NOVA: Becoming Human: Birth Of Humanity - Part Two
Airs Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV
Friday, November 6, 2009
Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives.
Part Two, “Birth of Humanity,” investigates 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 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.
Part three: "Last Human Standing," which examines why, of various human species that once shared the planet, only our kind remains, will air at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31.