A look at the grim future of the Sun and what might happen to it five billion years when it uses up its hydrogen fuel and swells into a massive red giant star, consuming our planet and killing all life — including humans if any are still around.
The Human Family Tree – Naked Science – National Geographic Channel
On the most diverse street in the most diverse city in the most diverse country in the world, a team of National Geographic scientists will swab the cheeks of some 200 random New Yorkers. The goal: to retrace our ancestral footprints and prove we are all cousins in the “family of man.” Join geneticist Spencer Wells and a team of technicians from National Geographics Genographic Project as they trace the human journey through time and space, from our origins in the heart of Africa to the ends of the world. Cutting edge science, coupled with a cast of New Yorkers — each with their own unique genetic history — will help paint a picture of these amazing journeys. Ultimately, The Human Family Tree answers some of humanitys most burning questions, such as who we are and where we come from, and forces us to change how we think not only about our relationships with our neighbors, but ourselves.
Broadcast (2007) NATURE’s two-part special DOGS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD tells the epic story of the wolf’s evolution, how “man’s best friend” changed human society and we in turn have radically transformed dogs. From the tiniest Chihuahua to the powerful and massive English Mastiff, modern domesticated dogs come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes, with an equally diverse range of temperaments and behaviors. And yet, according to genetics, all dogs evolved from the savage and wild wolf-in a transformation that occurred just 15,000 years ago.
The Rise of the Dog
In THE RISE OF THE DOG, you’ll learn about how the domestication of dogs might have taken place, including the theory of biologist Raymond Coppinger that it was the animals themselves-and human trash-that inspired the transformation. The genetic analysis of Peter Savolainen of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden has placed the origins of domesticated dogs-and those of the first dog-in East Asia. You’ll also discover 14 dog breeds that controversial genetic studies show are the most ancient-and the best living representatives of the ancestors to all living dogs.
Over 400 breeds of dog are recognized around the world, each unique for its personality, habits, and form. Most of these breeds exploded onto the scene over the past 150 years, spurred by the Victorian-era passion for the “dog fancy”-the selective breeding of dogs to enhance particular characteristics. By tinkering with its genetics, humans made the dog the most varied animal species on the planet‹and also created a host of hereditary health problems.
Dogs by Design
Despite the plethora of new shapes and sizes, dogs have retained the instincts bred into their ancestors by thousands of years of work: the urge to herd or hunt, to dig and to guard. In DOGS BY DESIGN you’ll discover how these hard-wired behaviors help different types of dogs, from hounds to herders, excel at different tasks (and why it can sometimes be so difficult to train them to do otherwise). You’ll also learn how dogs’ finely tuned senses are serving humans and saving lives.
Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA’s comprehensive, three-part special, “Becoming Human,” examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives.
Part 1, “First Steps,” examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. The program explores the fossil of “Selam,” also known as “Lucy’s Child.” Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil. NOVA’s cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of this 3.3 million-year-old fossil child. And NOVA takes viewers “inside the skull” to show how our ancestors’ brains had begun to change from those of the apes.
Why did leaps in human evolution take place? “First Steps” explores a provocative “big idea” that sharp swings of climate were a key factor.
In “Birth of Humanity,” the second part of the three-part series “Becoming Human,” NOVA investigates the first skeleton that really looks like us–“Turkana Boy”–an astonishingly complete specimen of Homo erectus found by the famous Leakey team in Kenya. These early humans are thought to have developed key innovations that helped them thrive, including hunting large prey, the use of fire, and extensive social bonds.
The program examines an intriguing theory that long-distance running–our ability to jog–was crucial for the survival of these early hominids. Not only did running help them escape from vicious predators roaming the grasslands, but it also gave them a unique hunting strategy: chasing down prey animals such as deer and antelope to the point of exhaustion. “Birth of Humanity” also probes how, why, and when humans’ uniquely long period of childhood and parenting began.
In “Last Human Standing,” the final program of the three-part series “Becoming Human,” NOVA examines the fate of the Neanderthals, our European cousins who died out as modern humans spread from Africa into Europe during the Ice Age. Did modern humans interbreed with Neanderthals or exterminate them? The program explores crucial evidence from the recent decoding of the Neanderthal genome.
How did modern humans take over the world? New evidence suggests that they left Africa and colonized the rest of the globe far earlier, and for different reasons, than previously thought. As for Homo sapiens, we have planet Earth to ourselves today, but that’s a very recent and unusual situation. For millions of years, many kinds of hominids co-existed. At one time Homo sapiens shared the planet with Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and the mysterious “Hobbits”–three-foot-high humans who thrived on the Indonesian island of Flores until as recently as 12,000 years ago.
“Last Human Standing” examines why “we” survived while those other ancestral cousins died out. And it explores the provocative question: In what ways are we still evolving today?
A look at bizarre weather phenomena on other worlds in our solar system such as tornadoes with 6,000 MPH winds, and rain made of iron.
At 4.6 billion years old, the Solar System is our solid, secure home in the Universe. But how did it come to be? In this episode we trace the system’s birth from a thin cloud of dust and gas.
Earth: Making of a Planet – National Geographic Channel
Imagine cameras have been around since the creation of Earth to record every major event.
Take a photographic journey thorough time from the violent birth of our planet four and a half billion years ago, through ice-ages, massive volcanic eruptions and the dinosaurs’ reign to the first humans. For the first time, see the incredible story of our planet unfold in one single, seamless camera move.
A look at how the Sun was formed and how it could potentially die; its physical composition; how it makes energy; and the nature of solar eclipses, solar flares and sunspot activity.