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In Search of Human Origins, Part I

Program Overview

For most of the past century, scientists searching for the missing link on the evolutionary path from apes to humans held the theory that our earliest ancestors probably resembled apes but had larger brains. Their theory was based on the idea that the central feature separating humans from primates is intelligence. Therefore, it came as a surprise when, in the 1970s, anthropologists found bone fossils of a small-brained, apelike species that walked upright on two feet and that lived over three million years ago. These findings prompted the development of a new theory of human development: our ancestors walked on two feet before they developed large brains. In this first episode of a three-part series, anthropologist Donald Johanson and his team demonstrate how they collect and analyze fossil evidence, and how they are attempting to answer the questions raised by their new theory.

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