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Being Human: Our Symbolic Nature

Speaker(s): Dr. Terrence Deacon

San Francisco, CA

May 17, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


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What makes our brains different? How did language change us as a species? Join us on May 17th for Being Human: Our Symbolic Nature…. and learn more about how human language evolved.

From the smallest bacteria to the largest mammal, most organisms communicate. However, the way we humans communicate is quite unique in comparison to other organisms. We use a complex web of symbols representing the abstract. These symbols are layered within human culture and require an extensive amount of our brains to interpret.

Join Terrence Deacon as we explore our unique capacity for symbolic thought and the role it played in the co-evolution of the human brain and language.

About Being Human

Being Human mixes short talks from great minds with fun hands-on experiments, drinks, conversation, and storytelling. Each month we’ll explore different aspects of our evolution, our behavior, and the human experience.

Doors open at 6 pm for the Being Human Lounge.  Mix and mingle with your fellow humans upstairs in Public Work’s Odd Job Room. Enjoy a thematic specialty cocktail each month, plus a fully-stocked bar of beer, wine, and delicious cocktails.

The Main Room opens at 7 pm for seating. The talk will begin shortly thereafter.

Seating is limited and available on a first-come first-serve basis. There is plenty of standing room for everyone.

Age Limit: 21+


May 17, 2016
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


The Leakey Foundation


Public Works
161 Erie Street
San Francisco, CA 94103 United States
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Dr. Terrence Deacon

Dr. Terrence W. Deacon is a professor of biological anthropology and neuroscience and the chair of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research combines human evolutionary biology and neuroscience, with the aim of investigating the evolution of human cognition. His research is focused on determining the nature of the human divergence from typical primate brain anatomy, the cellular-molecular mechanisms producing this difference, and the correlations between these anatomical differences and special human cognitive abilities, particularly language. He is also the author of The Symbolic Species and Incomplete Nature.

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