The Human Spark

What is the nature of human uniqueness? Where did "The Human Spark" ignite, and when? And perhaps most tantalizingly, why? In this three-part series, Alan Alda takes these questions personally, visiting with dozens of scientists on three continents, and participating directly in many experiments - including the detailed examination of his own brain. Bringing his trademark humor and curiosity to face-to-face conversations with leading researchers, he seeks "The Human Spark" - from archaeologists finding clues in the fossilized bones and tools of our ancestors; to primatologists studying our nearest living relatives to explore what we have in common and what sets us apart; to neuroscientists peering into his mind with the latest brain scanning technologies.

Episode 1 - Becoming Us

Episode 1 - Becoming Us
Where and when did the Human Spark first ignite? Alan Alda confronts the puzzle of why our ancestors got the Spark and evolved into us, while the first humans to leave Africa for Europe - the Neanderthals - never did.

Episode 2 - So Human, So Chimp
Alan Alda joins researchers studying our fellow apes - mainly chimpanzees, our closest living relatives - to discover both what we share with them, and what we have that has evolved since we went our separate ways.

Episode 3 - Brain Matters
Alan Alda gets a highly detailed scan of his brain. This image is the starting point for a search within his brain - as well as the brains of others - for the essential components of the Human Spark.

Related Links
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Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors
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Planet of the Apemen: Battle for Earth
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Origins of Us
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