Symphony of Science: "Children of Africa"

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In the most recent installment of the Symphony of Science series, composer John Boswell uses clips from various BBC shows, Quest for Fire (!), and the words of: Jacob Bronowski, Alice Roberts, Carolyn Porco, Jane Goodall, Robert Sapolsky, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and David Attenborough. The song is about human origins in Africa, and draws a line from the first humans to modern humans who now go to space. It's worth a look if you've followed the series; the auto-tuning is relatively tasteful, though there is a repetitive quality to this particular song.

This is the tenth installment in Boswell's series. For more _floss coverage, search the site. I still think the first song, "A Glorious Dawn," is the best.

After the jump, check out a transcript of the lyrics.

[Jacob Bronowski]
Man is a singular creature;
He has a set of gifts which make him unique among the animals
So that unlike them, he is not a figure in the landscape
He is the shaper of the landscape

[Alice Roberts]
We are all children of Africa
They say this is where it all began

[Bronowski]
In a parched African landscape
Man first put his foot to the ground

[Roberts]
Africa was our only home
for tens of thousands of years
until a small handful of people made their way
out of Africa

[Carolyn Porco]
These beings with soaring imagination
Eventually flung themselves and their machines
Into interplanetary space

[Roberts]
We are all children of africa
This landscape has been home to humans
Two hundred thousand years

[Porco]
We have come so far
All of this is cause for great celebration
We have come so far
This is a story about us

[Roberts]
Those early Europeans
Were people like you and me
But it is humbling
When you see the challenges they faced

People like you and me
Overcame the Neaderthals
People like you and me
Made it through the ice age

[Refrain]

[Jane Goodall]
We are not the only beings
With personalities, minds, and feelings
Chimpanzees have very clear personalities

[Robert Sapolsky]
Take a chimp brain foetally
And let it go two or three more rounds of division
And out comes symphonies and ideology

[Neil deGrasse Tyson]
Everything that we are
That distinguishes us from chimps
Emerges from that one percent
Difference in DNA

[Roberts]
People like you and me
Overcame the Neaderthals
People like you and me
Made it through the ice age

[Refrain]

[David Attenborough]
Using his burgeoning intelligence,
This most successful of all mammals
Has exploited the environment to produce food
For an ever increasing population.

Instead of controlling the environment
For the benefit of the population
Perhaps it's time we controlled the population
To allow the survival of the environment

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July 7, 2011 - 10:57am
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