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.
Richard Feynman is one of the most iconic, influential and inspiring scientists of the 20th century. He helped design the atomic bomb, solved the mystery of the Challenger Shuttle catastrophe and won a Nobel Prize. 25 years after his death - in his own words and those of his friends and family - this is the story of the most captivating communicator in the history of science.
Stonehenge is an icon of prehistoric British culture, an enigma that has seduced archaeologists and tourists for centuries. Why is it here? What is its significance? And which forces inspired its creators? Now a group of international archaeologists led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzman Institute in Vienna believe that a new state-of-the-art approach is the key to unlocking Stonehenge's secrets. For four years the team have surveyed and mapped every monument, both visible and invisible, across ten square kilometres of the sacred landscape to create the most complete digital picture of Stonehenge and the surrounding area over millennia. Known monuments have yielded more data than ever before, revealing hidden structures within, and new finds are revolutionising the very timeline of Stonehenge. The film takes the viewer on a prehistoric journey from 8000 BC to 2500 BC as the scientists uncover the very origins of Stonehenge, learning why this landscape is sacred, preserved and has been revered by following generations. Evidence of war and conflict, as well as the cultivation of ideas and industry, is explored to reveal complex communities with international trade links as far-reaching as Spain and central Europe.
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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