The Human Spark

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Categories: Science

In the caves and rock shelters of the Dordogne region of France, witness the spectacular Alan Alda paintings and sculptures dating from 30,000 years ago, works of art that archaeologists thought that the first record of people with minds like ours.

When this art has been created in Europe had been inhabited for hundreds of thousands of years – and thousands of lives – for human beings we call Neanderthals.

Alan discovers, after visiting the sites where Neanderthals once lived, that Neanderthals were tenacious and resourceful.But they seem to have lived in and the moment, the truth is that produced no art, and employed a stone tool technology has changed little over the millennia. The people who painted the caves, our ancestors were very different, in possession of what we call the human spark, capable not only of art but of innovative technology and symbolic communication.

Alan explores the questions: Where and when the human spark turn first? In these caves, archaeologists have believed for a long time? Or in a long time before – and on another continent? What is the nature of human uniqueness? Where is the Human Spark ignite, and when? And perhaps most tempting, why?

In this three-part series, Alan Alda has these questions personally, visiting dozens of scientists from three continents, and participate directly in the experiments of many – including the examination of his own brain.

Bringing his trademark humor and curious face to face conversations with leading researchers, seeking human spark – of archaeologists to find clues in the fossil bones of our ancestors and tools for the study of primatologists closer to our family living to explore what we have in common and what distinguishes us, for neuroscientists looking in his mind with the latest brain scanning technologies.

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