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Becoming Human: First Steps

   2010    History
Where did we come from? What makes us human? Groundbreaking investigation explores how new discoveries are transforming views of our earliest ancestors. Featuring interviews with world-renowned scientists, footage shot in the trenches as fossils were unearthed, and stunning computer-generated animation, Becoming Human brings early hominids to life, examining how they lived and how we became the creative and adaptable modern humans of today. In the first episode Selam, the amazingly complete remains of a 3 million year-old child, packed with clues to why we split from the apes, came down from the trees, and started walking upright.
Series: Becoming Human

Ape Man: Search for the First Human

   2005    Science
After eight grueling years of hunting in the hot, wind-scoured desert of central Africa, an international team of researchers has uncovered one of the most sensational fossil finds in living memory: the well-preserved 7 million years old skull of a chimp-size animal, probably a male, that doesn't fit any known species. According to paleontologist Michel Brunet of the University of Poitiers in France, whose team reported the find in Nature last week, there is no way it could have been an ape of any kind. It was almost certainly a hominid — a member of a subdivision of the primate family whose only living representative is modern man.

The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Fifth Ape

   2008    Culture
Richard Dawkins deals with some of the philosophical and social ramifications of the theory of evolution. Dawkins starts out in Kenya, speaking with palaeontologist Richard Leakey. He then visits Christ is the Answer Ministries, Kenya's largest Pentecostal church, to interview Bishop Bonifes Adoyo. Adoyo has led the movement to press Kenya's national museum to sideline its collection of hominid bones pointing to man's evolution from ape to human.[5] The collection includes the Turkana Boy discovered by Kamoya Kimeu, a member of a team led by Richard Leakey in 1984. Dawkins discusses social darwinism and eugenics, explaining how these are not versions of natural selection, and that 'Darwin has been wrongly tainted'. He then meets with evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker to discuss how morals can be compatible with natural selection. He goes on to explaining sexual selection, with peafowls as an example. To find out whether sexual selection plays a role for altruism and kindness among humans, he visits women who are looking for sperm donors, as well as a sperm bank manager. Dawkins also explains kin selection and selfish genes.

Birth of Humanity

   2010    History
We will nvestigate the first skeleton that really looks like us –Turkana Boy– an astonishingly complete specimen of Homo erectus found by the famous Leakey team in Kenya. These early humans are thought to have developed key innovations that helped them thrive, including hunting large prey, the use of fire, and extensive social bonds. The program examines an intriguing theory that long-distance running –our ability to jog– was crucial for the survival of these early hominids. Not only did running help them escape from vicious predators roaming the grasslands, but it also gave them a unique hunting strategy: chasing down prey animals such as deer and antelope to the point of exhaustion. Birth of Humanity also probes how, why, and when humans' uniquely long period of childhood and parenting began.
Series: Becoming Human

Last Human Standing

   2010    History
xamines the fate of the Neanderthals, our European cousins who died out as modern humans spread from Africa into Europe during the Ice Age. Did modern humans interbreed with Neanderthals or exterminate them? The program explores crucial evidence from the recent decoding of the Neanderthal genome. How did modern humans take over the world? New evidence suggests that they left Africa and colonized the rest of the globe far earlier, and for different reasons, than previously thought. As for Homo sapiens, we have planet Earth to ourselves today, but that's a very recent and unusual situation. For millions of years, many kinds of hominids co-existed. At one time Homo sapiens shared the planet with Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and the mysterious "Hobbits"–three-foot-high humans who thrived on the Indonesian island of Flores until as recently as 12,000 years ago. "Last Human Standing" examines why "we" survived while those other ancestral cousins died out. And it explores the provocative question: In what ways are we still evolving today?
Series: Becoming Human
Seven Ages of Rock
Seven Ages of Rock

   2007    Art
The Story of Science
The Story of Science

   2010    History
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
The Secrets of Quantum Physics
The Secrets of Quantum Physics

   2014    Science
Empire of the Tsars
Empire of the Tsars

   2017    History
A Traveler Guide to the Planets
A Traveler Guide to the Planets

   2010    Science
Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature
The Crusades
The Crusades

   2012    History