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20171103

People often talk about being descended from apes. But go back a bit further and we have a more unlikely ancestor – fish. Improbable as it may sound, the creature that gave rise to every bird, reptile and mammal on Earth today lived a fully aquatic life.

So how did it switch to life on land? And how hard was it to swap swimming for walking and breathing fresh air? That’s what CrowdScience listener Pierre in France wants to know, and what Marnie Chesterton is in Scotland to find out. She goes fossil hunting with members of the TW:eed Project team, as they try to uncover remains of creatures that are crucial in helping solve the puzzle of terrestrial life. She also discovers the landscape these early ancestors walked into – an alien and relatively empty world completely different to what we see today - where grass and flowers were yet to evolve.

But not everything in this story is preserved in rock. Marnie goes to see a living relic of this period of evolution, and finds out what it can tell us about possibly the most important event in the history of our species.

Do you have a question we can turn into a programme? Email us at crowdscience@bbc.co.uk

Presenter: Marnie Chesterton
Producer: Anna Lacey

(Image: Artists impression of underwater environment of Carboniferous swamp depicting a rhizodont; a large predatory fish. Credit: Mark Witton)

How Can We Fight Unwanted Noise?20171030

Can science and engineering tackle annoying, ear-damaging sounds?

Unpleasant man-made noise is something that disturbs many of us and even damages our health. But as millions more people move into crowded cities around the world, it's a cacophony that we almost unavoidably create ourselves. CrowdScience listener Diana from New York City in the USA got in touch to ask how we can temper the din and live a more peaceful life. Presenter Anand Jagatia heads to an acoustics lab at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK, to meet the researchers and engineers investigating the best ways to make cities more pleasant for our ears whilst still maintaining the ‘buzz’ of city life. And reporter Chhavi Sachdev takes us to Mumbai in India, where we discover how sound mapping is being deployed on the city’s streets as the first step to improve the life and health of its citizens.

Do you have a question we can turn into a programme? Email us at crowdscience@bbc.co.uk

Presenter: Anand Jagatia
Producer: Jen Whyntie

(Image: Children cover their ears as the truck convoy front passes. Credit: Getty Images)