Search NOVA Teachers

Back to Teachers Home

In Search of Human Origins, Part III

Program Overview

Although stereotypically cast as stupid, brutish, and subhuman, the Neanderthals were a highly successful species, surviving several ice ages and existing for over 200,000 years. Modern humans may reject any relationship with the Neanderthals, but the question of their relationship to us continues to mystify scientists. Were they our ancestors? If they weren't, what happened to them?

In this final episode, Johanson and his colleagues gather new evidence that may begin to explain the demise of the Neanderthals and the origins of modern humans. While physical similarities between some contemporary humans and Neanderthals seem to indicate an evolutionary link, fossil evidence and mitochondrial DNA testing suggest that all of us evolved from a single species of Homo sapiens that migrated out of Africa 200,000 years ago.

Teacher's Guide
In Search of Human Origins, Part III

Support provided by