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Alien From Earth

Program Overview


NOVA explores whether fossil finds on the Indonesian island of Flores represent a new species and investigates what impact the findings could have on the current human evolutionary time line.

The program:

  • recounts how archeologists found a small female adult that they categorized as a new species, Homo floresiensis, which became nicknamed the hobbit.

  • states that scientists used radiocarbon dating to determine that the remains were between 10,000 and 95,000 years old.

  • chronicles the currently accepted time line of human evolution.

  • presents evidence for and arguments against the hobbit qualifying as a new species.

  • notes that despite the discovery of hundreds of skulls, multiple hominin species, and thousand of bone fragments, large gaps remain in the fossil record.

  • indicates that the hobbit challenges two current assumptions: that the African savannahs were the sole cradle of humankind and that evolving a bigger body and brain is what allowed humans to leave the cradle and migrate throughout the world.

  • explores whether Homo erectus could have been the hobbit's ancestor or whether the hobbit represents ancestry that extends further back to the similar-sized Australopithecus.

  • presents some of the questions that arise if the hobbit were a descendant of Australopithecus, including the possibility that humans could have originated outside of Africa.

  • reports on findings of four small-brained adults discovered at a medieval monastery in Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after program is recorded off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Alien From Earth
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