The first episode of Becoming Human -- a three-part NOVA documentary
on what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid
relatives -- will air on November 3, 2009, on public broadcasting
stations around the country. According to NOVA:


Part 1, "First Steps," examines the factors that caused us to split
from the other great 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.
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. And
NOVA takes viewers "inside the skull" to show how our ancestors'
brains had begun to change from those of the apes. Why did leaps in
human evolution take place? "First Steps" explores a provocative "big
idea" that sharp swings of climate were a key factor.


Further information about the film, including a preview, interviews,
and interactive features, is available at NOVA's website. Information
on finding local public broadcasting stations is available via PBS's

For further information, visit:

For information on local stations, visit:

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I found it very interesting to consider brain size correlating with bipedalism. Also, the way the skull fastens to the spine uncovers whether the 'child' walked upright in a human way or whether it was more apelike and needed arms and legs to walk. The efficiency of the human gait had never occurred to me...they showed a chimp on a treadmill and showed how "inefficient" they are....comical.

All the plaster type casts of brains and the details that could be extrapolated...fascinating. In additon, all the links that are needed in the chain from ape to human...and how advanced technology can unearth all these secrets. Archeologists must be the most patient people on this planet!


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