Anthropology

Broadcast (2003) In 1848 a strange skull was discovered on the military outpost of Gibraltar. It was undoubtedly human, but also had some of the heavy features of an ape... distinct brow ridges, and a forward projecting face. Just what was this ancient creature? And when had it lived? As more remains were discovered one thing became clear, this creature had once lived right across Europe. The remains were named Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal man) an ancient and primitive form of human.

Broadcast (2003) Understanding of humans' earliest past often comes from studying fossils. They tell us much of what we know about the people who lived before us. There is one thing fossils cannot tell us; at what point did we stop living day-to-day and start to think symbolically, to represent ideas about our environment and how we could change it? At a dig in South Africa the discovery of a small piece of ochre pigment, 70,000 years old, has raised some very interesting questions. (www.youtube.com)

Contemplative and reflective, Cave of Forgotten Dreams confirms Werner Herzog as one of the finest and most original chroniclers of the natural world. His abiding fascination with flight, which fueled films like Little Dieter Needs to Fly and White Diamond, finds counterpoint here as he goes below ground to document the oldest paintings known to man. Discovered in 1994, France's Chauvet Cave offers a privileged insight into another time and place.

Biology stands on the brink of a shift in the understanding of inheritance. The discovery of epigenetics -- hidden influences upon the genes -- could affect every aspect of our lives.

At the heart of this new field is a simple but contentious idea -- that genes have a 'memory'. That the lives of your grandparents -- the air they breathed, the food they ate, even the things they saw -- can directly affect you, decades later, despite your never experiencing these things yourself. And that what you do in your lifetime could in turn affect your grandchildren. (www.youtube.com)

A documentary which is exploring the impact of racism on a global scale, as part of the season of programmes marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slave trade (but not slavery itself) in the British Empire. Beginning by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century, it considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant. (www.youtube.com)

BBC Hidden Treasures African Art

This documentary about stupidity tells us the history of the word "moron", the difference between stupid, moron, smart, intelligent, genius and questions the regular practice of classifying peoples intelligence through standardized IQ tests.

Technology is evolving us, says Amber Case, as we become a screen-staring, button-clicking new version of homo sapiens. We now rely on "external brains" (cell phones and computers) to communicate, remember, even live out secondary lives. But will these machines ultimately connect or conquer us? Case offers surprising insight into our cyborg selves.

Did you know you have functioning neurons in your intestines -- about a hundred millions of them? Food scientist Heribert Watzke tells us about the "hidden brain" in our gut and the surprising things it makes us feel.

Becoming transhuman by Mark Pesce (2001) is the stunning story of human possibilities - where we were, where we are, and where we are going. Spanning the entire range of history, from the birth of the universe to the death of the Sun, Becoming Transhuman asks the tough questions, and offers a few answers. With its stunning coordination of sight and sound, Becoming Transhuman will make you think. And maybe, even hope. The film is divided into three chapters. Part One, Affirming, looks at what happens when humans reach apotheosis through evolution - when they become transhuman.

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