What do our closest living ancestors have to teach us about what it means to be human? How do images of the human brain reveal our faculties for language, the use of tools and the ability to forge social bonds? A new three-part series—“The Human Spark”—premiering January 6, 13, and 20 (8:00 pm) on PBS stations will examine these questions and more. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the series engages host Alan Alda with dozens of researchers in neuroscience, anthropology, human evolution, child development and primatology.
For more on the series, including video clips, go to www.pbs.org/wnet/humanspark/. Scientists interviewed for the project include: Alison Brooks (George Washington U), professor of anthropology and international affairs; John Shea (Stony Brook U), associate professor of anthropology; Randall White (NYU), professor of anthropology; Brian Hare (Duke U), assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology; Daniel Povinelli (U Louisiana-Lafayette), professor and director, cognitive evolution group; Michael Tomasello, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology; Randy Buckner (Harvard U), professor of psychology and of neuroscience; Robin Dunbar (Oxford), director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology; and Rebecca Saxe (MIT), assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience.