December 11, 2011
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Becoming Human is an online documentary guided by the paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson. He is the person who discovered the fossils of the female human ancestor named Lucy and the creator of the Institute of Human Origins, a non-profit research institution devoted to the study of prehistory. The documentary begins with a short journey through time which serves as an exiting introduction to the documentary emphasizing on our relationship with history and culture.
The first chapter of the story describes his first journeys to Hadar, Ethiopia and the subsequent discovery of great magnitude one of the oldest fossils of our human ancestors. It opened up a major new window into human origin together with new insights to our ancestral past. Although older hominid fossils have been found, this served as a catalyst for later discoveries.
The anatomy of our ancestors provides a clue as to how they lived and evolved through time and is the topic of the second part. Anatomic and molecular studies have revealed that our closest living relative is the African Chimpanzee. This means that we shared a common ancestor. This section covers the environmental transition during time and bipedalism.
The next section deals with discussions and findings about lineage of our early ancestors such as Neanderthals. It is a detailed investigation into the difference between them and early modern humans, how they interacted together and the extinction of the first.
There are several locations where one can find ancient art on stone walls and in caves around the globe, both in Europe and Australia. It shows that there was a vivid culture at that time and the last chapter deals with this particular subject. It almost serves as a message from the past and is an incredible gift.
There are special features in abundance on this website in association with the documentary. This includes both in-depth and related information, such as the scientific method, reconstructing environments, exploring an excavation, genetics and evolution, tools, the quest for fire, the origin of languages and much more.