40,000 years ago the steppes of Eurasia were home to our closest human relative, the Neanderthals. Recent genetic and archaeological discoveries have proven that they were not the dim-witted cave dwellers we long thought they were. In fact, they were cultured, technologically savvy and more like us than we ever imagined! So why did they disappear? We accompany scientists on an exciting search for an answer to this question and come to a startling conclusion... A climate change due to a cataclysmic event.
A remarkable 200-million-year-old fossil - the bones of an ichthyosaur, a giant sea dragon - has been discovered on the Jurassic coast of Britain. David Attenborough joins the hunt to bring this ancient creature's story to life. Using state-of-the-art imaging technology and CGI, the team reconstruct the skeleton and create the most detailed animation of an ichthyosaur ever made. Along the way, the team stumble into a 200-million-year-old murder mystery - and only painstaking forensic investigation can unravel the story of this extraordinary creature's fate.
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.
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