Yale Peabody Museum Speakers Bureau

The Yale Peabody Museum Speakers Bureau is an outreach lecture program that features Yale graduate students. Our trained speakers are available to give your community group presentations centered around a natural history theme, based on their research and expertise.

These live presentations are 25–45 minutes long, with time for questions, and given virtually online. Some speakers may be available in person within a 25-mile radius of the Museum. Talks are generally available only during the academic year. Currently available topics are listed below. For information and to schedule your Speakers Bureau talk, contact us:

Yale Peabody Museum Speakers Bureau


Lecture Themes

“Climate change isn’t a problem because the climate has always changed.”

This is a common argument about human-caused climate change—but is it justified? We will delve into Earth’s history for evidence of past climate change and ask what—if anything—is different this time.

Darwin’s theory of evolution explained a lot about the origin of species, but not as much about the origin of new body parts over time. One of Darwin’s critics, St. George Mivart, famously proposed that if the theory could not explain the origin of lactation, it was a failure. Findings from embryology, paleontology, and biochemistry are only now beginning to unveil how the production of milk in mammals may have evolved from hair, sweat, and pimples. We’ll reflect on what this reveals about the history of life in general.

Some 200 million years ago an extremely productive bout of volcanic eruptions spewed tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere and brought magma up to Earth’s crust. The greenhouse gases caused tremendous global warming and the molten rock cooled to form East Rock, West Rock, and many other landscape features in Connecticut, together known as the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. We will explore this tale of ancient climate change and mass extinction, told in part through familiar places around New Haven.

Have you ever wondered why birds have such colorful feathers? Are you curious about what fiddler crabs do with their one, oversized claw? We will explore the traits of animals that live right here, in Connecticut, and consider how and why these evolved. By the end of this presentation you’ll be able to tell your friends what a cardinal’s red feathers have in common with deer antlers and a fiddler crab’s oversized claw.