/ Modified aug 27, 2011 10:59 a.m.

NOVA: Becoming Human

NOVA presents a comprehensive three-part, three-hour special, investigating explosive new discoveries that are transforming the picture of how we became human. Wednesday beginning at 8 p.m. on PBS-HD.

nova_bec_human_first_steps_spot Representations of human ancestors by paleoartist Viktor Deak, displayed in his New York City studio. (PHOTO: PBS)

Becoming Human: First Steps8 p.m. The first episode explores fresh clues about our earliest ancestors in Africa, including the stunningly complete fossil nicknamed "Lucy's Child." These three-million-year-old bones from Ethiopia reveal humanity's oldest and most telltale trait - upright walking, rather than a big brain.

nova_bec_human_birth_hum_spot A group of workers digs in the area where earlier searches uncovered one-million-year-old hominid fossils called Homo antecessor in Atapuerca, Spain. (PHOTO: PBS)

Becoming Human: Birth Of Humanity9 p.m. The second program tackles the mysteries of how our ancestors managed to survive in a savannah teeming with vicious predators, and when and why we first left our African cradle to colonize every corner of the earth.

nova_bec_human_last Dr. Rick Potts studies one of more than 500 stone handaxes, made by Homo erectus, uncovered in Olorgesailie, Kenya. (PHOTO: PBS)

Becoming Human: Last Human Standing10 p.m. In the final program, NOVA probes a wave of dramatic new evidence, based partly on cutting-edge DNA analysis, that reveals new insights into how we became today’s creative and “behaviorally modern” humans and what really happened to the enigmatic Neanderthals who faded into extinction.

Wednesday beginning at 8 p.m. on PBS-HD.


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