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Why did humans start behaving like humans 90,000 years ago? Hidden mountains under Antarctica, can science be diplomatic, and penguins, satellites and space – what’s the link?

We humans pride ourselves on our culture. Our tools, our ideas and innovations, and our art. They’re all passed on within our societies, and help shape who we are. These so called ‘modern human behaviours’ appeared suddenly around 90 thousand years ago, but at different times in different geographical areas. Something must have been happening to prompt the change – but exactly what has been a mystery. Jon Stewart meets researchers who think they have solved the problem.

An example of early human tools was presented in public for the first time in 150 years this week… archaeologists showed a crudely fashioned hand axe that once helped change our view of our origins. Science in Action reporter Roland Pease was there to find out more.

What role should scientists take in international relations, and diplomacy? Eminent researchers, politicians, and even the odd diplomat were at London’s Royal Society to see if science can help bring peace to the Middle East or ease nuclear tensions. Our reporter, Tracey Logan was there.

This week a hidden world under the ice in Antarctica was revealed – a range of mountains, up to 3000 meters high. We talk to the lead researcher behind the discovery – why didn’t we know they were there – and now that we do, how does it change our thinking?

We are a step closer to solving one Antarctic mystery though – what happens to emperor penguins in the middle of winter, when they move deep onto sea ice to breed. It’s hard to monitor them, which makes it hard to keep track of their population numbers. So how do satellites and reddish brown marks on the ice.

26 minutes

Last on

Sun 7 Jun 2009 03:32GMT


Gravitational Waves

Gravity and ripples in the fabric of space time - what do these mean for us?