17/11/02

Throughout human evolution, multiple versions of humans co-existed. Could we be mid-upgrade now? Juan Enriquez sweeps across time and space to bring us to the present moment — and shows how technology is revealing evidence that suggests rapid evolution may be under way.

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Glossary

  • prong – each of two or more projecting pointed parts at the end of a fork
  • odd – different to what is usual or expected; strange
  • misuse – use (something) in the wrong way or for the wrong purpose
  • pluripotent – (of an immature cell or stem cell) capable of giving rise to several different cell types
  • inconceivable – not capable of being imagined or grasped mentally; unbelievable
  • geek – a knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast
  • bottom line – the fundamental and most important factor

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Think about it

Answer the questions below. Pause at times indicated in brackets.

  • What are the three prongs in the picture? (1:18)
  • What has happened in the history of our planet five times? (2:22)
  • What is the first theory of the case as to why we’re here? (3:56)
  • How much does it take to change a species of human? What happened about 10,000 years ago? (6:02)
  • What differences between humans in the context of Olympics is Juan talking about? (8:10)
  • What does Juan illustrate by using the skier metaphor? (10:40)
  • What does Juan say about human memories? (12:27)
  • What does Juan say about possible reasons why autism is on the rise? (15:50)
  • How does Juan conclude his talk?

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Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

All right. So, like all good stories, this starts a long, long time ago ________ there was basically nothing. So here is ________ complete picture of the universe about 14-odd billion years ago. All energy is concentrated into a single point of energy. ________ some reason it explodes, and you begin to get these things. [ . . . ]

And I want you to ________ particular attention to the three little prongs ________ the center of this picture. If you take a close-up of those, they look like this. And what you’re looking ________ is columns of dust where there’s so much dust — by the way, the scale of this is a trillion vertical miles — and what’s happening is there’s so ________  dust, it comes together and it fuses and ignites a thermonuclear reaction. And so what you’re watching is the birth of stars. These are stars being born out of here. When enough stars come out, they create ________ galaxy. This one happens to be a particularly important galaxy, because you are here. (Laughter) And as you take a close-up of this galaxy, you find a relatively normal, not particularly interesting star.

________ the way, you’re now about two-thirds of the way into this story. So this star doesn’t even appear until about two-thirds of the way into this story. And then what happens is there’s enough dust left over that it doesn’t ignite into a star, it becomes a planet. And this is about a little over four billion years ago.

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Explore it more

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