The talk was a special part of the Cambridge Science Festival and took place at the University Centre inthe heart of the University. We welcomed around 170 guests from a wide range of backgrounds and sadly had to turn some people away due to overcrowding!
So, is evolution predictable? Simon showed how convergent features have evolved time and again in the living world among unrelated organisms, exemplified by a marsupial sabre-toothed “cat” that looked just as dangerous as its more famous placental cat counterpart. Such convergences may hint at patterns of inevitability in nature, where in a given type of environment or biological network, certain adaptations or “solutions” (up to the emergence of intelligence) seem bound to appear.
Simon energetically delivered his thoughts on convergent evolution to an enthusiastic audience, all of whom enjoyed a highly entertaining and informative evening.