Science Writer & Educator

Photo by Diana Ruiz

Photo by Diana Ruiz

UPDATED: MARCH 2014

Contact: cadell.last@gmail.com ; @cadelllast

About Me

Hello!  I am an evolutionary scientist (M.Sc.), science writer, researcher, founder of The Advanced Apes, and digital media junkie based in Toronto, Ontario.  My research and writing speciality is in human evolutionary science.  I am focused on exploring the intersection between biochemical and technocultural evolution and communicating how these processes can help us understand the human past, present, and future.  Currently I work with the Global Brain Institute, specifically focused on how the Internet will fundamentally change major human institutions.   Below you will find a sample of my academic research and working papers (comments and constructive feedback are welcome):

Academic Publications:

Working Papers:

Ongoing Projects/Papers

  • Last, C. & Kyriazis, M.  2014.  Cognitive Approach to Understanding Radical Life Extension.
  • Last, C.  2014.  The Future of Big History: High Intelligence to Developmental Singularity
  • Last, C.  2014.  Developing World Roadmap for the Global Village: From Here to 2050.
  • Last, C.  2014.  Distributed Digital Democracy.

Popular Science:

If you are interested in my popular science work you can find my official blog here.  My writing has appeared in Huffington PostScientific American Guest Blog, Humanity+ MagazineRichard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, American Humanist, and The People Project.  I am currently writing my first book, with the working title: Pathway to the Global Brain.  Below you will find a sample of my popular science writing:

I am also interested in exploring new digital mediums for science popularization.  At the moment I am focused on building an animated educational YouTube channel with my professional partner Alicia Herbert and PBS Digital Studios (PBSDS).  The first video was created with the idea of introducing new audiences to ideas and concepts from the world of evolutionary anthropology  (check out the first video!).  Since then the show has evolved into a channel discussing the biggest scientific questions with historical context and my thoughts on their implications for the future.  You can find some of the videos below:

As a science researcher, writer, educator, and popularizer I am also available to write academic journal articles, news items, feature articles, conduct or participate in interviews, appear on radio programs or podcasts/videocasts, and speak at high schools, colleges, libraries, museums, or events.  Topics for radio programs, podcast/videocast appearances and pubic presentations include (but are not limited to):

  • The last 10 million years of ape and human evolution
  • Great ape behaviour/genetics/ecology
  • Biological, cultural, and technological evolutionary processes
  • Origins of the universe, earth, life, and humanity
  • The search for extraterrestrial life
  • 21st century human evolution
  • Development of civilization (metasystem transitions; globalization)
  • Anthropogenic climate change
  • The future of humanity
  • Deep time

Below you will find a sample of appearances I have made, including a video of an academic presentation I gave at the Global Brain Institute and a popular podcast via SeriousWonder:

Contact: 

Content:

Field Research:

  • Chimpanzee and gorilla ecological field survey.  Lebialem-Mone Forest Landscape, Southwest Province, Cameroon.  July-August 2010; 2011.
  • Ring-tailed lemur behavioural and ecological field survey.  St. Catherines Island, Georgia, USA.  July-August 2012. (field diary!)

If you want to know more about my intellectual experience in the field:

Endorsements:

“The Advanced Apes provides bite-sized lessons on topics connected to evolutionary anthropology that are both informative and entertaining. It is sure to stimulate discussion!” – Dr. Joyce Parga (Professor of Anthropology at University of Toronto)

“The Advanced Apes website and blog provides strong, thoughtful and honest insight into the world of evolutionary biology, with a voice that all can understand and appreciate.  ROM Biodiversity is a big fan of Cadell and his work, and we look forward to collaborating in the future.” – Dave Ireland (Managing Director, ROM Biodiversity)

“The Advanced Apes is a great source for insight into the ideas and implications behind what’s happening in contemporary science.” – Mark Katakowski (Creator of Hubski)

“I used the “Are Chimpanzees Cultural” video in my biological anthropology classes as an introduction to the discussion of culture and primates. “Love the animation” was the resounding response from students. What sets this video apart is the animation supports a clear message about how scientists define and determine culture in non-human primates. These definitions and the behavioral examples were a great springboard for the ensuing discussion.” – Cynthia Bradbury (Professor of Anthropology at Boise State University)

“What I like about The Advanced Apes is that it takes scholarly research and makes it accessible to the general public. They cover topics from the origins of the universe to chimpanzee culture and present them in a dynamic and engaging way. I share their posts, blogs, and podcasts with my Anthropology students on a regular basis.” – Dr. Tracy Prowse (Professor of Anthropology at McMaster University)

“The Advanced Apes shows the best kind of thinking: focused but with a cross-disciplinary perspective, concrete but with an eye on long history. Cadell’s intelligent engagement and enthusiasm make this a pleasure to read, listen to and watch.” – Matthew Pettit (Anthropology PhD Candidate at University of Toronto)

“The Advanced Apes is an in-depth science blog which tackles a vast range of subjects from evolutionary anthropology to space technology; genetics; the environment and my personal favourite – non-human primates.  TAA not only informs readers through the written word but also via social media, and more recently podcasting involving other science contributors.  It aims to communicate difficult and complex issues into a more accessible format for lay readers as well as those already aware of scientific matters at large.  It’s a great platform for visitors who want to join the debate and have their voices heard.” – Asha Tanna (Science Reporter for Channel4 News)

“Cadell Last’s articles are well-researched, timely, thought-provoking, and insightful.  Through his websites, Cadell is making an invaluable contribution to the advancement of education and to the popularization of science, ensuring that scientific writing is more accessible to a wider audience of people.  In a technological era dominated by so many challenging issues, this is truly a laudable achievement.  The more that people participate in this worldwide discussion, the sooner we will be able to craft solutions for a better future.” – Susan Ahn (Co-founder at The People Project)

“Cadell engages readers through thought-provoking and insightful analyses of the significance of our evolutionary connections with great ape species, and is helping to strengthen understanding and appreciation around the severity of the plight of our closest living relatives.” – Cari Bourrie (Jane Goodall Institute of Canada)

The Advanced Apes Team:

final banner

Illustrated by Alicia Herbert

Alicia Herbert (Professional animator) is an animator, illustrator, and producer for The Advanced Apes.  She designed the official TAA logo, banner, and illustrated the first TAA YouTube video.  She has also worked on various shows like Dex Hamilton, Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That, Ugly Americans, BrickleBerry, and Magic Hockey Skates (CBC Christmas Special 2013). You can contact her at alicia.herbert31@gmail.com.

Special thanks to the following for appearing in the podcast/videocast: Drew Hewitt, Adam Benton, Ben BullerScott Rodgerson, Ryan Burke, Travis Steffens, Dr. Jonathan MarksMatthew Pettit, Hisham Kelati.

My Worldview in Quote Form:

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist)

“The purpose of science is not to cure us of our sense of mystery and wonder, but to constantly reinvent and reinvigorate it.” – Robert Sapolsky (Primatologist)

Science, evolution, anthropology, and history are all on the same side.  The other side is where the anti-intellectuals and ideologues are, and have always been, the ones who either don’t understand evolution themselves, or are knowingly misrepresenting its implications to the public.” – Jonathan Marks (Biological Anthropologist)

“Cosmologists argue about whether the [universe] will end in [a Big Crunch or a Big Rip], but this does not take into account the power of intelligence, as if its emergence were just an entertaining sideshow to the grand celestial mechanics that now rule the universe.” – Ray Kurzweil (Futurist)

“An abstract, intellectual understanding of deep time comes easily enough – I know how many zeroes to place after the 10 when I mean billions. Getting it into the gut is quite another matter. Deep time is so alien that we can really only comprehend it as metaphor.” – Stephen J. Gould (Evolutionary Biologist)

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” – Charles Darwin (Evolutionary Scientist)

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton (Physicist)

My inspiration and intellectual perspective in one video:

- Carl Sagan (Astronomer)

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