Event Details

Location: Kansas City, MO

Cornell Club of Mid-America – The Evolution of Beauty with Richard Prum

Professor Richard O. Prum, Professor of Ornithology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, will be speaking at the Linda Hall Library, 5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64110 on April 14, 2016.

Reception: 5:30 pm to 6:45 pm
Lecture:  7:00 pm

RSVP:  816-926-8774 (indicate reception and lecture OR lecture only, number in party, name, school, email, phone)

The Lecture
Why is bird song so rich, complex, and variable? Why do animals perform elaborate courtship displays? Unlike adaptations that solve challenges to survival, bird song and courtship displays function through sensory seduction. Darwin proposed that some of these aesthetic traits evolved by sexual selection. Today, most evolutionary biologists view sexually selected displays as adaptive, honest advertisements of mate quality. But how do we account for the diversity of aesthetic preferences? And what is the relationship between aesthetic evolution and human culture? I expand on Darwin’s original views, proposing that a fundamental feature of mate choice is the co-evolution of mating displays and aesthetic mating preferences. This research provides a framework for a “post-human” aesthetic philosophy that spans all biology, human arts, and culture—from warblers to Warhol.
The Speaker
Richard Prum is an ornithologist who draws from a wide spectrum of disciplines, including developmental biology, optical physics, molecular genetics, phylogenetics, paleontology, and behavior ecology, to address central questions about bird development, evolution, and behavior. He is the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, where he also serves as curator of ornithology and head curator of vertebrate zoology at the Peabody Museum of Natural History.
About the Bartlett Lecture
 The annual Paul D. Bartlett, Sr. Lecture was established in 2003 to bring the finest university professors to speak on subjects related to the Linda Hall Library´s collections.
Paul D. Bartlett, Sr. was elected chairman of the Linda Hall Library Board of Trustees at its first meeting in 1941. Under his leadership the Halls’ bequest for the creation of a public library in Kansas City was used to establish this library devoted to science, engineering and technology. Mr. Bartlett served on the Board until his death in 1964.
The lectures are presented by the Linda Hall Library in association with the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Kansas City, the Princeton Alumni Association of Greater Kansas City, and the Yale Club of Kansas City.
Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter.

This event was originally targeted to Harvard, Yale and Princeton alumni, but all are welcome.  HOWEVER, SEATING IS VERY LIMITED.