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Table of contents
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Table of contents

0:00
The ancient ancestors of humans and their evolutionary journey.
7:05
The empathetic and communal behavior of Pierolas, a species of primate, and their unique cultural and social structure.
14:38
The evolution of early humans and the impact of climate change on different continents.
22:34
The evolution and societal structure of our ancient ancestors as they migrated through Africa.
29:11
The evolution of early human-like primates and their social dynamics, including the emergence of war and funeral rituals.
42:11
Adaptation of early human ancestors in Africa, focusing on the challenges they faced and the innovative solutions they developed.
48:55
A group of early humans discovers the benefits of consuming meat and develops tools to hunt and process it.
57:40
Migration of early humans, highlighting their adaptability and quest for a better life.
1:05:11
Homo erectus evolves into a highly resilient and socially organized species, facing new challenges and discoveries in their environment.
1:14:21
The discovery of fire revolutionized the lives of early humans, leading to advancements in cooking, brain development, language, and storytelling.
1:25:45
The evolutionary journey of Homo sapiens and the diversity of human populations around the world.
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00:00:08
Twenty-five million years ago, a new species appeared on Earth.
00:00:14
The great apes.
00:00:17
Among them was one family with extraordinary abilities.
00:00:26
They were our distant ancestors.
00:00:29
Through evolution, they gave rise to new, more advanced species.
00:00:34
Then ventured far and wide and invented hunting,
00:00:38
power, tools, love, and soon war.
00:01:00
They competed with the great beasts,
00:01:02
conquered the planet, adapted to every climate.
00:01:12
They became us, homo sapiens, modern man.
00:01:22
Where and when did our lineage begin?
00:01:28
Who was the first of us?
00:01:31
What is that quality that makes us human?
00:01:35
The difference that sets us apart from other animals.
00:01:42
Thanks to the latest scientific discoveries,
00:01:45
we are about to take a journey into the depths of time
00:01:49
to find out which of our ancestors took the decisive step
00:01:56
and gave birth to the first man.
00:02:12
Our family story begins 25 million years ago,
00:02:16
at a time of intense global warming.
00:02:19
With the vast Tethys Ocean fragmenting and closing off in the Near East,
00:02:23
humid forests spread north from Africa.
00:02:29
Our distant ancestors followed the forest and rapidly populated the ancient world.
00:02:36
They ruled the canopy, a hundred different species.
00:02:40
Gigantopithecus, Ramapithecus, and Sivapithecus
00:02:45
stretched from Europe to modern-day China.
00:02:49
This is the age of the Planet of the Apes.
00:02:54
Which of these great primates is our common ancestor?
00:03:03
The Mediterranean coast, 13 million years ago, in modern-day Spain.
00:03:11
A humid tropical forest.
00:03:16
Here lives a creature with exceptional abilities.
00:03:24
This acrobat is Pierolapithecus.
00:03:29
The animal kingdom has never seen such a marvel.
00:03:35
This great ape is the origin of our family, but how?
00:03:39
What makes him our great-grandfather?
00:03:45
We are only beginning to understand.
00:03:53
Pierola lives in the trees and mainly eats fruit.
00:03:58
He is too heavy to walk on the branches, so he hangs,
00:04:03
though he does sometimes end up on two feet.
00:04:08
He can walk.
00:04:10
Contrary to common belief,
00:04:12
the ability to walk upright wasn't developed on the ground
00:04:15
but up in the branches.
00:04:17
Bipedalism was not man's invention but the apes'.
00:04:23
This Pierola is a young male.
00:04:26
He left his family several days ago.
00:04:29
He now faces a difficult task, being adopted by a new group,
00:04:34
and he's just discovered one.
00:04:39
His fate will be decided here.
00:04:43
However, each group has its own territory and intruders are rarely welcome.
00:04:52
A young female and her infant.
00:04:55
Mothers are especially wary.
00:04:57
Not easy to approach.
00:05:04
Up there, there is an older female much easier to make contact with.
00:05:12
A large male, clearly a dominant alpha male.
00:05:16
He seems calm, but it is far too dangerous to approach.
00:05:24
To be accepted, he must first be noticed, a tense moment.
00:05:34
Has the young female picked up his scent?
00:05:52
She's the most beautiful Pierola he's ever seen.
00:06:00
It seems to be going all right.
00:06:09
It's another story with the alpha male.
00:06:27
He could kill him,
00:06:32
but for now, it's just physical intimidation.
00:06:50
The young male's first attempt ends in failure,
00:06:53
but his mood provokes an unexpected reaction.
00:06:59
Our ancestors possessed a new quality, previously unknown in the animal kingdom,
00:07:05
something shared by very few species, empathy.
00:07:10
Understanding the emotions of others.
00:07:18
Even more extraordinarily,
00:07:20
they are affected by the feelings of others, sympathy.
00:07:25
It's happening to the older female.
00:07:30
She feels the distress of the young male and it makes her anxious.
00:07:36
She must act.
00:07:42
She wants to find out more about him.
00:07:45
Empathy is a powerful force.
00:07:48
It is the thing that allows us to live in a society today.
00:07:57
Why does he need to be adopted by strangers?
00:08:03
It relates to the social structure of Pierolas.
00:08:06
The females never leave the group,
00:08:08
while the males are forced to leave at adolescence.
00:08:24
What do the old female's gestures mean?
00:08:28
Will he be able to stay?
00:08:30
Not yet.
00:08:40
The young male keeps his distance.
00:08:43
He needs to sleep.
00:08:50
Most mammals only sleep for a few minutes at a time,
00:08:53
not Pierolas.
00:08:55
In terms of sleeping, they are revolutionaries.
00:09:01
The Pierolas have come up with an extraordinary invention.
00:09:04
They build nests in the treetops.
00:09:09
However, it takes a long time to learn how to build a nest,
00:09:12
and the only way to learn is from the mother.
00:09:17
The young male always slept in his mother's nest.
00:09:20
He still doesn't know how to make his own.
00:09:25
Up here, Pierolas are protected from predators,
00:09:29
and their leaf mats stop them from falling.
00:09:32
They can sleep all night without fear.
00:09:38
Long restorative nights.
00:09:53
Thanks to the miracle of sleep, Pierolas improve their mental faculties.
00:10:01
Sleep allows our brains to sort information.
00:10:05
Not all of it received during the day is useful.
00:10:09
Our brain puts some in the trash
00:10:11
and stores the essential parts in our memory.
00:10:20
All that while we sleep,
00:10:23
remarkable.
00:10:27
Pierolas have passed this down to us.
00:10:31
Without this invention, we could never have become humans.
00:10:42
This morning, the group has come down to the forest floor.
00:10:46
The young male followed them.
00:10:48
He wants to make contact with the group again.
00:10:55
Pierolas love the sweet taste of fruit,
00:10:58
but they have an advantage over other species.
00:11:01
Their stomachs can digest all sorts of food.
00:11:08
Well, they still have their favorites.
00:11:23
There they are.
00:11:30
The young male has made his choice and will approach the older female.
00:11:38
Out of all the different foods in the forest,
00:11:40
some are highly poisonous.
00:11:44
How do they know what is edible and what is poisonous?
00:11:50
For Pierolas, the answer is sharing experiences.
00:11:55
The mother teaches her young how to choose and pick.
00:11:59
This knowledge is passed from generation to generation.
00:12:07
The beginning of a culture.
00:12:12
The elder female can't leave her new contact.
00:12:17
Like all Pierolas, the young male knows how to give gifts.
00:12:24
Figs.
00:12:25
Will she accept them?
00:12:41
It's a good sign.
00:12:43
Now he can begin the conversation.
00:12:52
The language of the Pierolas mainly consists of grooming.
00:12:56
Grooming and caresses say far more than words.
00:13:07
However, touching females in the group risks angering the alpha male.
00:13:33
The females defend the young male against the alpha.
00:13:37
Their numbers make them stronger.
00:13:40
The alpha must back down.
00:13:49
Among Pierolas, the females have the power.
00:13:57
The young male has taken an important step.
00:14:00
He has become the old female's favorite.
00:14:06
Now it's the female's turn to caress.
00:14:13
Part of this seems like more than caressing.
00:14:17
What exactly does she want?
00:14:21
The young male has no experience of pleasure.
00:14:31
To relax the atmosphere,
00:14:33
Pierolas have invented a totally new behavior,
00:14:38
laughing.
00:14:43
This development, which resolves conflicts,
00:14:46
is not a human invention, but an inheritance.
00:14:56
Our ancestors lived in an earthly paradise.
00:14:59
Fruit in abundance, freshwater available everywhere,
00:15:03
and in all seasons.
00:15:05
The only real dangers are the predators that roam the floor of the great forest.
00:15:21
To detect them, Pierolas read the signs of the forest.
00:15:28
They have a deep understanding of their environment.
00:15:39
The cry of a bird alerts them.
00:15:41
The alarm sounds.
00:15:49
A tiger.
00:16:04
They have a different call for each threat.
00:16:18
That means the alert is lifted.
00:16:21
They can go back down.
00:16:32
Pierolas live in a golden age for the great apes,
00:16:35
but this period of prosperity cannot last.
00:16:43
Great upheaval is on the horizon.
00:16:46
Africa is on a collision course with Europe.
00:16:49
Tectonic activity that will soon destroy the environment.
00:16:57
The young male remains outside the group.
00:17:00
He is cautious.
00:17:02
The alpha is still dangerous.
00:17:04
To be completely adopted, he needs the alpha's consent.
00:17:12
He's perhaps not the best nest builder,
00:17:14
but he comes from a group that knows how to catch tasty little insects.
00:17:20
An amazing technique
00:17:22
the golden-eyed female has never seen before.
00:17:30
He uses the stick to catch termites.
00:17:37
There is nothing tastier than termites.
00:17:52
This invention is crucial.
00:17:55
The stick is the first tool.
00:18:00
An extension of the hand which allows us to perform new tasks.
00:18:06
An idea that will be invaluable to us.
00:18:14
They have understood.
00:18:16
The young male is now the main attraction of the group.
00:18:31
The infant is a victim of his greed.
00:18:39
He forgot his mother's teaching and has been poisoned.
00:18:45
A fate suffered so often by the young.
00:18:59
The young male recognizes this poison.
00:19:05
The Pierolas already have some knowledge of the curative powers of plants.
00:19:12
This knowledge varies between groups and allows them to cure some ailments.
00:19:17
The young male seems to have some knowledge on this matter
00:19:20
that the group does not.
00:19:25
There are many different types.
00:19:28
Plants that put tapeworms to sleep,
00:19:31
plants covered in tiny spines that trap the sleeping worms.
00:19:40
Pierolas were herbalists.
00:20:04
The tale of this young hero may seem secondary,
00:20:07
but it tells another, more powerful story, the spread of knowledge.
00:20:13
Societies that forced their young adults to leave
00:20:16
possess this quality.
00:20:19
The young depart with the knowledge of their group
00:20:22
and transmit it to other groups.
00:20:26
The infant is saved,
00:20:36
thanks to the young male.
00:20:43
The young female has made her choice.
00:20:46
He must become part of the group.
00:20:53
It's her will against the alpha.
00:21:09
Pierola alpha males resist the pressure of the females as long as possible,
00:21:15
but the females always win.
00:21:20
The alpha can sense.
00:21:22
From now on, the young male is part of the group.
00:21:31
It's a sign.
00:21:34
The earth is moving
00:21:36
and the great period of climatic cooling is approaching.
00:21:45
Our ancestors had to leave, to escape this place,
00:21:51
and so the great exodus begins.
00:21:59
Africa is on a collision course with Europe.
00:22:03
The climate of the planet is changing dramatically.
00:22:06
The humid forests of Europe are disappearing.
00:22:09
The same is happening in large parts of Asia,
00:22:12
where the forests of China and Japan are fragmenting.
00:22:15
The Asiatic great apes migrate towards South Asia.
00:22:19
They give rise to the ancestors of the gibbons and the orangutans.
00:22:24
The African continent has just closed the Strait of Gibraltar.
00:22:28
Cut off from the water of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean dries out
00:22:31
and becomes a dead sea.
00:22:34
Pierolas and their relatives cross the dried Mediterranean.
00:22:38
They migrate towards Africa, where the forest is spreading,
00:22:41
notably on the vast green plains of the Sahara.
00:22:45
Pierolas evolved and became a new species with new, more astonishing abilities.
00:22:51
This new ancestor was called Sahelanthropus or Toumai.
00:22:58
Further south, we rejoin the path of our lineage,
00:23:02
7 million years later.
00:23:05
Toumai lived on the shores of Lake Chad.
00:23:08
They were probably our common ancestor with modern chimpanzees.
00:23:13
Their inventions will make them
00:23:15
amongst the most dangerous and intelligent species on the planet.
00:23:19
With them, the march towards humanity gathers pace.
00:23:25
Toumai still sleep in the trees, but have found plenty to do on the ground.
00:23:32
A much more varied food supply, even if it's a little trickier to get to.
00:23:38
The descendant of the young female is now a Toumai.
00:23:42
Her appearance has changed,
00:23:44
but she has kept her golden eyes passed down through her DNA.
00:23:50
Her son still has much to learn.
00:23:56
An infant's education now takes much longer.
00:23:59
As well as knowing what to eat, he must learn how to eat it.
00:24:08
Toumai use different tools for different foods,
00:24:11
but mastering each tool takes hours of practice.
00:24:29
Toumai try to benefit from all nature's gifts.
00:24:37
The females have a greater practical instinct than the males.
00:25:00
They imagine and invent new techniques.
00:25:13
Toumai have also improved this strange way of getting around,
00:25:18
walking on two feet.
00:25:21
It has many advantages,
00:25:23
such as being able to carry objects long distances.
00:25:27
The descendant of the alpha still dominates the group.
00:25:34
There have been considerable changes in our ancestors' social structure.
00:25:38
Now the males have the power.
00:25:42
There is a hierarchy and the alpha knows it must be respected.
00:25:49
He often feels the need to remind everyone.
00:26:00
It's usually the weakest that feel his force.
00:26:12
A society dominated by males is a never-ending series of rivalries.
00:26:22
The alpha is a type of ultra-dominant male
00:26:24
who always feels the need to show his force.
00:26:36
Is this young one still alive?
00:26:42
He's okay, just a bit shaken up.
00:26:50
The Alpha doesn't just rely on strength to stay on top.
00:26:55
He builds friendships with several allies.
00:26:58
He praises a male knowing he could be a threat one day.
00:27:05
He sweet-talks the elder female.
00:27:08
Her goodwill could come in useful.
00:27:15
Alliances, strategies, betrayal, conquest, and power.
00:27:21
This type of society has given rise to a new activity, politics.
00:27:30
The males spend most of their day plotting.
00:27:33
It is left to the females to find ways to feed and educate their young.
00:27:43
It's no wonder that females have become more resourceful than the males.
00:27:58
To the alpha, ruling the group also means having access to the female.
00:28:06
The problem with bipedalism
00:28:08
is the male can't see the female's genitals as clearly.
00:28:12
How does he know if she's interested?
00:28:19
Before being able to mate,
00:28:22
he now has to check the willingness of the female.
00:28:52
She's not interested.
00:29:02
The new territory of the Toumai includes water
00:29:06
and all the food it contains.
00:29:08
Our ancestors are just getting used to this new element
00:29:11
and will encounter an abundance of riches.
00:29:17
The Toumai's greatest invention, however, is preference.
00:29:22
A male and a female can decide to get away from the group
00:29:26
just to spend some time together.
00:29:30
For these two juveniles, it's the first time.
00:29:57
A big step in relationships between males and females.
00:30:02
Before there was only sniffing, then mating.
00:30:06
It only lasted a minute.
00:30:08
Now they can spend time together and exchange gestures of affection.
00:30:19
The great apes begin to feel their hearts beating,
00:30:22
their hair standing on end.
00:30:27
The great game of seduction.
00:30:45
She seeks his gaze.
00:30:48
He is transfixed.
00:30:50
She smells him.
00:30:52
They feel desire.
00:31:09
They give kisses
00:31:11
and invent a new way of mating, face to face.
00:31:19
No one has noticed that the infant has strayed from the bank.
00:32:03
Too late.
00:32:05
The little one's frail body is limp and lifeless.
00:32:23
Toumai are well aware of the importance of the group.
00:32:27
The loss of a member is heartbreaking.
00:32:44
Life on the ground does have its advantages,
00:32:47
but there are far more predators than in the canopy.
00:32:51
That's why Toumai still depend on the trees.
00:33:12
Something strange is happening in our ancestors' minds.
00:33:17
The young female should have left the lifeless body behind, but she refused.
00:33:39
Why?
00:33:42
What does she feel?
00:34:22
Something happened this morning.
00:34:25
Several unknown individuals were spotted on the other side of the hill.
00:34:35
The three males of the group are very excited.
00:34:40
There under the large fig tree, another group of Toumai.
00:34:45
The first time they've seen them.
00:34:51
Two very enticing females.
00:34:59
They have been eating overripe figs and are now drunk.
00:35:09
This group has come here
00:35:11
for the fermented fruits that rot on the ground.
00:35:27
The Alpha wants the females.
00:35:34
He wants what he sees,
00:35:39
but they belong to other males,
00:35:44
and he is an absolute giant.
00:35:47
What can he do?
00:35:57
A cunning plan is formulating inside the alpha's head.
00:36:02
A previously unimagined idea.
00:36:08
An idea that will make us the most dangerous predator on the planet.
00:37:49
The idea is to kill.
00:37:51
Killing one's own species.
00:37:53
Killing with premeditation and in an organized way.
00:37:57
Killing to take the goods of others.
00:38:02
The Toumai have just invented war.
00:38:21
They have conquered a new territory,
00:38:24
and with it a tree full of fruit and a few females.
00:38:29
War has its advantages.
00:38:38
From now on, the alpha group will occupy this land.
00:38:52
The young female still has a worrying connection to her infant.
00:39:01
She is refusing to accept reality because reality has become unbearable.
00:39:27
The infant is motionless, but his body is still there.
00:39:33
What is it that lives in us and vanishes so suddenly?
00:40:36
Toumai are starting to understand the concept of death.
00:40:40
The loss of life, the loss of a being.
00:40:44
They know that their own lives will end.
00:40:54
Faced with suffering and confusion,
00:40:57
they gather around the body of their departed friend.
00:41:05
Gathering, the feeling of being in a group,
00:41:09
united in space and time.
00:41:21
The beginning of a ritual, a first funeral ceremony.
00:41:30
For many years we believed that awareness of death made us human.
00:41:35
Not anymore.
00:41:37
Today, we know that we share this knowledge
00:41:39
with many other species, including chimpanzees.
00:41:54
Awareness of the passage of time
00:41:56
is a huge leap forward in our family history.
00:42:08
Five million years ago, Africa began to dry out.
00:42:11
The great forests of the Sahara receded
00:42:14
and placed pressure on the descendants of the Toumai.
00:42:17
They separate into several families.
00:42:19
Some evolve along the line of the chimpanzees and gorillas.
00:42:24
They abandon bipedalism
00:42:26
and invent a new way of getting around on four feet.
00:42:30
Others evolve along the line of humans.
00:42:33
They are spread throughout Africa, especially in the East.
00:42:36
Here we find the great family of Australopithecus.
00:42:40
Between four and two million years ago, there is a great diaspora,
00:42:45
afarensis, Abel,
00:42:48
Africanus, Kenyanthropus, Anamensis, Gary.
00:42:58
Around 2 million years ago, a new character appeared in South Africa.
00:43:03
He would go on to radically alter our history.
00:43:07
We named him Sediba.
00:43:12
Is he an Australopithecus or the first man?
00:43:16
That question hasn't yet been solved.
00:43:20
Sediba lived in the south of the African continent.
00:43:24
Drought increasingly affects this part of Africa
00:43:27
and will play a considerable role in the development of our ancestors.
00:43:31
Despite spending the majority of their time on the ground,
00:43:34
sediba are still dependent on the trees.
00:43:36
The only protection
00:43:37
from the man-eating beast that roam the land at that time.
00:43:44
They never stray too far.
00:43:50
The dry season is at its peak.
00:43:53
There's no more fruit on the trees.
00:43:55
The only food is underground.
00:44:03
Roots and bulbs are difficult to find and dig out of the ground,
00:44:07
and they need a lot of chewing before they can be swallowed.
00:44:11
However, that's all there is.
00:44:15
Hours are spent chewing this tough food.
00:44:22
This young male is still part of the group,
00:44:25
though he has no female.
00:44:30
The females now live in a harem with the strongest males.
00:44:40
These two females are part of the alpha's harem.
00:44:45
When a carcass is left by the larger predators,
00:44:48
there's only enough for the Alpha and his females.
00:44:52
A few bones to suck, but only the strongest have access.
00:44:55
That's why the females have accepted this new arrangement.
00:44:59
Less power for more protection.
00:45:02
Sediba don't live very long.
00:45:05
This old female can no longer chew.
00:45:08
The marrow is all she can swallow.
00:45:17
The alpha doesn't share with the elders.
00:45:22
The old female would already be dead without the young male.
00:45:42
By chewing her food, he keeps her alive.
00:45:46
Empathy at work again.
00:45:50
This extreme scarcity of food is driving our species to extinction.
00:45:55
If they don't find an alternative, they will all die.
00:46:00
They must adapt.
00:46:03
Fortunately, sediba possesses a highly developed brain
00:46:07
and an array of tools and techniques.
00:46:13
Inside the brain of one of them, a revolutionary idea is taking shape.
00:46:27
If the meat won't come to them, they will have to go to it.
00:46:35
Over there.
00:46:36
The alpha's female wants to take the risk.
00:46:39
The young male is ready too.
00:46:42
None before them have tried this.
00:46:45
Against the wishes of the alpha, they will attempt the impossible.
00:47:07
How can they be so foolish?
00:47:13
Neither of them has ever been so far from the trees.
00:47:19
The desire to eat meat outweighs the dangers of the savannah.
00:47:27
The brave ones who took this reckless decision
00:47:30
could not have known the profound effect it would have
00:47:32
on the history of our species.
00:48:19
A fresh carcass, an abundance of meat.
00:48:34
They've never seen so much.
00:48:41
The first pieces they choose are those that contain fat.
00:48:44
The tastiest.
00:48:46
Fat is so rare in nature and yet so rich in energy
00:48:49
and important for the digestion of animal proteins.
00:48:55
The sediba pick out the parts that contain the most,
00:48:59
the marrow, the entrails,
00:49:03
the brain, the tongue, and the eyes.
00:49:56
The two explorers are back,
00:49:58
their arms laden with the most wonderful food.
00:50:13
Food for everyone.
00:50:16
What a success!
00:50:17
A solution for the future of the species?
00:50:21
However, the alpha is not ready to digest this humiliation.
00:50:27
The female is part of his harem.
00:50:30
She has betrayed him.
00:50:33
Sometimes the females do swap males.
00:50:36
However, a possessive alpha like him can't lose one of his females.
00:50:40
It's a threat to his power.
00:50:46
The young male can do nothing.
00:50:49
Here, might is right.
00:51:28
He humiliates her in front of everyone,
00:51:31
punishes her, and isolates her from the others.
00:52:00
The old female has nothing to lose.
00:52:04
She's the only one that can come to her help.
00:52:16
The harshness of this life has not favored the females.
00:52:21
They have lost a lot of their power to the benefit of the large males.
00:52:36
The first effects of the meat are immediate.
00:52:39
It's easier to digest than roots, and the body feels lighter.
00:52:44
Meat gives the sensation of well-being and the sound of sleep.
00:52:50
The second effect will take hundreds of thousands of years.
00:52:55
Less energy consumed by the stomach means more energy for the brain.
00:53:00
Thanks to that, our mental capacity will improve
00:53:04
and our bodies become taller and slimmer.
00:53:08
Although physical force still dominates, it won't be enough to adapt.
00:53:15
A new generation is coming
00:53:17
whose ingenuity will prove the decisive advantage.
00:53:27
Sediba already used rocks to break and crush roots,
00:53:33
but he has a new thought.
00:53:36
The young male has an idea that could change their lives,
00:53:40
maybe even the future of his species.
00:53:45
If he can cut the carcasses of animals killed by big predators
00:53:48
into smaller pieces, they can carry them to a safe place.
00:53:52
If it works, they will have provisions for several days.
00:53:58
For this, they will need a range of new tools
00:54:01
to cut and slice the flesh and break the bones.
00:54:05
He shapes them out of a rock.
00:54:09
These shards are as sharp as razors.
00:54:14
It will take thousands of years to master the technique.
00:54:45
One of the great advantages of our ancestors is that,
00:54:48
they relied on their capacity for imagination
00:54:51
and on the language they were beginning to articulate.
00:54:55
They were capable of conceiving a project,
00:54:58
weighing up different aspects, and anticipating future needs.
00:55:05
The young male has decided to train the group
00:55:07
to find carcasses and bring them back.
00:55:15
He lays out his vision.
00:55:23
His words evoke images of abandoned feasts.
00:55:29
He captures their attention.
00:55:36
He wins them over with his words.
00:55:47
The alpha understands that his dominance is under threat.
00:55:51
His physical force is no longer sufficient,
00:56:00
so he takes the young male's idea.
00:56:20
A dream of plentiful food is leading them into dangerous territory.
00:56:26
Sediba are prey.
00:56:28
Without their trees, they are vulnerable,
00:56:33
and yet they march into the unknown.
00:56:37
Driven by an urge greater than any other, to eat.
00:56:44
They explore a continent inhabited by great carnivores.
00:56:48
On the hunt for carcasses left by the kings of the savannah.
00:56:53
Who would think that this band of scavengers
00:56:56
would soon dominate the planet?
00:57:28
When a carcass is found, everyone should take their turn.
00:57:32
First the top predators, then the hyenas, the vultures, and the rest.
00:57:40
It's crucial to get there at the right time.
00:57:45
The alpha doesn't know that yet.
00:59:43
Their tree.
00:59:45
They should never have left their tree.
00:59:49
It is perhaps this moment
00:59:50
that the fate of the entire human race hangs in the balance.
00:59:56
They could retreat to the safety of the tree and risk dying of starvation,
01:00:03
or they could head into the unknown,
01:00:06
risking being attacked but having the chance to eat.
01:00:12
What should they do?
01:00:14
The young female doesn't know what to choose.
01:00:18
Everything is telling them to seek shelter.
01:00:23
Is there another life beyond the tree?
01:00:30
The group splits into two factions.
01:00:33
Some follow the young female, while the others head back to the tree.
01:00:40
In fact, it is the weaker ones that will make the right choice.
01:00:45
They will risk everything for a better life.
01:00:50
The strong never want to give up their privileges.
01:00:54
Those who leave are guided by their imagination.
01:00:58
Open spaces, prey in abundance, and food for everyone.
01:01:06
They dream of another world, a better world.
01:01:10
Up there, over the mountains.
01:01:14
Even the old female.
01:01:17
Her energy, nearly spent, is galvanized by hope.
01:01:34
This world does exist.
01:01:36
A vast land of riches.
01:01:52
If some of us hadn't had this astonishing courage,
01:01:55
you wouldn't be here today.
01:02:02
Those who have chosen to stay near the trees will survive for a time.
01:02:07
They will be known as Paranthropus or almost humans,
01:02:11
but they will not be able to adapt to the next climatic changes.
01:02:18
We thought that Lucy, the most famous Australopithecus,
01:02:20
was the grandmother of humanity.
01:02:22
We were wrong.
01:02:23
Lucy was, in fact, one of these almost humans,
01:02:26
and her descendants died out a million years later.
01:02:35
Those who left the Savannah freed themselves from a life of the trees
01:02:40
and had to invent a new way of living.
01:02:45
The world isn't exactly as they imagined.
01:02:48
There are riches all around, but there are just as many traps.
01:02:55
Limitless space lies ahead of us and nothing will stop our advance.
01:03:01
Is this how man became free?
01:03:04
Is this how we became truly human?
01:03:07
Some believe so, but is there still something missing?
01:03:14
After the sediba, a new species emerges, a very mobile man.
01:03:19
The next character in our story is an unparalleled explorer,
01:03:23
Homo erectus.
01:03:28
Five million years ago, the two Americas collided.
01:03:32
This led to the creation of the Gulf Stream.
01:03:35
This warm current travels from the Gulf of Mexico up toward the Arctic
01:03:39
and plunges into the ocean, taking the heat with it.
01:03:45
The polar ice cap formed, the earth cooled and entered the Ice Age.
01:03:55
The green plains of the Sahara dried out.
01:03:59
Two million years ago,
01:04:01
populations of herbivores left Africa in search of new pastures.
01:04:06
Homo erectus followed.
01:04:08
Some of our ancestors migrated to Europe, others to Asia.
01:04:14
They crossed mountains and deserts, forests and swamps.
01:04:19
They traveled unthinkable distances into the unknown.
01:04:26
Driven by the spirit of conquest passed down to them from their ancestors.
01:04:31
They migrate to the Far East.
01:04:41
The north of China, home of the Chinese Homo erectus.
01:04:55
Homo erectus possesses the anatomy of a champion.
01:04:59
This man of the plains is born to run.
01:05:02
A vertical body propelled by his long legs and balanced by his arms.
01:05:07
He is equipped with an extraordinary internal cooling system,
01:05:11
a body covered in short hairs, sweat glands that allow perspiration,
01:05:16
and in his brain, a blood-purifying system that regulates body temperature.
01:05:24
This gives him the most stamina of any living creature.
01:05:31
Homo erectus has now become a big game hunter.
01:05:37
Like wolves, they track their prey across great distances.
01:05:43
They are slower but can run a lot longer than their prey.
01:05:55
When the prey is exhausted, they set the trap.
01:06:10
For Homo erectus power is not reserved for the males.
01:06:14
The difference in size between males and females has reduced.
01:06:18
The rule of the strongest is now replaced by the leadership of the cleverest.
01:06:25
In this group, a female is in charge.
01:06:28
Her ability to anticipate,
01:06:30
her intelligence and political skill have made her their chief.
01:07:08
No longer scavengers competing with vultures,
01:07:12
thanks to their weapons and collective organization,
01:07:14
Homo erectus now compete with the top predators,
01:07:19
but they have become dependent on their prey.
01:07:22
They must follow them wherever they go.
01:07:25
They have become nomads,
01:07:28
and so they build shelters on their travels.
01:07:31
Their ancestors adapted to the environment.
01:07:34
They are transforming it.
01:07:47
Finding a site to set up camp.
01:07:50
They are building their first shelters, sometimes enclosed by fences,
01:07:55
camps that allow them to protect themselves.
01:08:08
Homo erectus has created a more complex society.
01:08:12
Each member of the group now has a role,
01:08:15
often according to their particular skills.
01:08:19
Some are skilled at shaping rocks.
01:08:21
Others for cutting meat.
01:08:24
Social functions appear for tanning hides or building shelters.
01:08:30
Work, and the distribution of tasks are now part of human life,
01:08:34
with all the pressures and conflicts that come with them.
01:08:40
Clearly, some do more than others.
01:08:45
The leader of the group must maintain justice.
01:08:52
The most important moment of the day is when the food is shared out.
01:08:59
Serving some first with the best cuts.
01:09:03
Giving a little extra to someone she may need soon.
01:09:06
Establishing a hierarchy and nurturing alliances.
01:09:10
The fine details of her social life require political skill.
01:09:21
To protect their bodies,
01:09:23
Homo erectus have clothes made from plants, hides, and bark.
01:09:41
However, this brings its own problems.
01:09:44
Parasites have found a new home.
01:09:48
A body covered in thin, visible skin,
01:09:50
is easy and enticing prey for bloodsuckers.
01:10:02
They no longer fear predators,
01:10:07
but another enemy now stalks them, more dangerous, more ruthless.
01:10:24
The world is still full of unexplained phenomena.
01:10:28
Homo erectus has an inquiring mind
01:10:31
trying to make sense of the mysteries that surround it.
01:10:38
One of the greatest is about to be revealed.
01:10:58
It's here.
01:11:04
This savage beast appears in some dry seasons to take lives.
01:11:27
It is a huge creature.
01:11:30
They must prepare to fight.
01:12:02
They are defeated.
01:12:21
They save whatever they can.
01:13:29
In a few hours, the fire has destroyed their world.
01:13:36
Their camp has gone up in smoke, and the herds deserted the landscape.
01:13:51
However, Homo erectus is about to make a discovery.
01:14:00
What is that powerful odor?
01:14:03
What are these mouth-watering smells?
01:14:21
An animal has been trapped in the fire.
01:14:39
Its flesh is still good and has a delicious taste.
01:14:45
This is perhaps how Homo erectus
01:14:48
discovered this remarkable property of fire, to cook food.
01:14:55
As well as the taste,
01:14:57
they will soon notice that the meat is easy to chew and digest.
01:15:02
What about those awful roots?
01:15:05
Cooked, they are delicious.
01:15:08
They require 16 times less energy to digest.
01:15:14
An amazing discovery.
01:15:20
Cooked food will allow us to reduce the size of our jaw muscles
01:15:24
and develop our brains.
01:15:30
We will walk with a lighter step and think clearer.
01:15:37
Our brains will become high-powered machines
01:15:40
capable of associations, constructed thoughts, and new emotions.
01:15:59
It is likely that the aesthetic sense developed at this time.
01:16:09
Shapes and lights elicited new sensations.
01:16:14
We were affected by the beauty of the world.
01:16:38
They are all dreaming about that delicious food
01:16:42
but lack the key ingredient,
01:16:52
fire.
01:16:54
If only they knew how to obtain it.
01:17:15
That one looks small and seems alone.
01:17:18
Maybe they can capture it.
01:18:04
Another group.
01:18:06
They have captured the beast.
01:18:20
Technology.
01:18:21
In this new world, nothing is more important.
01:18:24
They are ready to fight to obtain it.
01:19:15
They could fight, but the young chief has a different idea.
01:19:21
His clan knows how to control fire.
01:19:25
The other has a greater skill in working hides and accessories.
01:20:08
This period saw the first instances of trade.
01:20:18
Through objects,
01:20:20
the techniques that go with them travel between clans.
01:21:00
A new era for humanity, the exchange of knowledge.
01:21:07
Thanks to traditions and language,
01:21:10
knowledge accumulates and the spread of skills accelerates
01:21:14
over vast distances.
01:21:25
From now on, everything will move a lot faster.
01:21:30
No wonder the use of fire appeared so suddenly
01:21:33
and across the entire world.
01:21:38
The young chief is attracted to this woman.
01:21:41
Her face stirs something in him.
01:21:48
At this point in our history, the first real couples begin to appear.
01:21:57
Selecting, desiring, and seeking intimate moments alone.
01:22:24
Aesthetics now play a role in sexual relationships.
01:22:29
Bodies are covered in colors, styles, decorations to arouse.
01:22:50
Sexuality brings people together, but something else is happening.
01:22:55
A story of bonds that build and grow and last.
01:23:02
The story of love is still being told.
01:23:12
The domestication of fire changed the lives of the first humans
01:23:15
and gave them warmth, and protection from insects and predators.
01:23:19
It cured their ailments, eliminated the dark,
01:23:22
sharpened the points of their spears, and made them stronger.
01:23:32
However, the greatest advance was in the domain of speech.
01:23:37
Thanks to the development of our left brain
01:23:40
and a small evolution in the throat, the larynx,
01:23:44
our speech became so articulate
01:23:50
that we could evoke the past,
01:23:55
speak of the future,
01:24:01
and recount stories.
01:24:14
Imagine,
01:24:22
the old woman is a storyteller.
01:24:31
Who are we?
01:24:34
Where are we from?
01:24:37
She tells the story of these people and their exploits.
01:24:46
These tales give meaning to their lives.
01:24:54
Perhaps it is this that makes us human.
01:25:09
The first man is the one who can tell his story.
01:25:36
Homo erectus will continue to populate the earth.
01:25:40
With their skills, they will adapt to every climate.
01:25:45
Different populations begin to diverge genetically
01:25:48
and give rise to new types of man.
01:25:56
In furthest China, Homo erectus will become Beijing man, a giant.
01:26:03
In Indonesia, Solo man.
01:26:08
At its edges on Flores Island, a tiny man of no more than a meter.
01:26:14
In Central Asia, he is Denisova man.
01:26:19
In the cold of Europe, Homo erectus has become a Neanderthal.
01:26:23
A massive, heavy man of incredible strength.
01:26:26
He can withstand extreme cold.
01:26:29
His skin whitens to better absorb the weak sunlight.
01:26:32
His eyes and hair grow lighter.
01:26:37
In Africa, he becomes Homo sapiens,
01:26:41
and it is through him that the greatest changes will occur.
01:26:46
At least six species of humans populate the ancient world.
01:26:50
Each develops according to the environment and creates its own culture.
01:26:55
However, this multi-faceted humanity won't last long.
01:26:59
Homo sapiens will soon replace them all.
01:27:22
Around 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens turned the world of man upside down.
01:27:29
Invented more complex societies and proved more inventive in every area.
01:28:20
How will he go on to invent art, skills, beliefs, magic,
01:28:28
writing, medicine, and science?
01:28:32
His extraordinary imagination certainly helps,
01:28:36
but so does the knowledge accumulated by his forefathers.
01:28:39
The Pierola, Toumai, sediba, and Homo erectus.
01:28:47
They have left us a heritage of millions of years of evolution,
01:28:51
one through the impulse to live and a fierce desire to learn.
01:28:58
With this knowledge passed down through the ages,
01:29:01
this great dreamer gave rise to the diversity of peoples today.
01:29:12
A hundred thousand years ago, Homo sapiens left just like his ancestors,
01:29:18
to conquer the world.
01:29:21
He left Africa and spread out across the globe.
01:29:25
He mastered navigation,
01:29:29
across the seas and vast glacial expanses.
01:29:34
He traveled to Australia,
01:29:36
to America over the Bering Strait and soon inhabited the entire planet.
01:29:43
He occasionally intermingled with those who went before,
01:29:46
but everywhere he went the other species of man disappeared.
01:29:52
His appearance changed according to climate and place.
01:29:56
His skin, his hair, the shape of his eyes.
01:30:00
From him arose a multitude of peoples, all looking different,
01:30:05
but deep down the genes are the same.
01:30:08
Genes developed through millions of years of evolution.
01:30:13
He is the father of the entire human race on earth today.
01:30:18
He is the only human on earth,
01:30:21
but his presence shines with a million fires.

Description:

Thirty million years ago a new group of creatures appeared on planet Earth: the great apes. From their ranks arose one family, gifted with exceptional skills: our protagonists. This family would change the face of our world forever. Here, for the very first time in television history, is the saga of our origins, told through the story of one single family - an epic journey upon which the latest scientific discoveries shine an exciting new light. AKA First Man: The New Story Of Our Origins DIRECTOR: Jérôme Guiot, Frédéric Fougea 0:00 The ancient ancestors of humans and their evolutionary journey. 7:05 The empathetic and communal behavior of Pierolas, a species of primate, and their unique cultural and social structure. 14:38 The evolution of early humans and the impact of climate change on different continents. 22:34 The evolution and societal structure of our ancient ancestors as they migrated through Africa. 29:11 The evolution of early human-like primates and their social dynamics, including the emergence of war and funeral rituals. 42:11 Adaptation of early human ancestors in Africa, focusing on the challenges they faced and the innovative solutions they developed. 48:55 A group of early humans discovers the benefits of consuming meat and develops tools to hunt and process it. 57:40 Migration of early humans, highlighting their adaptability and quest for a better life. 1:05:11 Homo erectus evolves into a highly resilient and socially organized species, facing new challenges and discoveries in their environment. 1:14:21 The discovery of fire revolutionized the lives of early humans, leading to advancements in cooking, brain development, language, and storytelling. 1:25:45 The evolutionary journey of Homo sapiens and the diversity of human populations around the world.

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