A DAY of science lectures in Wirral gave an insight in to what makes us human.
This year’s annual event of four one-hour lectures focussed on humans and took place in Heswall Hall, as part of the Heswall Arts Festival.
Each session attracted over 150 people, who came to listen scientists discuss their varied fields.
The four lecturers were Professors Laura Bishop and Francis McGlone from Liverpool John Moores University, Dr David Starling now retired but formerly one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Higher Education Science and Dr David Skydmore from Glyndwr University.
The event, sponsored by Heswall U3A, was organised by the Rotary Clubs of West Wirral and Mid Wirral.
From Wirral West Rotary Club, Dr Alan Swift said: “Professor Bishop looked at the evolution of human behaviour and drew on evidence from archaeological sites.
“She told us about the fascinating excavations including a 2.5million-year-old site at Kanjera South, on the eastern bank of Lake Victoria in Kenya.
“This site has been preserved by ash deposits from a nearby volcano, and contains the bones of butchered small animals and fragments of hard rocks cleaved to provide different types of tool.
“She passed around four examples of hominid skulls illustrating evolutionary progress to modern man.
“The title of Dr Starling’s lecture was ‘DNA profiling.
“He discussed the structure of DNA and the different types of protein in the human body.
“We were also told how people can be identified through DNA traces left at crime scenes.
“Dr Skydmore talked about the making of you; how our environment affects our genes, including the laws of Mendelian inheritance, gene therapy and genetic manipulation.
“He explained why we look different from each other and relationship between what we eat and the environment.
“He described phenotypic plasticity, such as how brain size was influenced by education. Then concluded with the question on whether man has now reached an evolutionary end point.
“Finally, Professor McGlone discussed mapping the mind and how the brain uses 25% of the body’s total energy.
“His lasting quotation from the lecture was ‘The brain loves social communication’.”