Participants

Richard W. Byrne, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of St. Andrews, studies the evolution of cognitive and social behavior, particularly the origins of distinctively human characteristics. His current research focuses on gestural communication in great apes and the interaction of causal understanding and social learning in their acquisition of manual skills. He is also investigating cognition in domestic pigs and in African elephants. Educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he took first class honors in natural sciences, Dr. Byrne earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Cambridge University in 1976. He then joined the St. Andrews faculty as a lecturer and was appointed to his present position in 1997. A decade earlier, with other academic colleagues, he set up the Scottish Primate Research Group to coordinate the cognate interests of researchers in the three Scottish universities where primatology was studied—and it now links faculty and their research teams at five institutions. His own research, which earlier in his career included work on the ecology of baboon social structures, deception in primates, and the relation between brain size and intelligence, has been supported by grants from Biotechnology and Biological Services Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society, and the European Commission. A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Higher Education Academy, Dr. Byrne has served as vice president of the International Primatological Society and on the council of the Primate Society of Great Britain. His work has been featured on television in Australia and Britain, as well as in numerous radio broadcasts from several countries. He is a former contributing editor to Animal Behaviour and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Animal Cognition, Current Biology, and Biology Letters. In addition to more than 170 papers published in scientific journals or as chapters in volumes of collected works, he is the editor (with Andrew Whiten) of Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes, and Humans (1988) and, most recently, Machiavellian Intelligence II: Extensions and Evaluation, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 1997. Dr. Byrne's book, The Thinking Ape: Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence, an exploration of how our nearest ancestors reached the point in cognitive evolution that might have given rise to the human mind, was published in 1995 by Oxford University Press and won the 1997 British Psychological Society Award.