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The programs were shot "in the trenches" where discoveries were unearthed throughout Africa and Europe. Featuring interviews with world-renowned scientists, each hour unfolds with a CSI-like forensic investigation into the life and death of a specific hominid ancestor. 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—putting together the pieces of our human past and transforming our understanding of our earliest ancestors.

Fossils not only give us clues to what early hominids looked like, but, with the aid of ingenious new lab techniques, how they lived and how we became the creative, thinking humans of today. Part 1, "First Steps," examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. More than 6,000,000 years ago we took that first step to separate from the apes.

The program explores the fossil of "Selam," also known as "Lucy's Child." Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil. And we now know that for millions of years, many different human-like species lived together on the planet, until one day there was only us: Homo sapiens, the most complex, adaptable animal on Earth. A radical new theory reveals how episodes of cataclysmic change forced our ancestors to adapt or die.

NOVA's cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of this 3.3 million-year-old fossil child. So get ready for a ride through millions of years of our history.

And NOVA takes viewers "inside the skull" to show how our ancestors' brains had begun to change from those of the apes. It's the story of Becoming Human—our story, right now on NOVA.

Humans: without a doubt, the smartest animal on Earth. Millions of years ago, we were apes, living ape lives in Africa. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the following: Natural gas is a cleaner-burning fuel, yet a lot of natural gas has impurities like CO2 in it.

Last modified 01-Feb-2016 06:07