Animated interactive of the history of the Atlantic slave trade. Source: slavevoyages.org For the full interactive version, use a larger device. Interactive by Andrew Kahn. Background image by Tim Jones. Usually, when we say “American slavery” or the “American slave trade,” we mean the American colonies or, later, the United States. But as we discussed in Episode 2 of Slate’s History of American Slavery Academy, relative to the entire slave trade, North America was a bit player. The Human Journey: Migration Routes When humans first ventured out of Africa some 60,000 years ago, they left genetic footprints still visible today. By mapping the appearance and frequency of genetic markers in modern peoples, we create a picture of when and where ancient humans moved around the world. These great migrations eventually led the descendants of a small group of Africans to occupy even the farthest reaches of the Earth. Our species is an African one: Africa is where we first evolved, and where we have spent the majority of our time on Earth. The earliest fossils of recognizably modern Homo sapiens appear in the fossil record at Omo Kibish in Ethiopia, around 200,000 years ago. Although earlier fossils may be found over the coming years, this is our best understanding of when and approximately where we originated.
Unknown dinosaur almost blown to oblivion Image copyright S Brusatte A newly discovered species of dinosaur has been identified from an extraordinarily complete Chinese fossil almost destroyed by dynamite. It was preserved raising its beaked head, with feathered wings outstretched in the mud it was mired in when it died 72 million years ago. The new creature has been named Tongtianlong limosus, "muddy dragon on the road to heaven". The discovery is published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. "It was found at a construction site by workmen when they were dynamiting, so they nearly blasted this thing off the hillside," said University of Edinburgh palaeontologist Dr Stephen Brusatte.
5 ways to find out about sex in the wild Biologist Carin Bondar (TED Talk: The birds and the bees are just the beginning) studies how animals get down and dirty. The details are often bizarre but fascinating. “We hit topics hard, and not just for the quirk factor, but because there is a lot of cool science behind so many strange mating rituals,” she says of stories she tells with humor and aplomb. Below, she recommends five ways you can find out more about a topic you likely never knew you wanted to know about.
Catalyst: Denisovans - ABC TV Science Dr Jonica NewbySometimes, I like to ponder the big questions, like who are we? Where do we come from? And did we ever have sex with Neanderthals? 667 - Pop! Goes the World: 7.2 Billion and Counting by Frank Jacobs The world has added over 800 million people over the last decade – a number so vast it is almost meaningless. Unless you convert it to more familiar units of measurement: Four Brazils. Two and a half times the U.S. More than half of China. Earth - Your life on earth Explore BBC Earth's unique interactive, personalised just to you. Find out how, since the date of your birth, your life has progressed; including how many times your heart has beaten, and how far you have travelled through space. Investigate how the world around you has changed since you've been alive; from the amount the sea has risen, and the tectonic plates have moved, to the number of earthquakes and volcanoes that have erupted. Grasp the impact we've had on the planet in your lifetime; from how much fuel and food we've used to the species we've discovered and endangered. And see how the BBC was there with you, capturing some of the most amazing wonders of the natural world. Explore, enjoy, and share with your friends either the whole page, or your favourite insights.
Drilling Deep: How Ancient Chinese Surgeons Opened Skulls and Minds Near the beginning of the 3rd century in ancient China, Han Dynasty leader Cao Cao is said to have called upon a famous doctor named Hua Tuo to treat a headache. Cao Cao had received said headache from a hallucinatory dream that occurred after attacking a sacred tree with his sword, according to the classic 14th century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Hua Tuo, known today as the father of Chinese surgery, was already famous for treating a number of other patients successfully. Historical accounts credit him for his fame with acupuncture, surgery and for the use of an herbal drug mixture (possibly including marijuana or opium), which made him one of the first known doctors in the world to use anesthetics. The surgeon took the warlord's pulse and determined a tumor was to blame. Then Hua Tuo made his best medical recommendation: Cao Cao needed to get a hole drilled in his head.
Here's the tiny human twig in the Tree of Life Each Christmas, the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) gets a little bit festive, releasing a special edition filled with goofy research papers. The science is real, but the topics are ridiculous. Last year, papers covered topics such as the origins of magic, how much James Bond really drank, and the physical responses to a public unicycler. This year, the highlight comes in the form of a paper led by a 15-year-old student Ben Alexander Daniel Lendrem, from the King Edward VI School in the UK, and his dad Dennis Lendrem, a statistician from the UK's Institute of Cellular Medicine, who studies the behaviour of human decision-making. The premise of their paper is their ‘Male Idiot Theory’ (MIT), and with this in mind, they examined all past winners of the infamous Darwin Awards.
Australian Story - 14/10/2002: Rock Heart Transcript 14/10/2002 8:00 Rock Heart Producer: Rebecca LathamResearcher: Hello, I'm Caroline Jones. Tonight's program takes us to the Kimberley and the puzzle of some of the oldest and most beautiful rock art anywhere in the world. Grahame Walsh has devoted his life to documenting the Bradshaw paintings - ancient rock art which he attributes to a mystery race quite separate from Aboriginal people. This claim, together with his unconventional methods, has outraged the academic establishment and also upset some Aboriginal groups, who worry that his theories could be used to undermine native title rights.
US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs by Frank Jacobs Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a convenient way of measuring and comparing the size of national economies. Annual GDP represents the market value of all goods and services produced within a country in a year. The Origin of Humans Is Surprisingly Complicated HUMAN FAMILY TREE used to be a scraggly thing. With relatively few fossils to work from, scientists' best guess was that they could all be assigned to just two lineages, one of which went extinct and the other of which ultimately gave rise to us. Discoveries made over the past few decades have revealed a far more luxuriant tree, however—one abounding with branches and twigs that eventually petered out.
The astonishing science behind the desert’s mysterious fairy circles The “fairy circles” of the Namib Desert exhibit strikingly regular spatial patterns, which have long mystified observers. (Jen Guyton) No one is certain what causes the enigmatic “fairy circles” of the Namib Desert. The rings of burnt orange dirt, each impeccably round and enclosed in a fringe of tall, tufted grass, emerge suddenly from the spare landscape. Over the course of decades they expand — some become big enough to fit a school bus — then fade, as if they are creatures that live and die.
The evolution of the human eye - Joshua Harvey The evolution of the human eye has long been regarded as a contentious issue. It was believed to be an example of irreducible complexity – that is something that could not have evolved, because any precursor to the fully evolved form would be non-functioning. Wikipedia gives a good overview of the concept.