It has long been thought that Ice Age cave paintings could provide a window to our past, but their meaning has remained a mystery. Now, using research into hallucination, the dances of the Namibian bushmen and South African rock art, experts are beginning to decode these stunning pictures. Why did our earliest ancestors leave the trees and start to walk on two legs? What were early people like? Did they have language? Were they predators or prey? Ape-Man tells the remarkable epic of our 5-million-year journey from ape to man.
The discovery of a child's skeleton on the edge of the Kalahari desert gave rise to the theory of a species that straddled the boundary between human and ape. Did these australopithecines, or "upright apes", flourish because of the abandonment of vegetarianism?
The discovery during the eighties of a skeleton that was nicknamed Nariokotome Boy confirmed that "ape-man" lived about one-and-a-half million years ago in a body that was practically human, yet with a tiny brain and the nature of a wild animal. This episode looks at how the notion of a "missing link" moved from theory to fact.
Why did our earliest ancestors leave the trees and start to walk on two legs? What were early people like? Did they have language? Were they predators or prey? ape·man tells the remarkable epic of our 5-million-year journey from ape to man. This extraordinary story has been pieced together from a host of fossil finds, prehistoric cave paintings, discarded stone tools, and traces of ancient genetic material.
The discovery of bones, tools and artefacts at two archaeological sites on Africa's southern coast have helped scientists to calculate that people indistinguishable from the modern human species (homo sapiens) first appeared in Africa about 150,000 years ago. This programme explains why these early African beach-dwellers left their homeland to colonise other continents.
Who were our ancestors? When did they first walk the earth? Why did man survive when other species became extinct? These questions have inspired scientists throughout the ages to piece together the fragmentary clues the early humans left behind.