Sep 01, 2009
Season 4 Episode 8
We spend about one third of our lives sleeping. Scientists do not know exactly why, but evidence is building that sleep plays a crucial role in strengthening memories and facilitating learning, not just in humans, but in all animals; One of our early ancestors may have been a tree climbing creature the size of a mouse. If University of Florida paleontologist Jonathan Bloch is correct, we may have to downsize our image of what it means to be a primate, the biological order that includes humans, apes, monkeys, and comparable mammals. NOVA scienceNOW goes into the field with Bloch to search for fossil remains of our missing relatives from the shadowy period after the catastrophe that doomed the dinosaurs; Some of the most dramatic earthquakes to strike North America have not been in California or Alaska, but in the heart of the country, an area centered on New Madrid, Missouri. In 1811 and 1812, a powerful string of earthquakes struck New Madrid with such force that they shifted the course of the Mississippi river and created a new lake, the Reelfoot Lake, in Tennessee. The quakes were felt in Canada, and rang church bells in Boston. But were these earthquakes freak events, or could another chain of quakes strike near New Madrid? Profile of Sang-Mook Lee, Assistant Professor of Marine Geology and Geophysics at Seoul National University, is paralyzed from the neck down. But this has not slowed him down, he continues to teach and focus on his work on tectonic plates and the formation of the worlds oceans.