Out of Africa

Out of Africa

BBC World Service

About this episode

The last great "out of Arica" movement of our ancestors swept out of the northeast of the continent 74,000 years ago. Archaeologist John Kappelman of the University of Texas brings us an update to this complex tale in the form of animal carcasses.

We take a trip to Oxford to meet some of postgraduate researcher Ally Morton-Hayward's archive of preserved brains. Not only is Ally shining a light on these underappreciated brains, she is also using them to unlock a rich treasure-trove of information about our ancestors and how they were preserved.

How do you develop and promote a vaccine against a widespread but neglected parasite? Maria Elena Bottazzi from Baylor College of Medicine is in India promoting their latest development in creating a hookworm vaccine that works against these life-limiting childhood parasites.

And, is the Chandra X-Ray Observatory at risk? In a decision that has shocked astronomers, the functioning telescope is on the chopping block because of NASA budget cuts. We hear from Belinda Wilkes of Bristol University about Chandra’s impressive history and why it should keep going.

Presenter/producer: Roland Pease
Researcher: Katie Tomsett
Production co-ordinator: Jana Bennett-Holesworth

(Image: Sunset in savannah of Africa. Credit: Anton Petrus via Getty Images)