Why are we violent?

786As CARTA co-director Ajit Varki so aptly put it in his concluding remarks, “It was an intellectually stimulating and fascinating but deeply disturbing symposium.”

From interactions in lions and our hominid cousins the chimpanzees, to our Pleistocene ancestors and early human cultures to modern society, CARTA gathered scientists across the spectrum from neurophysiology to sociology to bring their respective microscopes to bear upon the question of aggression within the human species, its role in our development, its causes and its consequences.

While the data are at times grim, disturbing and depressing, it is an important look at an inescapable (or is it?) feature of human evolution, the use of aggression and violence.

Hopefully, if one can remain dispassionate, we are led to ask, can it evolve out of us?

Watch the latest programs from CARTA on Male Aggression and Violence in Human Evolution to learn more.

Behaviorally Modern Humans: Interbreeding with Archaic Humans

There are many theories as to how humans evolved to who we are today.

Fossils tell us that there once existed many human-like species, such as the Neanderthals, that had similar yet archaic skull shapes. Some people believe that there was just one ancestor of our modern species who evolved into the species we are today — but that straightforward trajectory seems too simple to be evolutionarily possible. Another theory suggests that there were many variations of our ancestors, but whose lineages did not persist as ours did. Eventually, modern humans replaced those sub-human species — but not before our ancestors interbred with them to create the variations of humans we have today.

In this episode of the latest CARTA series, Behaviorally Modern Humans: The Origins of Us, Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum of London takes us through his analysis of the fossil record to present his theory on how humans and our ancestors evolved and dominated the globe. Then, Michael Hammer from the University of Arizona discusses the possibility of interbreeding of human subspecies to create the species known as modern humans. Followed by Richard “Ed” Green of UC Santa Cruz who also talks about the possibility of interbreeding, but with species even outside of Africa.

Watch “Behaviorally Modern Humans: Interbreeding with Archaic Humans” to see what you really know about your family history.

Don’t miss other episodes in this new series!

New Series! Behaviorally Modern Humans: The Origin of Us

This latest CARTA series, Behaviorally Modern Humans, the Origin of Us, explores the questions of when, where and how humans evolved into the modern species we are today and what set us apart from the other human species on the planet that we replaced.

This first episode in the series, African Climate of the Last 400,000 Years, East African Archaeological Evidence, and South African Archaeological Evidence examines the latest evidence from multiple disciplines to answer these questions about our origins.

First, Rick Potts of the Smithsonian Institution introduces an analysis of the climate in which our ancient ancestors lived 400,000 years ago in Africa. His talk is followed by Alison S. Brooks of George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution, who discusses what archaeological evidence can tell us about our past in East Africa. Then, Lyn Wadley from University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg discusses what clues are hidden in the archaeological finds of South Africa.

See what you might learn about your history and stay tuned for more episodes in this series!

Discover more anthropology videos from UCSD-TV.

Is the Human Mind Unique?

There’s plenty that goes on in these heads of ours — sometimes more than we want or understand. But just how much does the way our minds work distinguish us from other species?

In the latest series from UC San Diego’s CARTA, scientists from different fields discuss the cognitive abilities that are often regarded as unique to humans, including humor, morality, symbolism, creativity and preoccupation with the minds of others. They assess the functional uniqueness of these attributes, as opposed to the anatomical uniqueness, and whether they are indeed quantitatively or qualitatively unique to humans.

Watch “Is the Human Mind Unique?” and then tell that brain of yours to click on over to the CARTA video archive for more intriguing insights into what makes us human.

April News & Highlights

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Featured This Month
Program Highlights
New to Video On-Demand


FEATURED THIS MONTH

An Evening with Poet Billy Collins


Don’t miss this chance to enjoy American poet Billy Collins as he reads a selection of humorous poems and discusses the craft of writing with Dean Nelson and an appreciative audience at the keynote event of the 2013 Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University.

An Evening with Billy Collins
Premieres April 1 at 8pm

Find more video from past 
Writer’s Symposium by the Sea events
.


Is the Human Mind Unique?

New from CARTA, scientists from different fields discuss cognitive abilities often regarded as unique to humans, including humor, morality, symbolism, creativity and preoccupation with the minds of others. They assess the functional uniqueness of these attributes, as opposed to the anatomical uniqueness, and whether they are indeed quantitatively or qualitatively unique to humans.

Is the Human Mind Unique? Premieres April 8.


To Be Musical Concludes

We wrap up the six-part series on what makes music musical this month with two fascinating presentations. On April 2 at 9pm, Grammy-winning soprano and UCSD Professor of Music Susan Narucki presents “Utterance, Ritual, Expression: Why Singing Makes Us Human.”

Then on April 16, Diana Deutsch, UCSD Professor of Psychology, shows the striking difference in how people hear simple musical patterns in “Musical Illusions, Perfect Pitch and Other Curiosities.”

Browse all To Be Musical programs.


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

All programs repeat throughout the month. Visit the Program Schedule on our web site for additional air dates and times.

Health & Medicine

Living for Longevity: The Nutrition Connection

More >>

Science

“Perspectives on Ocean Science”

Genetics and Gray Whale Behavior

More >>

Public Affairs

Global Climate Change and Emerging Infectious Disease with Stanley Maloy and Alan Sweedler –The Silent Spring Series

Transforming Conflict through Nonviolent Coalitions with Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee

More >>

Arts & Music Arts & Music

Murder in the Cathedral – Opera Spotlight

Aida – Stars in the Salon

Aida – Opera Spotlight

More >>

Check out the latest additions to our online video archive

Travel Medicine – Health Matters

Federalism at the Border: Immigration Policy and the States, with Gabriel Chin

More videos and podcasts>>