Some fifty thousand years ago, our human ancestors invented sophisticated tools, and they developed art and religion. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a look back to the dawn of human culture - as we continue our series on human origins. Also, why some knowledge should remain forbidden.
University of Reading archaeologist Steven Mithen tells Judith Strasser that about sixty thousamd years ago, human culture erupted in a sort of "Big Bang." He thinks it's because our ancestors' brains began to function in new ways using symbolic and communication skills that had been evolving for millennia. Mithen is the author of "The Prehistory of the Mind." Also, UC-Berkeley anthropologist Meg Conkey tells Jim Fleming that impressive as the pre-historic cave paintings are, they aren't all there is to ancient art. What's really interesting is what the artifacts can tell us about the people who made them.SEGMENT 2:
Paul Rozin is a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. He tells Steve Paulson that our ancestors were remarkable for being able to figure out what was food and what wasn't. After all, guessing wrong could be fatal, and scientists still have no idea how they figured it out.SEGMENT 3:
Cultural historian Roger Shattuck tells Steve Paulson that it is impossible to control the uses to which new knowledge will be put and that some things are better left unknown. Shattuck is the author of "Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography."
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