From WILL - WILL Highlights -

Digging Our Past

Big Picture Science, 5 pm Saturday on WILL-AM: High-tech forensics for analyzing our past.

Person digging in the ground

What’s past is prologue. For centuries, researchers have studied buried evidence – bones, teeth, or artifacts – to learn about murky human history, or even to investigate vanished species. But today’s hi-tech forensics allows us to analyze samples dug from the ground faster and at a far more sophisticated level.

First, the discovery of an unknown species of dinosaur that changes our understanding of the bizarre beasts that once roamed North America.

And then some history that’s more recent: two projects that use the tools of modern chemistry and anthropology to deepen our understanding of the slave trade.

Plus, an anthropologist on an evolutionary habit that is strange to some, but nonetheless common all over the world: the urge to eat dirt.

• Scott Sampson – Paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and author of Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life
• Fatimah Jackson – Biologist, anthropologist, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, director of the Cobb Lab at Howard University, and advisor to EUROTAST
• Joseph Jones – Biological anthropologist, visiting assistant professor at the College of William and Mary, researcher on the African Burial Ground Project
• Sera Young – Research scientist, division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, and author of Craving Earth: Understanding Pica—the Urge to Eat Clay, Starch, Ice, and Chalk