Having seen some of Alan Alda's program on PBS TV I thought you'd be interested in it and also the Scientific American article which follows it.
WHAT IS THE HUMAN SPARK?
What is the nature of human uniqueness?In a three-part series originally brodcast on PBS in January 2010, Alan Alda takes this question personally, visiting with dozens of scientists on three continents -- even undergoing an examination of his own brain.
February 26, 2010 | 14 comments
Cross-discipline Effort Tracks Evolution of Human Uniqueness and Modern Behavior
A panel of scientists challenges what it is to be distinctly human and retraces the evolutionary steps that bipedal apes made to attain human traits
By David Despain
DECORATION AND HUMAN UNIQUENESS: Traditional beaded headress on the forehead of a San Bushman at sunset.
TEMPE, Arizona—Based on our capacity for thought, social learning and cooperation, humans often hold our own species in high regard compared to all other living things.
It is certainly true that the human species is a statistical outlier along several dimensions, so scientists have recently been working out a sequence of the anatomical and behavioral adaptations that were necessary across evolutionary time for our ancestors to become fully human.