Hobbit histories: the origins of Homo floresiensis

This 9-millimetre-wide fragment of tiny molar was the first evidence of an ancient, equally tiny, human. It was found in a recent archaeological dig on an island in Indonesia, and sheds new light on the origins of the creatures known as hobbits. Back in 2004, strange bones were discovered in Liang Bua cave on the […]

When Hobbits Were Real

We’d like to thank Raycon wireless earphones for supporting PBS. In October 2004, our understanding of the human family tree was turned upside down. That’s when anthropologists reported that they’d discovered the bones of a tiny, unknown hominin, on the Indonesian island of Flores. This little creature stood only about a meter tall and had […]

Everything We Know About Dinosaur Evolution Just Changed, Here’s Why

We all know by now that most dinosaurs were probably feathered, right? I mean, since the discovery of feathered theropod dinosaur fossils in the mid-1990s, that’s become pretty common knowledge. This year, in 2019, scientists have linked together many fossil and genetic discoveries to address a long-standing question in the paleontological community. When did feathers […]

NOVA scienceNOW : 42 – Saving Hubble, First Primates, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Killer Microbe

NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON (Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History): On this episode of NOVA scienceNOW: it’s the most famous scientific instrument in the world, and its stunning pictures have changed our view of the universe. MATT MOUNTAIN (Space Telescope Science Institute): Twenty years ago we didn’t know how big the universe was, how old it […]

How the Squid Lost Its Shell

500 million years ago, back in the Cambrian Period, a pioneering little mollusk floated up off the ocean floor. It had developed a way to use its defensive shell for a whole new purpose — buoyancy. It turned out that by filling its shell with gas, this mollusk could literally reach new heights, gaining a […]

How Sloths Went From the Seas to the Trees

8 million years ago, off the coast of Peru, a large mammal used its powerful claws to pull itself along the ocean floor, holding fast against the waves as it foraged for seagrass. 5 million years ago, a similar creature was burrowing underground in Argentina, digging burrows so massive that you could walk right into […]

NOVA scienceNOW : 41 – First Primates

NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON: As inhabitants of Earth, we humans are relative newbies. In fact, our branch of the evolutionary tree may have split with these apes only about 6,000,000 years ago. But what if we look further back in our primate family tree? There must have been some great and wise ancestor who founded this […]

The Missing Link That Wasn’t

It’s 1912, and an amateur archaeologist named Charles Dawson came forward with a discovery that almost changed our understanding of human evolution. Almost. Dawson’s find was some unusual human-like skull fragments, and he showed them to the Keeper of Geology at the British Museum, Sir Arthur Smith Woodward. He explained that the fragments were given […]

How turtle shells evolved… twice – Judy Cebra Thomas

Meet Odontochelys semitestacea. This little creature spends its days splashing in Late Triassic swamps with a host of other reptiles. Under the surface lies its best defense against attack: a hard shell on its belly. Odontochelys is an early ancestor of the turtle. Its half-shelled body illustrates an important point about the modern turtle: it […]

Your Place in the Primate Family Tree

Hey there, Kallie here to remind you that Eons has some cool stickers for sale over at DFTBA.com, link in the description. Thanks for watching and, on with the show. Would you recognize your earliest primate ancestor if you met it face to face? What if it didn’t look like a monkey, or an ape, […]