The Real Neanderthal Man
42,000 Years ago, the only humans in Europe made clothes, educated their young, made tools. But they weren't the same as us. Now the very latest technology can reveal exactly how they lived, the dangers they faced and the communities they made in the Neander valley in Germany. We all know the word "Neanderthal" to be an unflattering qualifier for some of our more uncultured and dim-witted fellow humans. But was the real Neanderthal man truly such an intellectual dunce? The Real Neanderthal Man looks at modern...
Posted in: Evolution, Science
The Link: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestors
Meet “Ida,” the small “missing link” found in Germany that’s created a big media splash and will likely continue to make waves among those who study human origins. In this documentary paleontologist Jorn Hurum, who led the team that analyzed the 47-million-year-old fossil seen above, suggests Ida is a critical missing-link species in primate evolution. The fossil, he says, bridges the evolutionary split between higher primates such as monkeys, apes, and humans and their more distant relatives such as...
Posted in: Evolution
The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey
By analyzing DNA from people in all regions of the world, geneticist Spencer Wells has concluded that all humans alive today are descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 60,000 years ago. Modern humans, he contends, didn't start their spread across the globe until after that time. Most archaeologists would say the exodus began 100,000 years ago—a 40,000-year discrepancy. Wells's take on the origins of modern humans and how they came to populate the rest of the planet is bound to be...
Posted in: Evolution, Science
The Four-Winged Dinosaur
In 2002, the discovery of a beautiful and bizarre fossil astonished scientists and reignited the debate over the origin of flight. With four wings and superbly preserved feathers, the 130 million-year-old creature was like nothing paleontologists had ever seen before. In this program, NOVA travels to the Chinese stone quarry where the fossil was discovered (a famed fossil treasure trove) and teams up with the world’s leading figures in paleontology, biomechanics, aerodynamics, animation, and scientific...
The Family That Walks on All Four
An intense scientific debate has ignited around a quiet but extraordinary family living in rural Turkey-a family with five adults who walk on all fours. Since bipedalism has long been considered one of the defining characteristics of modern humans, such a discovery raises fascinating questions about genetics, society, and the evolutionary history of our species. Is this the anthropological find of the millennium, or simply a unique medical case? NOVA sets out to unravel the controversy and meet the individuals who...
The Day We Learned to Think
Understanding of humans' earliest past often comes from studying fossils. They tell us much of what we know about the people who lived before us. There is one thing fossils cannot tell us; at what point did we stop living day-to-day and start to think symbolically, to represent ideas about our environment and how we could change it? At a dig in South Africa the discovery of a small piece of ochre pigment, 70,000 years old, has raised some very interesting questions. Anatomically modern...
Posted in: Evolution
The Ape That Took Over The World
In 2001, scientists announced an amazing discovery: the oldest skull of a human ancestor ever found. The 3½ million year old fossil was remarkably complete, and unlike any previous fossil find. Its discovery - by a team led by Meave Leakey of the famous Leakey fossil-hunting family - has revolutionised our understanding of how humans evolved. The great mystery of our evolution is how an ape could have evolved into the extraordinary creature that is a human being. There has never been another animal like us on...
Posted in: Atheism, Evolution
Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watch Maker
One of the earliest efforts from Richard Dawkins in his identification and attack on the rise of creationism with the rising star of the US fundamentalist christian demographic. In the important documentary, Dawkins shows ways to easily refute some of the more common creationist arguments. Dawkins begins with the question, "Did everything in Creation fall together by chance or was there an intelligent designer like God?" He then looks at the spreading disaffection with Darwinism and argues that it should not be...
Pedigree Dogs Exposed
Pedigree dogs are suffering from genetic diseases following years of inbreeding, an investigation has found. A BBC documentary says they are suffering acute problems because looks are emphasised over health when breeding dogs for shows. The programme shows spaniels with brains too big for their skulls and boxers suffering from epilepsy. The Kennel Club says it works tirelessly to improve the health of pedigree dogs. Pedigree animals make up 75% of the seven million dogs in the UK and cost their owners...