What Was the Ancestor of Everything? (feat. PBS Space Time and It’s Okay To Be Smart)

Part of what draws us to the study of natural history is our desire — our drive — to understand our origins. The more fossils that we can find and study, the more branches and twigs we can add to the tree of life — that web of relationships that connects all organisms, living and […]

Why Do You Love Your Family?

[MUSIC] Thank you to 23andMe for supporting PBS Digital Studios This is Harrison. Harrison’s favorite hobbies include pooping, peeing, not sleeping, and costing me a fair amount of money. Not exactly the number one qualities you go looking for in a friend. Yet, I knew he was the world’s most perfect human the instant I […]

The Dinosaur On Your Dinner Table

Hey smart people, Joe here. This holiday season, I bet many of you are going to be sitting down with family and friends to celebrate. And I bet a lot of you are going to be eating some nice delicious… dinosaur! Birds are dinosaurs! But why is that? That’s what we’re going to talk about […]

Why Are We The Only Humans Left?

Look around and you’ll meet some pretty smart animals, but there’s no species quite like us. But that wasn’t always true. As recently as 50,000 years ago we walked the planet along with at least three other human species. Denisovans and real-life Hobbits Homo floresiensis didn’t leave much behind to know them by, but Neanderthals […]

Why Don’t Birds Lay Square Eggs?

Hey smart people, Joe here. What shape is an egg? Chances are you’re picturing this: It’s generally round, a little fatter at one end, and it probably came out of the non-clucking end of a chicken. The chicken egg is the egg that most of us know, which makes sense considering there’s 2.5 chickens for […]

CRISPR and the Future of Human Evolution

[MUSIC] Is there something you’d change about yourself? Not just your hairstyle, but down at the genetic level? For the first time in human history, the ability to build and select genetic traits is within reach. Problem is, no one’s played this game before. [music] Mutation and selection. These two principles have molded basically all […]

Where Did Humans Come From?

Picture human ancestry like a single chain of species: primitive to perfect, with a progression of all the apey-human things in between. Now take that picture, crumple it up and light it on fire. That’s not how it happened. Now we know we’re just one of more than two dozen human species that’ve walked the […]

She isn’t African enough?! DNA Ancestry tests feat. It’s Okay To Be Smart

There Was No First Human

[MUSIC] This is me. I’m a human. These are my parents, they’re clearly humans too. My grandfather, human. My great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather? Humans without a doubt. But my grandfather 185 million generations removed? Not a human. He was a fish. [MUSIC] Imagine you could take a picture of every ancestor down the line and put […]

Are We All Related?

This is you. And these are your ancestors, a huge pyramid stretching into the past and balancing right on your head. How many ancestors do you have? Well, you have two parents. Four grandparents. And eight great-grandparents. Four generations back, your direct ancestors total 30. If we continue down this line, doubling every step, just […]