Alice Roberts explores the latest discoveries in the study of human origins, revealing the transformation that has been brought about in this field by genetics. Traditional Palaeoanthropology, based on fossils, is being transformed by advanced genome sequencing techniques. We now know that there were at least four other distinct species of human on the planet at the same time as us - some of them identified from astonishingly well-preserved DNA extracted from 50,000-year-old bones, others hinted at by archaic sections of DNA hidden in our modern genome. What's more, we now know that our ancestors met and interacted with these other humans, in ways that still have ramifications today. Alice uses these revelations to update our picture of the human family tree.
The series takes place after the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago and recreates animals of the Cenozoic with computer-generated imagery and animatronics. The first episode starts 49 million years ago, when Earth has fully recovered from the dinosaur extinction and is covered in a mysterious forest. This is a time that the world has almost forgotten - Germany was a hot sweaty jungle, birds ruled the earth and preyed on miniature horses and whales walked on land.
Category:Science Duration:29:03 Series: Walking with Prehistoric Beast
Located in an almost inaccessible chamber deep in a South African cave, the site required recruiting a special team of experts slender enough to wriggle down a vertical, pitch-dark, seven-inch-wide passage. Most fossil discoveries of human relatives consist of just a handful of bones. But down in this hidden chamber, the team uncovered an unprecedented trove—so far, over 1,500 bones—with the potential to rewrite the story of our origins". They may help fill in a crucial gap in the fossil record and tell us how Homo, the first member of the human family, emerged from ape-like ancestors like the famous Lucy. But how did hundreds of bones end up in the remote chamber? The experts are considering every mind-boggling possibility. Join us on the treacherous descent into this cave of spectacular and enigmatic finds, and discover their startling implications for the saga of what made us human.
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