Searching for humanity's roots: Zeresenay Alemseged on TED.com

Posted by: Tedstaff

Zeresenay “Zeray” Alemseged has been digging the badlands of Ethiopia, looking for clues to humanity’s origins. Here he talks about one of his most exciting finds: the 3.3-million-year-old bones of Selam, a 3-year-old hominid child, from the species Australopithecus afarensis. In studying Selam’s tiny bones, Alemseged is searching for the points at which we humans became human. (Recorded June 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania. Duration: 16:08.)

Watch Zeresenay Alemseged’s talk on TED.com, where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances.

Read more about Zeresenay Alemseged on TED.com.

Comments (1)

  • Susan Plunkett commented on Sep 24 2007

    I found this an interesting talk. I would have loved to know more about what climate this little girl lived in, what her diet was, perhaps her life expectancy and if there is any forensic information to hand about how she died. I think shows like Walking With the Dinosaurs were so impressive because they led you into the realm and rather than just being an outsider with nose pressed against glass, you gained a sense of inner sanctum knowledge. I think discussion of Salem could go that additional step and ‘fill out’ a sense of her and her existence. The talk as is is subject to disputes on evolution so perhaps a parallel thematic about the forensic ethnography of Salem’s life would be valuable in ensuring her life is not swept away by the power of other theoretical debate.