The second episode of Becoming Human — a three-part NOVA documentary on what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives — will air on November 10, 2009, on public broadcasting stations around the country. According to NOVA:
In "Birth of Humanity," the second part of the three-part series "Becoming Human," NOVA investigates the first skeleton that really looks like us — "Turkana Boy" — an astonishingly complete specimen of Homo erectus found by the famous Leakey team in Kenya. These early humans are thought to have developed key innovations that helped them thrive, including hunting large prey, the use of fire, and extensive social bonds.Further information about the film, including a preview, interviews, and interactive features, is available at NOVA's website. Information on finding local public broadcasting stations is available via PBS's website.
The program examines an intriguing theory that long-distance running — our ability to jog — was crucial for the survival of these early hominids. Not only did running help them escape from vicious predators roaming the grasslands, but it also gave them a unique hunting strategy: chasing down prey animals such as deer and antelope to the point of exhaustion. "Birth of Humanity" also probes how, why, and when humans' uniquely long period of childhood and parenting began.