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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Mar 31, 2021

What exactly are flavors? Why are some so pleasing while others are not? What is the relationship between Paleolithic art and cheese?

Ecology professor Rob Dunn joined us to offer bold new perspectives on why food is enjoyable and how the pursuit of delicious flavors has guided the course of human history. In Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human, co-written with Monica Sanchez, Dunn argued that deliciousness is an overlooked feature of the story of animal evolution. He shared stories from the book: stories about the pleasures of chimpanzees, the taste of mastodons, the mysteries of avocados, and more. He endeavored to show how a consideration of flavor and deliciousness changes the way we think about and make sense of the natural world: they shape the behavior of cats and dogs, they shape the use of tools by chimpanzees—they may even account for some of the major transitions in human evolution. Don’t miss these toothsome tales that are likely to change the way you think about flavor.

Rob Dunn is a professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University and in the Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics at the University of Copenhagen. He is the author of Never Home Alone.

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