The Darwin Lectures

Eminent New Zealand scientists explore the ideas of Darwin and their impact on society over the last 150 years.

  • Lecture 1 - Darwin and the Evolution of an Idea ( 50′ 45″ )

    Professor Lloyd Spencer Davis, University of Otago. In the last 2000 years there has been one idea, above all else, that has altered the way we view the world and our place in it. That idea is evolution by natural selection and the originator of the idea was Charles Darwin. Recorded 19 August in Napier.

  • Lecture 2 - The Evolution of Biological Complexity ( 51′ 54″ )

    Professor Paul Rainey FRSNZ, Massey University. Professor Rainey paints a picture of life's evolution from the perspective of major evolutionary transitions, including that from solitary organisms to societies. Recorded 28 July in New Plymouth.

  • Lecture 3 - The Principle of Evolution: Absolute Simplicity ( 51′ 31″ )

    Professor David Penny CNZM FRSNZ, Research Director, Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, Massey University. Can we find anything in biology that is not understandable, or not explainable, by the things we can observe and measure in the present? Evolution is, by far, the simplest possible way of understanding ourselves, our past, and our future. Recorded 20 August in Palmerston North.

  • Lecture 4 - The fossil record ( 42′ 29″ )

    Professor Alan Cooper, Director, Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, The University of Adelaide. How should we interpret what the fossil record tells us about evolution - both in general, and with regard to how New Zealand has ended up as it is today? Recorded 18 August in Gisborne.

  • Lecture 5 - What Can Evolution Tell Us About Ourselves? ( 49′ 19″ )

    Professor Russell Gray, The University of Auckland. Attempts to explain human behaviour in evolutionary terms have a mixed history. Today, crude social Darwinian and socio-biological explanations are increasingly being replaced by richer, more complex theories. Recorded 3 September in Hamilton.