10 episodes

Can Darwin's theory of evolution be applied to cultural institutions like the family? If so, how can it help us to understand how family structures have evolved? If not, what are the limitations of a Darwinian approach? In this album, Ruth Mace, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at UCL in London, reveals how she uses a Darwinian approach to study diverse human populations. In particular, she focuses her discussion on family size, exploring how Darwinian concepts such as evolutionary trade-offs can help explain why modern families are getting smaller and smaller. The tracks on this album were produced by The Open University in collaboration with the British Council. They form part of Darwin Now, a global initiative celebrating the life and work of Charles Darwin and the impact his ideas about evolution continue to have on today’s world. © The British Council 2009.

Evolution and the human family - Audio The Open University

    • Courses

Can Darwin's theory of evolution be applied to cultural institutions like the family? If so, how can it help us to understand how family structures have evolved? If not, what are the limitations of a Darwinian approach? In this album, Ruth Mace, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at UCL in London, reveals how she uses a Darwinian approach to study diverse human populations. In particular, she focuses her discussion on family size, exploring how Darwinian concepts such as evolutionary trade-offs can help explain why modern families are getting smaller and smaller. The tracks on this album were produced by The Open University in collaboration with the British Council. They form part of Darwin Now, a global initiative celebrating the life and work of Charles Darwin and the impact his ideas about evolution continue to have on today’s world. © The British Council 2009.

    Evolution and the family

    Evolution and the family

    A short introduction to this album.

    • 1 min
    Transcript -- Evolution and the family

    Transcript -- Evolution and the family

    A short introduction to this album.

    How families have evolved

    How families have evolved

    What happens when you apply Darwin to human social structures? Ruth Mace explains the value of this approach.

    • 4 min
    Transcript -- How families have evolved

    Transcript -- How families have evolved

    What happens when you apply Darwin to human social structures? Ruth Mace explains the value of this approach.

    Dismantle the family with Darwinian tools

    Dismantle the family with Darwinian tools

    The comparative method can be used to investigate how culture relates to environment. The reproductive pattern of human females is a particularly interesting puzzle for evolutionary biologists.

    • 8 min
    Transcript -- Dismantle the family with Darwinian tools

    Transcript -- Dismantle the family with Darwinian tools

    The comparative method can be used to investigate how culture relates to environment. The reproductive pattern of human females is a particularly interesting puzzle for evolutionary biologists.

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