours? What about the storied intelligence of dolphins and singing humpback whales? And do other species hold surprises for us if we’re willing to look closely? What can we learn from pin-sized brains that can count, categorize, and hold a grudge against those who’ve tried to swat them? When one examines the current research, some lines between “animal” and “human” become fuzzy. Join leading scientists from different disciplines—Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods, Jeremy Niven, Patrick Hof, and Klaus Zuberbühler—whose research is challenging long-held assumptions about where to draw many of these lines.

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Moderator

Jad AbumradRadio Host

Jad Abumrad is the host and creator of WNYC/NPR’s award-winning radio series Radio Lab, which reaches nearly 4 million people per month and describes itself as believing “your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”

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Participants

Klaus ZuberbühlerPrimatologist

Klaus Zuberbühler’s award-winning work on the communication and cognition of non-human primates in their natural habitats in Africa, South America and Asia has had a considerable impact on our understanding of primate cognition and, more generally, what it means to be human.

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Jeremy NivenInsect Neuroscientist

Jeremy Niven’s research focuses on the interface between neuroscience, behavior and evolutionary biology in the insect nervous system.

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Vanessa WoodsAuthor, Research Scientist

Vanessa Woods is an award-winning journalist and author who studies the cognitive development of chimpanzees and bonobos at sanctuaries in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Brian HareAnthropologist

Brian Hare is an expert in chimpanzee and bonobo behavior in African sanctuaries, and founded the Hominoid Psychology Research Group, which compares the psychology of hominoids (human and non-human ape).

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Patrick R. HofNeuroscientist

Patrick R. Hof is an expert in the pathology of neuropsychiatric disorders whose laboratory is internationally known for its quantitative approaches to neuroanatomy and studies of brain evolution. Among his major contributions, Dr. Hof demonstrated that specific neurons are selectively vulnerable in dementing disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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