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Becoming Human – Last Human Standing (NOVA Documentary)


Last Human Standing examines the fate of the Neanderthals, our European cousins who died out as modern humans spread from Africa into Europe during the Ice Age. Did modern humans interbreed with Neanderthals or exterminate them? The program explores crucial evidence from the recent decoding of the Neanderthal genome. How did modern humans take over the world? New evidence suggests that they left Africa and colonized the rest of the globe far earlier, and for different reasons, than previously thought. As for Homo sapiens, we have planet Earth to ourselves today, but that’s a very recent and unusual situation. For millions of years, many kinds of hominids co-existed. At one time Homo sapiens shared the planet with Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and the mysterious „Hobbits“ three foot high humans who thrived on the Indonesian island of Flores until as recently as 1 000 years ago. Last Human Standing also examines why we survived while those other ancestral cousins died out and poses the question: are we still evolving today? Nothing is more fascinating to us than, well, us. Where did we come from? What makes us human? NOVA’s groundbreaking investigation explores how new discoveries are transforming views of our earliest ancestors. Featuring interviews with world renowned scientists, footage shot in the trenches as fossils were unearthed, and stunning computer generated animation, Becoming Human brings early hominids to life, examining how they lived and how we became the creative and adaptable modern humans of today. In the first episode, NOVA encounters Selam, the amazingly complete remains of a 3 million year old child, packed with clues to why we split from the apes, came down from the trees, and started walking upright. In gripping forensic detail, the second episode investigates the riddle of Turkana Boy a tantalizing fossil of Homo erectus, the first ancestor to leave Africa and colonize the globe. What led to this first great African exodus? In the final episode, Becoming Human explores the origins of us where modern humans and our capacities for art, invention, and survival came from, and what happened when we encountered the mysterious Neanderthals. Crucial new evidence comes from the recent decoding of the Neanderthal genome. Did modern humans interbreed with Neanderthals? Exterminate them? Becoming Human examines why we survived while our other ancestral cousins including Indonesia’s 3 foot high Hobbit died out and poses the question: are we still evolving today?

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