In The Story of the Human Body, evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman explains how our bodies haven't adapted to modern conditions. The result is "mismatch diseases" -- ailments that occur because our bodies weren't designed for the environments in which we now live.
The latest techniques in DNA analysis have opened a window on the history of human evolution. Nicholas Wade, a science reporter for The New York Times, chronicles this new avenue of science in his book Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors.
This interview was originally broadcast on April 19, 2006.
Nicholas Wade, science reporter for The New York Times, examines what we've learned about our human ancestors using the latest techniques in DNA analysis in his new book, Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors.
He was the co-leader of the team that discovered three very important skulls in Ethiopia. The human remains are about 160,000 years old and offer evidence of the earliest ancestors of modern humans. They bolster the theory that modern humans emerged in Africa and are not related to Neanderthals, who lived in Europe. White is a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Today it was announced that scientists had unearthed in Ethiopia the first nearly complete skull of the earliest recognized human ancestors. It's that of a male who lived three million years ago, giving a face to the species first identified in 1974 with the discovery of the skeleton named "Lucy." Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson discovered Lucy and was part of the team to make this new discovery. The discovery could settle the debate of whether various fossils from this time period were from a single species, Australopithecus afarensis, or from different species.
Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould. Gould is a professor of geology and curator at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. He writes columns for "Natural History Magazine" and "Discover Magazine," and has written several books, including the award-winning "The Mismeasure of Man." Gould uses his writing and teaching to illuminate and demystify the scientific method and to provide a historical perspective on science for the layman.