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Taking Time Out

As we get ready to celebrate the New Year, we take some time out, and look at the gaps and transitions in our evolution and our personal history.

This week on the Forum: how do we find meaning from unaccustomed experiences and gaps in our history, and how does this change the way we think about ourselves. Swedish evolutionary biologist Svante Pääbo shares with us his search for our missing early human ancestors, and his findings about how our for-bears spread across the globe. American writer and former diplomat Terry Tracy vividly describes the epilepsy that has permeated her life with unpredictable and traumatic breaks in consciousness, and explains how she recovers the lost time. And Senegalese-French anthropologist Hélène Neveu Kringelbach explores how secret dance societies and cross dressing rituals in West Africa allow people to momentarily step out of their day to day lives.

Available now

41 minutes

Last on

Sun 30 Dec 2012 02:05GMT



  • Svante Pääbo

    Svante Pääbo

    Duration: 12:31

  • Terry Tracy

    Terry Tracy

    Duration: 58:58

  • 60 Second Idea

    60 Second Idea

    Duration: 05:38

  • Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

    Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

    Duration: 11:52

Svante Pääbo

Svante Pääbo
Svante Pääbo is a Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics, and Professor at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig in Germany.  He is known as one of the founders of paleogenetics, a discipline that uses the methods of genetics to study early humans and other ancient populations. In 2009, Svante led a project to complete the first draft version of the Neanderthal genome. Subsequently, Svante and his team also identified a previously unknown archaic human called the Denisovan, from DNA analysis of a finger bone found in the Denisova cave in Siberia.

Terry Tracy

Terry Tracy
Terry Tracy has worked as a human rights activist, journalist and diplomat. She has had epilepsy for 30 years and in 2007 wrote the charter for an association of disabled employees of the U.S. State Department. Her semi-autobiographical novel, 'A Great Place for a Seizure' was published in 2011. In her writing, she explains how epileptic seizures create gaps in her experience, making her timeline separate and dissociated from the rest of the world.

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach
Hélène Neveu Kringelbach is a Senegalese-French anthropologist at the Africa Studies Centre at Oxford University. She specialises in dance and social mobility in Dakar, Senegal. Much of her work has focused on women’s dances during neighbourhood events and family ceremonies and  explores how women feel liberated by dancing intensely with each other, away from the company of men.

Sixty Second Idea to Change the World

In our Sixty second idea to improve the World, writer and disability campaigner Terry Tracy suggests that everyone in the world should experience life with a disability for one month. The disability could strike at any moment, and would force people to take time out from life as they know it. Terry believes this would make people more empathetic towards those with disabilities and the challenges they face.


  • Sat 29 Dec 2012 13:05GMT
  • Sat 29 Dec 2012 23:05GMT
  • Sun 30 Dec 2012 02:05GMT