Adventures In Human Evolution

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This landmark series about the evolution of man answers fundamental questions. Who were our ancestors? When did they first walk the earth? Why did man survive when other species became extinct? These questions have inspired scientists throughout the ages to piece together the fragmentary clues the early humans left behind.

This direct and involving story of their detective work in search of the truth about our evolution takes us through the breakthroughs and setbacks in the epic journey towards the truth about our shared past, and we discover that our early ancestors were, in many ways, people like us. At the heart of this series are stunning dramatic recreations which bring into focus the lives of the early humans.

Human - It has long been thought that Ice Age cave paintings could provide a window to our past, but their meaning has remained a mystery. Now, using research into hallucination, the dances of the Namibian bushmen and South African rock art, experts are beginning to decode these stunning pictures.

First Born - 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 boundary between human and ape. Did these australopithecines, or upright apes, flourish because of the abandonment of vegetarianism?

Body - The discovery during the eighties 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. This episode looks at how the notion of a missing link moved from theory to fact.

Love - Archaeological discoveries have revealed how Europe was colonised and have uncovered a decisive moment in our evolution when the human feelings of friendship, trust and love came into being.

Exodus - 'The discovery of bones, tools and artefacts at two archaeological sites on Africa's southern coast have helped scientists to calculate that people indistinguishable from the modern human species (homo sapiens) first appeared in Africa about 150,000 years ago. This programme explains why these early African beach-dwellers left their homeland to colonize other continents.

Contact - For 200,000 years the Neanderthals lived unchallenged in Europe with no need to change their lifestyle. But 30,000 years ago climate upheaval and the arrival of modern humans from the east forced them to adapt or die. This final programme in the series exploring evolution seeks similarities between the Neanderthals and modern humans and, drawing on the latest archaeological findings, re-creates the moment when the two species converged in Europe.