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“We’re all members of a young species… Wherever we’ve ended up, all over the world, we’re Africans under the skin. And uncovering that story, retracing the steps of our ancestors, has given me a profound sense of our common humanity: our shared past, and our shared future”
— Alice Roberts, 2008
 
 

I’m an academic, writer and broadcaster. I’m interested in the structure of humans, how we function, and our place in the wider environment.

I make programmes and write books about human anatomy, physiology, evolution, archaeology and history. I passionately believe that universities are about generating and spreading knowledge to the widest possible audience.

I’m a medical doctor, and went on to become a university lecturer. I taught human anatomy to students and doctors, and did research into human origins and disease in ancient skeletons - which formed the basis for my PhD. But all the time, I felt that it was important to engage with people outside universities, of all ages and backgrounds. I’ve been Professor of Public Engagement with Science at the University of Birmingham since 2012.

I made my television debut back in 2001, as a human bone specialist on Channel 4’s Time Team. I went on to present Coast on BBC2, and then to write and present a range of television series for BBC2, including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us and Ice Age Giants, as well as several Horizon programmes. I’ve presented five series of the popular Digging for Britain series, looking at the freshest, most exciting archaeology in the UK. We'll be returning with Series 6 later this year.

I’ve written seven popular science books. My book The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2015.

I have a big tour planned for the autumn - 23 dates across the UK  - in support of my new book

Tamed: 10 Species that changed our world.

How do you tame wildness? For thousands of years our ancestors existed in a world where they depended on wild plants and animals. They were hunter-gatherers - consummate survival experts, navigating the opportunites and threats the world offered. Then a revolution happened: we started to domesticate wild species and they became crucial to our own survival and success.

Join me as I delve into archaeology, history and genetics to reveal the amazing stories of the species that became our allies.

 

From dogs, cattle and horses to wheat, potatoes and apples, find out how taming these species has left its mark on them - and us.

The tour begins in Manchester on 15th October 2017 and concludes at the Wimborne Tivoli on 22nd November 2017. Tickets for all 23 dates are on sale now.

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I don’t think learning stops when you finish school, or university. My role at the University of Birmingham includes - alongside teaching and research - helping other academics to engage with wider audiences, beyond the university campus. It’s a two-way thing - academics have a lot to learn from people outside universities. And we all need university research to be as relevant to wider society as possible.