Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Filmography - Evolution: S - Z

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2012

Filmography - Evolution

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2012.

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library. To search the library’s complete videos holdings on evolutionary topics (including VHS tapes) keyword searches in the library catalog will be necessary:

Over 800 videos on biology subjects (too numerous to list here) are available streaming through Films On Demand:

Films-On-Demand titles are password-protected and will require a login for students and faculty who wish to access them from off-campus.

The secret life of the brain. 2001.  3 videodiscs (300 min.). This series explores the startling new map of the brain that has emerged from the past decade of neuroscience and shares a revelatory view of this most complicated organ, which now contradicts much of what we previously believed. Narrated by actress Blair Brown, the series tells stories through a mix of personal histories, expert commentary and cutting-edge animation. Viewers will not only learn startling new truths about the brain, they will voyage inside it. DVD 7232


Secrets of the sequence Genetics/heredity 1. 2007.  1 streaming video file (62 min.). This compilation of video segments provides a wide-ranging look inside genetic science and what it reveals about human life and evolution. Case studies and expert interviews take viewers through recent genetic breakthroughs as well as their moral, ethical, and legal implications. The episodes are: Lab of the Future: Sequencing the human genome has transformed biology, turning it into an information science in which computing power is the key tool. This segment shows how the new computer-driven genetics has begun to unlock the secret of life. Array of Life: It took scientists decades to learn how to sequence the human genome. Now it is being done every day in labs across the country-thanks to a groundbreaking research method. This report sheds light on the procedure known as gene microarray analysis. The Code Cracker: In this segment, viewers meet Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project at NIH. Unlike many of his colleagues, Collins rejected the promise of earning millions in the private sector and is as concerned with the ethics of genetic research as he is with the science itself. The Double's Double Helix: Find out why a pair of twins underwent DNA testing to determine if they were conceived from one egg, thus making them monozygotic, or from two, which would mean they are dizygotic twins. Night of the Twisted Helix: The human genome is far from being a fixed target. Discover why we are all mutants under the skin, why some mutations are good and others bad, and why it is not so much the spelling of the human genome as its misspelling that makes the difference. Genes of Risk Taking: What makes someone want to be a skydiver, a fighter pilot, or a race car driver? This segment looks at the genetic factors behind a thrill-seeking personality-and why, if the addiction isn't satisfied, depression or more serious illnesses can set in. A Gene Called Ace: New research suggests the existence of one amazing gene that can predict a person's level of physical fitness-and perhaps even offers a cure for cancer. This report presents a remarkable British study on the ACE gene. (61 minutes).  Streaming video


Secrets of the sequence Genetics/heredity 2. 2007.  1 streaming video file (61 min.). This compilation of video segments offers a further look at genetic science and what it reveals about human life and evolution. Case studies and expert interviews take viewers through recent genetic breakthroughs as well as their moral, ethical, and legal implications. The episodes are: Facts of Life: This report on the Ychromosome reveals more than just its link to maleness. It illustrates the role of the Yin determining that only men are prone to certain diseases, and why it is only a small number of Ygenes that seem to be responsible for a lot of malebehavior. Attack on the Clones: Human culture has been evolving for millennia, but at some point, genetic engineering could alter the species itself. This report studies the social and political debate raging at the crossroads of human evolution and biotechnology-with guests Jerry Falwell, Christopher Reeve, Leon Kass, Arthur Kaplan, and Francis Fukuyama. The Cloning Question: To clone or not to clone? This report highlights the fierce debate over the cloning of human embryos, sifting through the differences between therapeutic and reproductive cloning while presenting the arguments of those who oppose all such procedures. Patent Pending: Should genes be owned and patented? Does the payoff always go to Big Pharma corporations? What happens when two determined parents patent the genetic code of the disease afflicting their children? This report explores the issue, including the creation of PXE International, a model gene-research advocacy group. Xenografts: Will pigs eventually make up the shortfall in transplant organs? Will genetically modifying the pigs and inducing tolerance in patients make the grafts possible, or will the diseases and differences prove insurmountable? This segment searches for answers. DNA in the Family Tree: Researchers in Utah are creating a global family tree-collecting genetic and genealogical information from 100,000 individuals around the world. This segment shows how the database will address issues that traditional written records can't resolve. Daughters of Eve: Mitochondrial DNA does more than help cops catch criminals. It can trace human lineage-150,000 years into the past. This segment outlines the fascinating genetic theory of Mitochondrial Eveas well as other surprising notions about evolution and biodiversity. Justice DNA: A growing number of criminal cases succeed or fail based on DNA evidence. This segment shows how the new technology is freeing the innocent, convicting the guilty, and changing the way law enforcement investigates and prosecutes crimes. (60 minutes).  Streaming video


The sexes. 99.  1 streaming video file (53 min.). From childhood on, biological and social factors combine to shape an individual's sexual identity. In this program, Ruben Gur, Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Pennsylvania; sociologist Rhoda Reddock, of the University of the West Indies; philosopher Elisabeth Badinter; historians Arlette Farge and Jennifer Stoddart; and others evaluate gender-related behavioral models from a variety of times and places, ranging from ancient Babylon to the contemporary U.S. Other topics include the shifts in female status that have accompanied society's evolution from hunter/gatherers, to farmers, to industrialists. (53 minutes). Streaming video


The shape of life The complete journey. 2002.  4 videodiscs (424 min.). The story of the beginnings of all animal life using innovative camera techniques and computer animation. This series celebrates the splendors and struggles of evolution, unveiling eight biological designs which are the underpinnings of nearly all animal life.  DVD 4171-4174


The storm breaks How Darwin linked plant and animal studies. 2008.  1 streaming video file (59 min.). Today his name is closely associated with human evolution. Why, then, was Charles Darwin such a tireless observer of plants? This program illustrates Darwin's quest to further support his assertions in On the Origin of Species using the familiar surroundings of his garden. Science interpreter Jim Doherty guides viewers through Darwin's studies of insect-eating plants, including the common sundew and the Venus flytrap. Then he re-creates the means by which Darwin monitored climbing plants, contemplated the sexual nature of plants and flowers, and investigated cross-fertilization. Showing how these botanical studies informed Darwin's view of all living things, the program culminates in an overview of the 1860 Oxford debate on the merits of his ideas. Original Open University broadcast title: The Storm Breaks. (59 minutes).  Streaming video


The story of Lucy. 94.  In search of human origins.  1 videodisc (55 min.). In 1974 Don Johanson unearthed Lucy, at almost 3 million years of age, our oldest human ancestor. Lucy's tiny three-and-a-half-foot skeleton set the world of paleoanthropology on its ear. Lucy walked upright and provided evidence that a larger brain was the key difference between early man and the ape. In this film Johanson recounts his discovery of Lucy as he returns to the site of his find in Ethiopia and expounds upon the important information it still continues to generate.  DVD 9551-9553


Synesthesia When the senses overlap. 2004.  1 streaming video file (50 min.). Synesthesia may be a brain disorder, but those afflicted rarely complain about the symptoms. This program examines the unusual condition, outlines its appearances in medical history, and describes new theories and speculation surrounding it. Identifying well-known artists, writers, and musicians who may have experienced crossed signalsin their sensory perceptions-including Wassily Kandinsky and Miles Davis-the video presents the possibility that tasting sounds or seeing numbers in color may actually occur to a lesser degree in most people, and that synesthesia could even have driven the evolution of language. Original BBCW broadcast title: Derek Tastes of Earwax. (50 minutes).  Streaming video


The theory of inheritance. 92.  1 streaming video file (26 min.). Darwin's theory of natural selection, to be valid, required explanations for both the origin of variation and for the inheritance of variants. John Maynard Smith explains Lamarck's theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics (in which Darwin believed), Weismann's theory of separate inheritance lines of germ and soma, Mendel's experiments and explanations, and the discovery of the role of DNA in the transmission of genetic information. (26 minutes).  Streaming video


Thinking big. 2003.  1 streaming video file (58 min.). This program brings together six icons of intellect-mathematician John Nash, mathematical biologist Martin Nowak, mathematician Enrico Bombieri, mathematical physicist Freeman Dyson, cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz, and pianist Robert Taub-who talk about milestones on their roads to success. In the process, they range far and wide, covering topics such as game theory, the evolution and cultural adaptation of language, the Riemann hypothesis, genetic engineering, nuclear-powered spacecraft, the ethnography of Southeast Asia and North Africa, Beethoven's piano sonatas, and even the movie A Beautiful Mind. (57 minutes).  Streaming video


Unlocking language. 98.  1 streaming video file (29 min.). Approximately 70,000 years ago, humankind began talking, and hasn't stopped since. In this fascinating program, a diverse group of experts-an evolutionary linguist, a neurologist, a geneticist, a neuropsychologist, a developmental cognitive neuroscientist, and an Oxford professor of communication-discuss the birth, development, and transmission of the mysterious phenomenon called language. Topics explored include the ability of language to express abstractions; the role of evolution in the development of languages; language as an innately guided behavior in unborn babies, infants, and toddlers; the parts of the brain involved in language; the relationship between genes and language disorders; and the isolation of the Speech 1 gene. (29 minutes).  Streaming video


War of the sexes Spatial abilities. 2005.  1 streaming video file (46 min.). Packing the trunk, finding the right road, parking in a tight spot-are these masculine tasks, best accomplished with a man's mechanical aptitude and spatial reasoning? This program resists broadly brushed stereotypes, but does identify disparities in the ways men and women operate machines, manipulate tools, focus on tasks, and navigate. Accompanying two teams as they race to organize and complete an extended car trip, the program juxtaposes a woman's use of personal reference points and outside assistance with the male penchant for self-reliance and schematic course-plotting-while observations from psychologists and neurologists link these tendencies with brain evolution. (45 minutes).  Streaming video


A war on science Intelligent design in the classroom. 2006.  1 streaming video file (51 min.). Are advocates of the intelligent design theory really creationists in disguise? To what extent has the I.D. argument widened America's cultural divide? And if a clear winner emerges, who loses? This program thoroughly examines those questions, describing the theory's quasi-scientific origins and documenting the Pennsylvania court battle over teaching I.D. in biology classes. A historical overview of the creation vs. evolution debate in the United States is also included, highlighting 20th-century struggles over separation of church and state and the troubling implications these issues present for American education. Original BBCW broadcast title: A War on Science. (50 minutes).  Streaming video


Water babies. 2001.  1 streaming video file (29 min.). Did the ancestors of the human race go through a crucial semi-aquatic phase? This balanced program examines the latest evidence that water played a major role in human evolution and assesses how it stands up to the traditional Savanna Theory proposed by Darwin. Preeminent critics and adherents of the Aquatic Ape Theory discuss such key points as humans' unique diving reflex and voluntary breath control; the connection between brain development and long-chain fatty acids found in marine foods; links with schizophrenia research; and the fossil record. (29 minutes).  Streaming video


Where are the aliens? 2004.  1 streaming video file (60 min.). In this program, host Neil deGrasse Tyson explores such provocative questions as: would "ETs" resemble us or the creatures of science fiction? Are there "aliens" already amongst us on Planet Earth--brainy creatures whose intelligence is very different from our own? And are planets on which life can flourish rare or common in our universe? Part of the series Origins: 14 Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Distributed by PBS Distribution. (60 minutes). Streaming video


Why do we talk? The science of speech. 2009.  1 streaming video file (52 min.). The average person will speak approximately 370 million words in his or her lifetime-a simple fact. And yet the underlying structures-sociological, anatomical, developmental, intellectual-have proved to be some of science's most impenetrable mysteries. This program spotlights researchers who are unlocking the deepest secrets of speech: Deb Roy and the Human Speechome Project; Tecumseh Fitch and his study of vocal tract positioning in animals; Cathy Price, who is piecing together a speech-related map of the brain; William Fifer and his study of the roots of language reception in babies; Ofer Tchernichovski, who is conducting The Forbidden Experiment with zebra finches; Faraneh Vargha-Khadem and the isolation of speech gene FOXP2; and Simon Kirby, whose Alien Language Experiment illustrates the evolution of language from random to structured. Special guest: Noam Chomsky. Original broadcast title: Why Do We Talk? A BBC/Science Channel Co-production. (53 minutes). Streaming video


Why humans have legs The missing link. 2001.  1 streaming video file (50 min.). When paleontologist Per Ahlberg discovered a strange fossil overlooked for decades at a museum in Latvia, he knew he was onto something. In this astounding program, Ahlberg and Jenny Clack, of the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology; Ted Daeschler, of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences; and Keith Thomson, of the Oxford University Museum, reexamine the evolution of the first tetrapods. Their research leads to Livoniana-a creature identified through cladistic analysis as part fish, part land animal-and prompts a revolutionary theory of why humans have legs. Duane Gish, of the Institute for Creation Research, dissents. Original BBCW broadcast title: The Missing Link. (50 minutes).  Streaming video