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Demi Mon, Oct-31-11 13:24

BBC: Origins of Us
Origins of Us is an interesting series currently being shown on BBC2 in the UK. In it anatomist and anthropologist Alice Roberts reveals the story of human evolution as told through the body.

Origins of Us tells the story of our species, homo sapiens. In every one of our bodies is the evidence of how we evolved away from our ape cousins to become the adaptable, successful species we are today.

Anatomist and physical anthropologist Dr Alice Roberts reveals the key adaptations in our body that has contributed to our extra-ordinary success. Far from being inevitable, the evolution of our species is a product of pure chance. And with each anatomical advantage comes a cost, which many of us are still paying today. Bad backs, painful childbirth, impacted wisdom teeth are all a by-product of our evolutionary success.

Episode One: Bones

1/3 Alice Roberts looks at how our skeleton reveals the evolutionary journey of our ancestors.

Episode Two: Guts

2/3 In this second episode Dr Alice Roberts charts how our ancestors’ hunt for food has driven the way we look and behave today – from the shape of our face, to the way we see and even the way we attract the opposite sex.

Episode Three: Brains

In the final episode Dr Alice Roberts explores how our species, homo sapiens, developed our large brain; and asks why we are the only one of our kind left on the planet today?

Tonight's programme:

How come we are the only humans left on the planet? That’s anatomist Alice Roberts’s theme tonight: other species in our genus - Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalis, and so on - all died out. We’re the only twig left in the human family tree. Well done us, but why?

Roberts explains, laying out some sample skulls of our ancestors, and there’s a very simple pattern: they get bigger. Our brains are twice the size of our smart, tool-making ancestor Homo habilis. The knock-on effect of this is charted via detours into childbirth (big-brained newborns are bad news for mothers), speech, and a great conversation with a Hadza tribeswoman about how you feed children.

RCFletcher Wed, Nov-02-11 11:47

Yes, this was breastmilk - until they are three. Quite natural.

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