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  • NOVA: Alien from Earth
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NOVA: Alien from Earth

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nova
  • Directors: n, a
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: WGBH BOSTON
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 56 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001IBCS32
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,430 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

NOVA presents an exclusive new investigation into the sensational discovery of the bizarre ancient bones of the so-called Hobbit unearthed in a cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia. No more than 3 feet tall when fully grown, these tiny humans survived in the cave for tens of thousands of years, hunting the huge and fierce Komodo dragons that roamed their remote island home. In Alien from Earth. NOVA explores the latest evidence in a furious scientific debate on what the Hobbit bones represent. Are they the remains of a dwarf race of modern humans suffering from a strange disease? Or are they the unique and tantalizing testament to a previously unknown branch of the human family?Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired. On one DVD5 disc. Region coding: Region 1. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: 16:9 Anamorphic.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on August 7, 2013
"Alien from Earth" is a documentary about Homo floresiensis, nicknamed the hobbit, a curious hominin living on the island of Flores in Indonesia until about 12,000 years ago.

Some scientists still refuse to believe that we are dealing with a genuinely new human species. The hobbit was tiny, had a small brain, but could nevertheless make tools and hunt. This goes against most of what we think we know about the evolution of the human brain. Their ancestry is also a mystery. Were they descended from Homo erectus? If so, why would natural selection *shrink* a hominin and its large brain? Do the so-called "island rule" really apply to humans? Sceptics believe that "Homo floresiensis" is really a collection of pathological specimens, perhaps suffering from microcephaly.

The NOVA documentary sides with those who believe that Homo floresiensis was a bona fide species of early human. Their hypothesis is that Australopithecus may have left Africa, evolved into "Dmanisi Man" and then branched off into Homo erectus and Homo floresiensis. ("Dmanisi Man" is a strange honimin found in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. It's currently considered a subspecies of Homo erectus.) The hobbit kept many of the original australopithecine features, including the diminutive size, while evolving greater intelligence. On the isolated island of Flores, this dwarfed humanoid survived well into "our" Stone Age, perhaps being killed off by a volcanic eruption.

It's a fascinating hypothesis. And why not? Evolution is supposed to be a bush, rather than a neat "tree" or "great chain of being". There are other examples of evolutionary convergence, so why can't human-like intelligence evolve in different lineages?
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This provided excellent material for my high school anthropology course. The information about homofloresiensis was great but the other topics were also a key bonus. The politics about who has control of the research, a summary of hominids, and the Dmanisi skull make this video worth it.
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