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Becoming Human

4.5 out of 5 stars 348 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Nothing is more fascinating to us than, well, us. NOVAs groundbreaking investigation explores how new discoveries are transforming views of our earliest ancestors. Featuring interviews with renowned scientists, footage shot as fossils were unearthed, and stunning computer-generated animation, Becoming Human brings early hominids to life, examining how they lived and how we became the creative and adaptable modern humans of today.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: Graham Townsley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: February 9, 2010
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002TCRQ6I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,598 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors collects thee episodes of the acclaimed documentary series NOVA exploring what the latest scientific discoveries tell us about the earliest human ancestors - and what makes us human today. The first episode, "Selam", shows how clues from the remains of a 3 million year-old child suggest why and how humanity first came down from the trees and started walking upright. The second episode applies forensics to the mystery of "Turkana Boy", a fossil of Home erectus, the first human ancestor to leave Africa and begin colonization of the globe. What caused this African exodus? The final episode, "Becoming Human", examines how human capacities for art, invention, and survival developed, and the mystery of humanity's interaction with the early Neanderthals. Did humans interbreed with Neanderthals, or cause their extermination? Why did "we" survive when other ancestral cousins died out? An extraordinary collection, and a choice pick especially for public library DVD collections and the libraries of anyone curious about the origins of humanity in prehistoric times. 3 hours, widescreen, closed captioned. Also highly recommended is the NOVA documentary "What Are Dreams? Inside the Sleeping Brain" (56 min., widescreen, closed captioned).
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NOVA does a great job of explaining to its audience how Homo Sapiens ultimately became the "winner-take-all" hominoid species. On location photography, interviews with renowned experts, and computer-generated animation allow viewers to better understand how Homo Sapiens became the final (read current) outcome of a long evolution spread over millions of years. Viewers should not be surprised that this investigation of our ancestors will be the subject of an updated documentary. For example, the researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology recently revised their initial conclusions that there was no interbreeding at all between Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthalis based on their further study of their respective ADN. In summary, NOVA makes a noteworthy contribution to vulgarizing the science of evolutionary anthropology to the attention of a wide audience.
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I love this DVD. Great visuals, great narration and fairly up-to-date. It's the sort of documentary one can watch many times.

I highly recommend "Becomming Human". Nova does great work and this is one of their best, in my view. This is a brilliant overview of the human story and as humans we should all know that story!

In addition to "Becoming Human," I also recommend the following DVDs:

Walking With Cavemen

Evolution Boxed Set

National Geographic - Search for the Ultimate Survivor

--Guy P. Harrison, author of "Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity" and "50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God" (a skeptical analysis of common justifications for religious belief)
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I have a love of anthropology and archeology. I watch every documentary, read every book and article, and talk to every person who specializes in human evolution that I can. The way that this documentary is edited, written, and presented, though entertaining had many mistakes in it, most of them had to do with Neanderthals. For starts after the scientific team finished making the DNA of the Neanderthal the team found out that modern humans have 2-6% shared markers that didn't exist before modern human traveled to Europe. Another point: there is extremely strong evidence that Neanderthals had language. We have several fossils of the hyoid bone. Without this bone speech would be impossible for any and all humans. Though this bone isn't unique to the homo-family it is a key to speech other than the FOXP2 gene, and Burcha's area in the brain. All of these Neanderthals had.

I also find the opening line of "Human: without a doubt the smartest animal on earth." To be rather small minded. Yes, we have created, built, and imagined many things, but we can not say that we are more intelligent than any animal that can think. Birds, mice, dolphins, cats, dogs, even cockroaches and gold fish can salve problems and work out puzzles. This is new age propaganda painting humans as the pinnacle perfection of nature. I'm sorry, but with all the world's problems created by us we are not.

If it matters: it had a large contribution by David H. Koch. I am glad he's giving his money to something good, but knowing the Koch politics, I feel like his people made sure that some of the facts and information was tampered with.
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A no nonsense documentary about the evolution of the human species. the science is sound and there is no embellishment or hype or fake story telling. The graphics are acceptable. Youngsters may become bored as this was not intended to be entertaining, though it is very interesting. Highly recommended for those who are interested in our origins as a species.
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This by far the best documentary/series I've seen on human evolution. It goes into incredible detail in three episodes that begins several million years ago until the present. The experts are credible and interesting, the film on actual fossil digs and findings are magnificent, and the recreated footage based upon an accumulation of knowledge, discoveries, and expert experience is remarkable and makes complete sense to me. I plan to watch it again, as it is fascinating and extremely well done. Congratulations to everyone who put this series together!
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