A language that can be spoken, hummed, or whistled? A language with no unique words for colour or numbers? Linguistics professor Daniel Everett claims that the unique language of the Piraha people of the Amazon is exactly that. More than 30 years ago, he travelled as a missionary into the Amazon rainforest to teach the tribe, but they ended up teaching him. Their way of life and unique form of communication have profoundly changed Everett, and inspired a theory that could undermine the most powerful theory (or theorist) of linguistics.
Alice Roberts explores the latest discoveries in the study of human origins, revealing the transformation that has been brought about in this field by genetics. Traditional paleo-anthropology, based on fossils, is being transformed by advanced genome sequencing techniques. We now know that there were at least four other distinct species of human on the planet at the same time as us - some of them identified from astonishingly well-preserved DNA extracted from 50,000-year-old bones, others hinted at by archaic sections of DNA hidden in our modern genome. What's more, we now know that our ancestors met and interacted with these other humans, in ways that still have ramifications today. Alice uses these revelations to update our picture of the human family tree.
Kabwita Kasongo is a 28-year-old Congolese aspiring farmer with a young wife and three children. He earns a living making and selling charcoal while dreaming of a better future for his family. His only resources are the strength of his arms, the bushland around him, and his iron determination. When he sets out on a treacherous journey to the market in the nearest town where he hopes to sell his produce, he learns the true value of his efforts and the price he must pay to achieve his dreams.
2017 • People