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NOVA: Becoming Human: Last Human Standing - Part Three

Airs Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: This definitive three-part special on human evolution combines interviews with renowned scientists and the most recent, groundbreaking discoveries with vivid images of our earliest ancestors to tell the first comprehensive story of our human past. Pictured: Examples of the work of paleoartist Viktor Deak.

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.

Dr. Zeray Alemseged re-enacts the discovery of the Australopithecus afarensis  fossil called "Selam" in Dikika, Ethiopia, using a cast of the real fossil.
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Above: Dr. Zeray Alemseged re-enacts the discovery of the Australopithecus afarensis fossil called "Selam" in Dikika, Ethiopia, using a cast of the real fossil.

The final program, “Last Human Standing,” probes a wave of dramatic new evidence, based partly on cutting-edge DNA analysis, that reveals new insights into how we became today’s creative and “behaviorally modern” humans and what really happened to the enigmatic Neanderthals who faded into extinction.

Shot “in the trenches” as discoveries were unearthed throughout Africa and Europe, each hour of “Becoming Human” unfolds with a forensic investigation into the life and death of a specific hominid ancestor, such as Lucy’s Child.

Dry bones spring back to vivid life with stunning animation, the product of a unique NOVA collaboration between top anthropologists and a talented team of movie animators.

This episode will be broadcast following part one "First Steps" at 8 p.m., and part two "Birth Of Humanity" at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31.

Video

Video Excerpt: NOVA: Becoming Human, Part 3

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

Above: The final program, “Last Human Standing,” probes a wave of dramatic new evidence, based partly on cutting-edge DNA analysis, that reveals new insights into how we became today’s creative and “behaviorally modern” humans and what really happened to the enigmatic Neanderthals who faded into extinction.