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Becoming Human Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors

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Product Details

  • Actors: Narrator: Lance Lewan
  • Directors: Graham Townsley
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Public Broadcasting Service
  • Release Date: Feb. 9 2010
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • ASIN: B002TCRQ6I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,612 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Nothing is more fascinating to us than, well, us. NOVA’s groundbreaking investigation explores how new discoveries are transforming views of our earliest ancestors. Featuring interviews with renowned scientists, footage shot as fossils were unearthed, and stunning computer-generated animation, Becoming Human brings early hominids to life, examining how they lived and how we became the creative and adaptable modern humans of today.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 257 reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Collects thee episodes of the acclaimed documentary series NOVA March 13 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: DVD
Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors collects thee episodes of the acclaimed documentary series NOVA exploring what the latest scientific discoveries tell us about the earliest human ancestors - and what makes us human today. The first episode, "Selam", shows how clues from the remains of a 3 million year-old child suggest why and how humanity first came down from the trees and started walking upright. The second episode applies forensics to the mystery of "Turkana Boy", a fossil of Home erectus, the first human ancestor to leave Africa and begin colonization of the globe. What caused this African exodus? The final episode, "Becoming Human", examines how human capacities for art, invention, and survival developed, and the mystery of humanity's interaction with the early Neanderthals. Did humans interbreed with Neanderthals, or cause their extermination? Why did "we" survive when other ancestral cousins died out? An extraordinary collection, and a choice pick especially for public library DVD collections and the libraries of anyone curious about the origins of humanity in prehistoric times. 3 hours, widescreen, closed captioned. Also highly recommended is the NOVA documentary "What Are Dreams? Inside the Sleeping Brain" (56 min., widescreen, closed captioned).
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Odyssey in Our Hominoid Past to Meet Our Earliest Ancestors June 1 2010
By Serge J. Van Steenkiste - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
NOVA does a great job of explaining to its audience how Homo Sapiens ultimately became the "winner-take-all" hominoid species. On location photography, interviews with renowned experts, and computer-generated animation allow viewers to better understand how Homo Sapiens became the final (read current) outcome of a long evolution spread over millions of years. Viewers should not be surprised that this investigation of our ancestors will be the subject of an updated documentary. For example, the researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology recently revised their initial conclusions that there was no interbreeding at all between Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthalis based on their further study of their respective ADN. In summary, NOVA makes a noteworthy contribution to vulgarizing the science of evolutionary anthropology to the attention of a wide audience.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding documentary April 6 2010
By Guy P. Harrison - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love this DVD. Great visuals, great narration and fairly up-to-date. It's the sort of documentary one can watch many times.

I highly recommend "Becomming Human". Nova does great work and this is one of their best, in my view. This is a brilliant overview of the human story and as humans we should all know that story!

In addition to "Becoming Human," I also recommend the following DVDs:

Walking With Cavemen

Evolution Boxed Set

National Geographic - Search for the Ultimate Survivor

--Guy P. Harrison, author of "Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity" and "50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God" (a skeptical analysis of common justifications for religious belief)
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
More irrefutable evidence that evolution is real Dec 25 2010
By Larry A. Ownbey - Published on
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
An outstanding choice for anyone who is curious who we are and where we come from. This is a very well presented documentary that presents the overwhelming evidence of our origins. They do a really good job of showing how they test hypotheses with empirical evidence and laboratory procedures. In this outstanding presentation they show how (DNA) genetic conservation also very strongly supports the theory of our origins. Becoming Human [Blu-ray]
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent video to introduce human evolution in class Nov. 25 2011
By FishLight - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I use this series to introduce both what we know about the somewhat winding roads of human evolution but also the processes by which we study human evolution to a college Evolution class (I think it is more than clear enough to use with younger students, however). I especially like the segment on Homo floresiensis, which emphasizes that we continue to discover and wrestle with mysterious species and what they tell us about the arc of evolution. I emphasize multidisciplinary thinking in my classes and this series makes it clear that what we know about human evolution comes from a variety of fields, from classic paleontologists digging bones in Africa to cultural anthropologists making inferences from ancient burial sites to molecular geneticists extracting ancient DNA from Neanderthals. Along those lines, they present a very nice introduction to molecular clocks that they use throughout the three videos. As with any video of this nature, there is a bit more story-telling than I wish there were - particularly the story about Turkana boy that strays quite far from the narrative about the evidence - but overall, it represents the best and most up-to-date and modern understanding of human origins available at this point in time.

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