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Australia's First 4 Billion Years: Awakening

One of the strangest landscapes on Earth reveals our planet's complex history.

Runtime: 53:07Topic: Planet EarthPlanet EarthNova

(Program not available for streaming.) What can Australia reveal about how Earth was born and how life took hold? Join NOVA and host Dr. Richard Smith as they journey back to the very beginning of the Australian story in "Awakening." The first stop is Western Australia, around four and a half billion years ago, where we encounter an Earth shortly after its fiery birth. Hidden in the red hills of Australia are clues to the mysteries of when the Earth was born, how life first arose, and how it transformed the planet. Experts unveil how the earliest forms of life—an odd assortment of bacterial slime—flooded the atmosphere with oxygen, sparking the biological revolution that made animal life possible. It is the beginning of the great drama of life on Earth.

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National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.