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NOVA; Becoming Human: First Steps


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Becoming Human: First Steps
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Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

The first hour examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. The film explores the fossil of "Selam," also known as "Lucy's Child"—an amazing, nearly complete child fossil that helps shed light on our ancestors' early development and how we began to depart from the ancestors of chimps. Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged, who discovered Selam, spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil grain by grain. NOVA's cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of the oldest known child fossil, 3.3 million years old. And, for the first time, NOVA takes viewers "inside the skull" to show how our ancestors' brains had begun to change from those of the apes.

Why did leaps in human evolution take place? "Becoming Human" explores a provocative "big idea" that sharp swings of climate were a key factor in driving human evolution. Based on new discoveries about ancient climate extremes, paleoanthropologist Rick Potts has formulated a new grand theory: "Variability itself was the driving force of human evolution, and our ancestors were adapted to change itself."

Working Title: Human Origins



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Broadcast program

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Chicago: “NOVA; Becoming Human: First Steps,” 10/09/2009, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 25, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1CDA5DB471C74ED6848F5A8364246DF2.
MLA: “NOVA; Becoming Human: First Steps.” 10/09/2009. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 25, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1CDA5DB471C74ED6848F5A8364246DF2>.
APA: NOVA; Becoming Human: First Steps. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1CDA5DB471C74ED6848F5A8364246DF2
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