human evolution

Ancient Hands, Ancient Tools | Your Inner Fish

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Paleontologists see the discoveries of ancient tools as a window into the functional evolution of early human hands. After searching for some of the first stone tools made by our ancestors, Neil Shubin pays a visit to paleoanthropologist Tracy Kivell, who shows him how changes in the hands of our ancestors led to the ability to create and use tools.

Ancient Skulls Reveal Man’s Early History | PBS NewsHour

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Learn about a journalist who is tracing ancient man’s migration out of Africa and across the globe with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from November 11, 2015.

The Evolutionary Advantages of Art | Braincraft

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I sit down with The Art Assignment host Sarah Urist Green to chat about science, art, and evolution. The evolutionary pathway that led us to be the apex predator on this planet also resulted in some pretty cool skills.

This Video Is Just for You | BrainCraft

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Persuasive and personalized messages are around all of us. Find out how they influence our response, and what happens in the brain when they do.

Scientist Profile: Ethnobotanist

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This DragonflyTV segment introduces ethnobotanist Dave Morris—a member of the Choctaw Nation—who studies how the indigenous populations of Arizona used and interacted with and continue to use and interact with plants. Also available in Spanish.

There Was No First Human | It's Okay to Be Smart

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If you traced your family tree back 185 million generations, you wouldn't be looking at a human, a primate, or even a mammal. You'd be looking at a fish. So where along that line does the first human show up? The answer may surprise you

You Are an Upside-Down Lobster | It's Okay to Be Smart

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Our bodies are mirror images of lobsters and other arthropods from back to belly. We've know since the early 19th century that our guts and nervous systems are inverted from theirs, but only recently has molecular biology shown us why. Here's the evolutionary tale about a worm doing the backstroke and why your guts are on your front. This is part 2 of 3 in my series about how our bodies evolved to look like they do.

Discovering Human Origins in Africa

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Learn about the discovery of Australopithecus africanus, in this video from NOVA: Dawn of Humanity. Although scientists, such as Darwin and Huxley, had suggested human origins in Africa, the prevailing view in the early 20th century was that humans evolved in Eurasia. However, in 1924, anatomist Raymond Dart received a fossil skull from miners in Taung, South Africa, which he recognized as early human and unlike anything that had been seen before. He named the species Australopithecus africanus and described it as proof for the evolution of humans in Africa. Dart's claims were initially rejected by most other scientists, but the discovery became a turning point in the field of human evolution.

Why Music Moves Us | It's Okay to Be Smart

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Why does music make us feel happy or sad? Or angry or romantic? How can simple sound waves cause so much emotion? Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to Be Smart, went from his comfy chair to the streets of Austin to investigate how it might be written into our neuroscience and evolution. Modern neuroscience says our brains may be wired to pick certain emotions out of music because they remind us of how people move!

Humans are the only species we know that creates and communicate using music, but it's still unclear how or why we do that, brain-wise. Is it just a lucky side effect of evolution, like Steven Pinker says? Or is it a deeper part of our evolutionary history, as people like Mark Changizi and Daniel Levitin argue?

New evolutionary science says that we may read emotion in music because it relates to how we sense emotion in people's movements. We'll take a trip from Austin to Dartmouth to Cambodia to hear why music makes us feel so many feels.

The Perfect Christmas Gift (According to Science) | BrainCraft

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We provide some scientific gift-giving tips for your next Christmas holiday.

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