Dawn of Humanity

Deep in a South African cave, an astounding discovery reveals clues to what made us human. Premiering online Thursday, September 10 and airing Wednesday, September 16. Premiering online Thursday, September 10 and airing Wednesday, September 16.

Program Description

NOVA and National Geographic present exclusive access to a unique discovery of ancient remains. Located in an almost inaccessible chamber deep in a South African cave, the site required recruiting a special team of experts slender enough to wriggle down a vertical, pitch-dark, seven-inch-wide passage. Most fossil discoveries of human relatives consist of just a handful of bones. But down in this hidden chamber, the team uncovered an unprecedented trove—so far, over 1,500 bones—with the potential to rewrite the story of our origins. They may help fill in a crucial gap in the fossil record and tell us how Homo, the first member of the human family, emerged from ape-like ancestors like the famous Lucy. But how did hundreds of bones end up in the remote chamber? The experts are considering every mind-boggling possibility. Join NOVA on the treacherous descent into this cave of spectacular and enigmatic finds, and discover their startling implications for the saga of what made us human.

Broadcast Credits

PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Graham Townsley
EDITED BY
Emmanuel Mairesse
CAMERA
Tony Miller
Garrreth Bird
Neil Barrett
Stafford Robinson
Willem van Heerden
Brandon Ziegenfuss
Vicente Franco
Henry Smith
NARRATED BY
Jay O. Sanders
COORDINATING PRODUCER
Monica Barrios
PRODUCTION MANAGER
Hallye Galbraith
SENIOR PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Chaneé Patterson
SOUND RECORDISTS
André Feldmann
Paul Rusnak
Patrick Tobin
Ray Day
Greg Breazeale
Sven Klopper
Scott Roebuck
Kuz Randhawa
ASSISTANT CAMERA
Eddie Francis
Andrew Trost
Shawn Lyles
Justin Cain
Daniel Stigler
John Vrilakas
MUSIC
Robert Neufeld
ARTWORK
Viktor Deak
ANIMATION
Jellyfish
POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
Brett Reinke
ASSISTANT EDITOR
Russell Hawkins
ONLINE EDITOR
Kelli Boyd
COLORIST
Dave Markun
AUDIO MIX
Brian Callahan
RESEARCH
Chesapeake Sacks
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Rachelle Keeling
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Cosima Amelang
ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
F.I.L.M. Archives, Inc.
Science Source, Photo Researchers, Inc.
Time Inc., LIFE
Viktor Deak
Story Design, LTD.
Jean-Philippe Charbonnier/ Getty Images
Dmitri Kessel/ Getty Images
Popperfoto/ Getty Images
Ichiro/ Getty Images
SPECIAL THANKS
Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site Management Authority
Gauteng Provincial Government
Gauteng Tourism Authority
South African Heritage Resources Agency
People of the Republic of South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand
Jacobs Family
Nash Family
Malapa Nature Reserve
South African National Research Foundation
Story Design LTD.
Chateau Tivoli
University of Missouri
Dave Dornlas
American Museum of Natural History
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Smithsonian Institution
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STUDIOS
Jared Lipworth
NOVA SERIES GRAPHICS
yU + co.
NOVA THEME MUSIC
Walter Werzowa
John Luker
Musikvergnuegen, Inc.
ADDITIONAL NOVA THEME MUSIC
Ray Loring
Rob Morsberger
CLOSED CAPTIONING
The Caption Center
POST PRODUCTION ONLINE EDITOR
Spencer Gentry
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Jennifer Welsh
PUBLICITY
Eileen Campion
Eddie Ward
SENIOR RESEARCHER
Kate Becker
NOVA ADMINISTRATOR/dt>
Ariel Ramirez-Stich
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Linda Callahan
PARALEGAL
Sarah Erlandson
TALENT RELATIONS
Janice Flood
LEGAL COUNSEL
Susan Rosen
DIGITAL MANAGING PRODUCER
Kristine Allington
SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR
Tim De Chant
DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA
Lauren Aguirre
DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE
Lisa Leombruni
RIGHTS MANAGER
Lauren Miller
UNIT MANAGER
Ariam McCrary
POST PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Brittany Flynn
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Kevin Young
POST PRODUCTION EDITOR
Michael H. Amundson
BROADCAST MANAGER
Nathan Gunner
BUSINESS MANAGER
Elizabeth Benjes
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER
David Condon
PROJECT DIRECTOR
Pamela Rosenstein
COORDINATING PRODUCER
Laurie Cahalane
SENIOR SCIENCE EDITOR
Evan Hadingham
SENIOR PRODUCER
Chris Schmidt
SENIOR SERIES PRODUCER
Melanie Wallace
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Julia Cort
MANAGING DIRECTOR
Alan Ritsko
SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paula S. Apsell

A Production of NOVA and National Geographic Studios for WGBH Boston

© 2015 NGHT, LLC and WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

This program was produced by WGBH, which is solely responsible for its content.

IMAGE:

Image credit: (Cradle of Humankind, Africa)
Courtesy: Flowcomm / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Participants

Zeresenay Alemseged
California Academy of Sciences
Lee Berger
University of the Witwatersrand
Pedro Boshoff
Fossil Hunter
Steven Churchill
Duke University
Viktor Deak
Paleo-Artist
Elen Feuerriegel
Australian National University
William Harcourt-Smith
American Museum of Natural History
John Hawks
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Amanda Henry
Max Planck Institute
K. Lindsay Hunter
Sepela Field Programs
Rick Hunter
Donald Johanson
Institute of Human Origins
Job Kibii
University of the Witwatersrand
Hannah Morris
Chena Consulting Group
Rick Potts
Smithsonian Institution
Patrick Randolph-Quinney
University of the Witwatersrand
Brian Richmond
American Museum of Natural History
Peter Schmid
University of the Witwatersrand
Michael Tomasello
Max Planck Institute
Steven Tucker
Carol Ward
University of Missouri
Celeste Yates
University of the Witwatersrand

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