Ape Man (2000)
Videos in this documentary
Why did our earliest ancestors leave the trees and start to walk on two legs? What were early people like? Did they have language? Were they predators or prey? ape man tells the remarkable epic of our 5-million-year journey from ape to man. This extraordinary story has been pieced together from a host of fossil finds, prehistoric cave paintings, discarded stone tools, and traces of ancient genetic material. In this dramatic and highly readable account, Robin McKie, Science editor of The Observer, unravels the saga of how these discoveries have allowed us to build up a picture of our ancestors’ lives. It is a gripping scientific detective story that reveals how our world has come to be dominated by a single primate species: Homo sapiens.
The clues to our past include astonishing human-like footprints, preserved in volcanic ash sediments for over 3.5 million years, made by creatures — half-ape, half-man — already walking on two legs; a startlingly well-preserved skeleton unearthed at Lake Turkana, Kenya, revealing the grim life-and-death story of an 11-year-old boy who lived on the African savannah 1.5 million years ago; and minute DNA samples which some scientists believe will help them trace back the lineage of Homo sapiens to one African woman who lived 200,000 years ago. Illustrated with evocative recreations of early man and his landscapes, photographs of the human fossils and the palaeontologists who discovered them, and maps of key fossil sites, this book — which accompanies the ground-breaking new BBC television series ape-man — unravels the clues, the setbacks, the human dramas and the scientific disputes to tell the astonishing story of our ancestry.