Events / MindCORE/SCEW seminar: Catherine Sheard

MindCORE/SCEW seminar: Catherine Sheard

October 27, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

111 Levin Building

We will also stream this seminar via Zoom.
For the Zoom link, please contact us:


Catherine Sheard
Interdisciplinary Fellow
University of Aberdeen


Phylogenetic trees and cultural evolution


Understanding the broad-scale variation in human cultural diversity is one approach to uncovering our origins and predicting where we may be headed in the future. A key obstacle in such studies, however, is the statistical need to control for shared cultural history between different groups. Here I will discuss how mathematical tools developed in biology and palaeontology that model evolution in a tree-like fashion can (and cannot!) be translated into linguistic and cultural evolution, with a particular focus on Pama-Nyungan (Australian) kinship.


A pizza lunch will be served. Please bring your own beverage.


This is a joint seminar with Penn’s Social and Cultural Evolution Working Group (SCEW).