Christmas Lectures

Join biological anthropologist, author and TV presenter Professor Alice Roberts and genetics expert Professor Aoife McLysaght as they bring our evolutionary story to life and ask challenging questions about the future. The Lectures are broadcast on BBC4 at 8pm each night between 26-28 December 2018.

Presenters Alice Roberts and Aoife McLysaght

In Lecture One Alice explores our animal family, meeting our distant cousins, from armadillos to sharks. With 4D scanning, giant origami and a ukulele, we’ll unearth clues to our evolutionary past and revealing surprising similarities as she discovers our true place in the tree of life

Watch the Lecture (from 26th December)

In Lecture Two covers the story of our recent evolution from early two-legged hominins to modern humans – revealing how a humble African ape became a successful global species. With daring parkour athletes and life-size primate animatronics, Alice will uncover the story of our journey out of Africa as we spread across the globe, and ask what sets us apart from the other, now extinct, hominin species.

Watch the Lecture (from 27th December)

And in Lecture Three, Alice explores how the interplay between genetic variation and the environment makes us all different – even identical twins. Alice is joined by geneticist Prof Aoife McLysaght to find out how much of this difference is down to our genes or our environment, revealing why we see colours differently and why some people can taste chemicals others can’t. They challenge just how far you can predict a person from their genome and discuss the big ethical questions of our generation, asking where we should draw the line with genetic testing and engineering.

Watch the Lecture (from 28th December)

In all Alice and Aoife will bring our evolutionary story to life, taking viewers on an immersive voyage through our shared evolutionary past and asking challenging ethical questions about what the future holds.

This is the story of us – our past and our future – in all its deep-rooted, diverse, and surprising glory. For more information on this year’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES, visit the Ri site.