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Complete program description for educators
  Series Overview |  Show 1 |  Show 2 |  Show 3 |  Show 4 |  Show 5 |  Show 6 |  Show 7
Show 6: The Mind's Big Bang

57 minutes, 8 DVD chapters

  Chapter 1. Prologue (3:09)  

Introduction to the show's theme: changes in human development and the birth of creativity

  • Searching French caves for early human paintings
  • The birth of the human mind and human expression

  Chapter 2. Stone Age Tools (7:45)  

Early tool-making and the evolution from hominid to human

  • Archeological research into hominid artifacts
  • Paleolithic hominids and their development of tools
  • The evolution of hominids and modern humans
  • Human migration out of Africa

  Chapter 3. The World's First Beads (7:16)  

Early modern humans using technology to express social identity

  • Excavating a Turkish cave, home for early modern humans
  • The discovery of 43,000-year-old beads, the oldest in the world
  • Migration of early humans across Europe
  • Beads as evidence of the mind's "big bang": humans' creative and cultural beginnings

  Chapter 4. Neanderthals and Humans (7:07)  

Technological and social differences between modern humans and Neanderthals

  • Description of Neanderthals, another descendent of hominids
  • Comparing Neanderthal and human burials; human use of symbols and art, while no evidence of Neanderthal symbolic life
  • Examining Neanderthal and human hunting tools
  • Human communication and expression, no Neanderthal equivalents

  Chapter 5. Modern Humans and Art (2:49)  

Exploring early modern humans' art and music

  • Studying cave art techniques
  • Why did early modern humans create this art?
  • Cave instruments and music

  Chapter 6. Components of the Human World (7:31)  

The evolution of the modern human brain

  • Biological changes in the brain and its wiring
  • Studying chimpanzees to understand human social behavior before the human mind's "big bang"
  • Humans and a theory of mind; we can recognize and infer others' thoughts

  Chapter 7. Language (11:41)  

Language's importance to human relationships and culture

  • The critical window for learning language
  • Studying a new sign language in Nicaragua for parallels to early language development
  • The significance of syntax (rules) in all human languages
  • The evolutionary advantages of language

  Chapter 8. Cultural Evolution (9:11)  

Cultural forces surpassing biological forces in determining human evolution

  • Through behavior, humans copy and pass along memes (ideas, habits, skills) that are the building blocks of cultural evolution
  • Human ingenuity triumphing over biological evolution, with the examples of diabetes and insulin, near-sightedness and glasses
  • Changes in human lifestyle over the past 50,000 years have more to do with the evolution of memes, not genes

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