Darwin and Evolution

Season 1 Episode 3

Giant Strides

Aired Unknown Mar 19, 2009 on ESPN
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Episode Summary

Giant Strides
What problems was evolution solving when upright walking, the use of tools and the control of fire came about? The program also makes a dramatic point: all humans alive today can, in all probability, trace their ancestry back to a single woman, living in Africa around 200,000 years ago. That woman was herself descended from earlier human-like creatures; her lineage could be traced right back to the common ape ancestor 7 million years ago. Evolution created not a single line leading to today's humans--not a tree, something more like a bush, with different species arising, thriving in their own right and finally going extinct. All the differences in today's human population have come about in very recent times. Climate, the environment, local conditions have created apparent racial differences--but those differences are, in truth, only skin deep. These modern humans have inherited features given to them by evolution since the time of the common ape ancestor, and the program explores why upright walking became necessary as Africa's forests retreated; why the use of tolls gave early human ancestors a key edge in the search for food; why the control of fire opened up new possibilities--and new power.moreless

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