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The Human Spark

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Wednesday 8:00 PM on PBS Premiered Jan 06, 2010 Between Seasons

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  • Season 1 (3)
  • To Make A Spear

    Clip

    Archaeologist John Shea demonstrates the construction of a primitive spear and explains its impact on the social development the early humans who used them.
  • Human Nature

    Clip

    A look at the ways in which monkeys and apes are similar to humans, not just biologically but mentally and socially.
  • Scanning the Brain

    Clip

    An introduction to MRI scans.
  • Cooperation

    Clip

    A brief look at the cooperative and social nature of humans.
  • Human Language

    Clip

    A look at the difference between human language and other species' communication systems.
  • Beyond the Present

    Clip

    A look at humans' unique ability to reflect upon events that have happened in the past and think about things that could possibly happen in the future.
  • Insight and Imagination

    Clip

    An overview of how insight and imagination distinguish humans from others.
  • Links in the Evolutionary Chain

    Clip

    An exploration of some of the different characteristics that distinguish different branches of the hominid "family tree," such as brain and face size, ability to make tools, and location.
  • If It Ain't Broke...

    Clip

    Archaeologist John Shea explains the context and construction of one of early humans' first tools-the stone hand ax.
  • Brain Matters

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 6 - 1/19/10

    Peer into Alan Alda's head to find out which parts of our brain are responsible for our most human characteristics. Where do tool use and language reside? And how do our brains allow us to understand symbolism, figure out what others are thinking, and even travel in time? Are insight and imagination what really make humans unique?moreless
  • So Human, So Chimp

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 5 - 1/12/10

    Alan Alda joins researchers studying human children and chimpanzees to discover why we share some skills with our closest living relatives, but have far surpassed them in our most uniquely human capabilities. Though we both descend from a common ancestor and are genetically so similar, why are we worlds apart in our behaviors and abilities?moreless
  • Becoming Us

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 1 - 1/5/10

    Series host and narrator, Alan Alda, confronts the puzzle of why our ancestors in Africa got the Spark and evolved into us, while the first humans to leave Africa for Europe--the Neanderthals--never did. Why did we flourish, while they changed very little for thousands of generations before eventually dying out?moreless
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