Elephant intelligence

Richard Byrne, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of St Andrews, will be giving a talk at the University of Portsmouth this Thursday on ‘Elephant Intelligence: Studying a Mind that Evolved in Parallel to Our Own’.

Elephants are known for their ‘intelligence’

Elephants have a longstanding reputation for ‘intelligence’ but they are only distantly related to humans, so any real similarity must have arisen in parallel. Recent research has revealed that elephant cognition does share several interesting features with our own. This gives us clues to the original evolutionary pressures that shaped our minds.

Professor Byrne studies the evolution of cognition, particularly the origins of distinctively human characteristics. He uses evidence from species as diverse as great apes, elephants and domestic pigs. In 1987, with three colleagues he set up the Scottish Primate Research Group, which now links 17 faculties and their research teams in an informal collaboration spanning five Scottish universities.

Professor Byrne has published 118 refereed journal articles, 65 invited book chapters, and edited three books. He was awarded the British Psychology Society Book Award in 1997 for his study The Thinking Ape, and appointed to the fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2002.


Date: Thursday April 25, 2013

Time: 6–7pm, followed by a drinks reception

Venue: Portland Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth PO1 3AH

Admission is free but by ticket only from http://richardbyrne.eventbrite.com.

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