Science and Nature

First Peoples

See how the mixing of prehistoric human genes led the way for our species to survive and thrive around the globe. Archaeology, genetics and anthropology cast new light on 200,000 years of history, detailing how early humans became dominant.

Europe

54m 42s

When Homo sapiens turned up in prehistoric Europe, they ran into the Neanderthals. The two types of human were similar enough – intellectually and culturally - to interbreed. But as more Homo sapiens moved into Europe and the population increased, there was an explosion of art and symbolic thought which overwhelmed the Neanderthals.

Episodes

  • Europe: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Europe

    S1 E5 - 54m 42s

    When Homo sapiens turned up in prehistoric Europe, they ran into the Neanderthals. The two types of human were similar enough – intellectually and culturally - to interbreed. But as more Homo sapiens moved into Europe and the population increased, there was an explosion of art and symbolic thought which overwhelmed the Neanderthals.

  • Australia: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Australia

    S1 E4 - 54m 42s

    When humans arrived in Australia, they were, for the first time, truly alone, surrounded by wildly different flora and fauna. How did they survive and populate a continent? There is a close cultural and genetic link between early Australians and modern-day Aborigines; here the ancient and modern story intersect as nowhere else.

  • Asia: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Asia

    S1 E3 - 54m 42s

    Discover the ancient humans living across Asia when Homo sapiens arrived. Our ancestors mated with them and their genes found a home within our DNA. More than that, they’ve helped us face down extinction.

  • Africa: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Africa

    S1 E2 - 54m 41s

    200,000 years ago Homo sapiens appeared on the African landscape. While scientists have long imagined eastern Africa as a real-life Garden of Eden, the latest research suggests humans evolved in many places across the continent at the same time. Now, DNA reveals that our ancestors continued meeting, mating and hybridizing with other human type — creating ever greater diversity within us.

  • Americas: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Americas

    S1 E1 - 54m 41s

    As early humans spread out across the world, their toughest challenge was colonizing the Americas because a huge ice sheet blocked the route. It has long been thought that the first Americans were Clovis people, who arrived 13,000 years ago. But an underwater discovery in Mexico suggests people arrived earlier — coming by boat, not on foot.

Extras + Features

  • The First Modern European: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The First Modern European

    S1 E5 - 2m 14s

    Deep inside a Romanian cave, archaeologist Joao Zilhao and his team uncover a modern human, amongst the bones of prehistoric bears. On First Peoples: Europe, Zilhao describes the "extreme archeaology" needed to examine the cave.

  • A Human Hybrid?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Human Hybrid?

    S1 E5 - 1m 28s

    When Homo sapiens turned up in prehistoric Europe, they ran into the Neanderthals. The two types of human were similar enough – intellectually and culturally - to interbreed.

  • My Ancestors: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    My Ancestors

    S1 E4 - 2m 4s

    There is a close cultural and genetic link between early Australians and modern-day Aborigines; here the ancient and modern story intersect as nowhere else.

  • The Curious Species: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Curious Species

    S1 E3 - 1m 22s

    On First Peoples: Asia, scientists explore Homo sapien migration out of Africa and into Asia. Much like modern humans, it was curiosity that drove them to explore new river valleys and make their way into a new continent.

  • The Denisovans  – A New Type of Human Discovered by Genetics: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Denisovans – A New Type of Human Discovered by Genetics

    S1 E3 - 1m 25s

    On First Peoples: Asia, geneticist Svante Paabo uncovers a new branch of the human family tree; the Denisovans. Named after the Siberian cave where the single finger bone was found, these early humans were previously undiscovered.

  • Omo 1 - The World's First Modern Human: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Omo 1 - The World's First Modern Human

    S1 E2 - 59s

    Omo-1 died while still in his twenties, but he is the oldest member of our species found anywhere in the world. His remains are 195,000 years old, yet he looked like a modern human.

  • The Secret to Our Success - Connectivity: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Secret to Our Success - Connectivity

    S1 E2 - 2m 19s

    200,000 years ago, a new species, Homo sapiens, appeared on the African landscape. While scientists have long imagined eastern Africa as a real-life Garden of Eden, the latest research suggests humans evolved in many places across the continent at the same time.

  • Eva of Naharon - The First American?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Eva of Naharon - The First American?

    S1 E1 - 1m 2s

    Eva of Naharon was discovered by archaeologists on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Her remains, which are far older than any others found in the Americas, have changed what we know about the arrival of the first people on the double continent.

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