TELEVISION: The Origin of Our Species

Nova offers a vivid three-part tour of human prehistory

More than 3 million years ago, a tiny female, part human and part ape, slumped to the mud of an East African lakeshore and died, her bones sinking deep into the soft ground. Eventually, the lake dried. The mud turned to rock and so, gradually, did her bones. She might have rested there undisturbed forever but for the roaring geologic forces that ripped the earth apart over the next 30,000 centuries, finally thrusting the long-buried fossil bones to the surface -- where American anthropologist Donald Johanson would find them in 1974. Named Lucy, after the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky...

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