Cultures of the Deep

Many Minds | 12 May 2021 | 1h 16m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Luke Rendell about ideas from his book The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins co-authored with Hal Whitehead. Discusses what culture is and why whale song is a good example of it; lob-tail feeding in humpback whales; tail-walking in bottlenose dolphins; how sperm whales in the 19th century may have learned from each other how to evade whalers; and why an understanding of culture may be crucial for ongoing cetacean conservation efforts.

The Story of Numerals

Many Minds | 14 April 2021 | 1h 16m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Stephen Chrisomalis about his book Reckonings: Numerals, Cognition, and History. Discusses the anthropology of numbers, mathematics, and literacy. Describes various systems for representing numbers, building on tally systems that emerge in the Upper Paleolithic, their association with writing, and debunks the notion that Roman numerals fell from favour due to being difficult to calculate with.

Culture, Innovation, and the Collective Brain

Many Minds | 3 February 2021 | 1h 29m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Michael Muthukrishna about why our brains got so big; how culture makes us smart; where innovation comes from; the cultural brain hypothesis; what this means for a general theory of intelligence across species; explaining the Flynn Effect; how group size and interconnectedness power culture; the evolution of brain size in humans & cetaceans; why psychology needs to become a historical science; and more.

This episode was so insightful that I went looking for more. The episode with Michael Muthukrishna on The Dissenter is also very good.

Humans, Dogs, and Other Domesticated Animals

Many Minds | 9 December 2020 | 1h 09m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Brian Hare about his book Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding our Origins and Rediscovering our Common Humanity, co-authored with Vanessa Woods. Discusses the evidence that as we domesticated farm animals to make them tamer and easier to work with, we also seem to have domesticated ourselves. Argues that self-domestication was the force that allowed ancient humans to develop larger social networks and, in turn, more sophisticated technologies.