human evolution

The Human Spark | Talk of Life

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In this video segment from The Human Spark, Alan Alda goes to the Oxford University lab of Simon Fischer where the language gene FOXP2 was discovered, and to the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, where it is studied in mice. The FOXP2 gene is of special interest to scientists for several reasons – language may be what sets us apart from our earlier hominin ancestors, and has allowed us to communicate and organize as a society – but it is not certain yet if the gene is essential to “the human spark.”

Why Do We Have to Sleep | It's Okay to Be Smart

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Why do we sleep? We spend a third of our lives in slumber, but science has yet to determine exactly why we have do it. Here’s a look at how sleep works, why we’re not getting enough sleep, what happens if you DON’T sleep, and an idea about where sleep came from in the first place.

SciGirls | Digging Archaeology 03: Data Collection 1

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The SciGirls excavate part of an archaeological dig site. They learn about the process of excavation and the necessity of documenting what you find where you find it.

Can Evolution Make an Eye? - 12 Days of Evolution #4 | It's Okay to Be Smart

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Some of the biggest evolution questions finally answered.

This Video May Give You Goose Bumps | Braincraft

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The weird and wonderful science of goose bumps. Hope you didn't get the chills.

Walking with Lucy

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This computer animation compares the distinctive gaits of a chimpanzee, A. afarensis, and modern human, highlighting the trait of upright walking that the latter two share.

A Mutation Story

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This video segment tells the story of a genetic mutation affecting the population of West Africa. Although helpful in preventing malaria, this mutation can also lead to sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell specialist Dr. Ronald Nagel stresses the genetic diversity required for the survival of a species.

Does Technology Ruin Relationships? | BrainCraft

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How does our excessive use of technology and social media affect our relationship with other people?

The Human Spark | The Community of Symbolism

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In this segment from The Human Spark, host Alan Alda explores the significance of jewelry made by early humans eighty to ninety thousand years ago. Pierced seashells, soapstone, and teeth provide evidence that human societies had advanced beyond simple survival, allowing themselves to engage in the time consuming creation of jewelry. These ornaments which were worn by early humans were symbols extending a sense of community and a network of cooperation to a larger group of individuals than would otherwise be connected.

Does Evolution Have a Point? 12 Days of Evolution #12 | It's Okay to Be Smart

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Some of the biggest evolution questions finally answered.

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