Animated life: Mary Leakey

8 minutes

How footprints trapped in time unlocked a mystery of early hominids

The British-born scientist Mary Leakey (1913-1996) was one the foremost paleoanthropologists of the 20th century. Alongside her husband Louis Leakey (1903-1972), she was responsible for several important breakthroughs in East African prehistory. Arguably her most important discovery occurred after her husband’s death when, during an excavation in Tanzania in 1976, she and her team found a set of 3.6-million-year-old early hominid footprints that had been improbably preserved by a combination of volcanic ash and rain. These footprints revealed, for the first time, the way in which our earliest bipedal ancestors walked upright.

This video from Sweet Fern Productions recounts how Leakey’s passion for paleoanthropology led to the discovery of what are now known as the Laetoli footprints, which continue to shape our understanding of our early ancestors – and by extension, ourselves.

Director: Flora Lichtman, Sharon Shattuck

Website: BioInteractive

Video/Knowledge

Models are always imperfect, and the ones we choose greatly shape our experience

3 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Beauty & Aesthetics

Why do audiences thrill to the negative emotions of horror fiction?

6 minutes

Video/Nature & Environment

In the murky waters of climate change, native fishers are among the most vulnerable

7 minutes

Essay/Human Rights

Caste lives on, and on

Indian society deludes itself that caste discrimination is a thing of the past, yet it suffuses the nation, top to bottom

Prayaag Akbar

Video/Poverty & Development

Pride, poverty and rapture in an Appalachian mining community where the jobs are gone

25 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Idea/Anthropology

Eating people is wrong – but it’s also widespread and sacred

Ben Thomas

Essay/Politics & Government

Age of sincerity

In politics, as in militant religion, the performance of sincerity is everything, no matter whether right or wrong

Faisal Devji

Video/Law & Justice

‘Continuously, silently screaming’ – the profound agony of solitary confinement

5 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Idea/History

A nation apologises for wrongdoing: is that a category mistake?

Danielle Celermajer