Ape-Man: Adventures In Human Evolution

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This series covers the main theories, approaches and questions well while providing a good introduction to the story of human evolution. It won't answer all your questions (on the contrary, if it gets you interested, it will raise more) but it does just about succeed in being balanced enought not to annoy palaentologists and other professionals in the field with the vague oversweeping conclusions that so many pop science shows come to.

Episode Description

1

Human

The first program in a six-part series asking what it means to be human and throws new light on ancient cave paintings found in France.

2

First-Born

The second program in a six-part series exploring evolution and the origins of human life. Tells how the discovery of a child's skeleton on the edge of the Kalahari Desert gave rise to the theory of a species that straddled the evolutionary boundary between humans and apes. Explores whether the Australopithecines or `upright apes' flourished because of their abandonment of a vegetarian diet.

3

Body

The third program in a six-part series exploring evolution and the origins of human life. Discusses the long search conducted by anthropologists since Darwin for the `missing link' between apes and man. Tells the story of how key discoveries, one in Java and the other by Richard Leakey in Kenya, 90 years apart, fixed the point at which the primate family tree divided and Homo erectus emerged. The discovery during the 1980s of a skeleton that was nicknamed Nariokotome Boy confirmed that `ape man' lived about one-and-a-half-million years ago in a body that was practically human, yet with a tiny brain and the nature of a wild animal.

4

Love

The fourth program in a six-part series exploring evolution and the origins of human life. Discusses archaeological discoveries that have revealed how Europe was colonized and uncovered a decisive moment in evolution when the human emotions of friendship, trust and love came into being.

5

Exodus

The fifth program in a six-part series exploring evolution and the origins of human life. Tells how the discovery of bones, tools and artifacts at two archaeological sites on Africa's southern coast have helped scientists to calculate that people indistinguishable from the modern human species (Homosapiens) first appeared in Africa about 150,000 years ago. Explains why those early African beach-dwellers left their homeland to colonize other continents.

6

Contact

The final program in a six-part series exploring evolution and the origins of human life. Looks for similarities between the Neanderthals who lived unchallenged in Europe for some 200,000 years and modern humans, and draws on recent archaeological findings to re-create the moment when modern humans from the east arrived and forced them to adapt or die.