Ape to Man

Ratings: 9.00/10 from 37 users.


Ape to ManIt has long been considered the most compelling question in our history: Where do human beings come from? Although life has existed for millions of years, only in the past century-and-a-half have we begun to use science to explore the ancestral roots of our own species.

The search for the ultimate answer has taken a number of twists and turns, with careers made and broken along the way. Ape to Man is the story of the quest to find the origins of the human race - a quest that spanned more than 150 years of obsessive searching The search for the origins of humanity is a story of bones and the tales they tell.

It was in 1856 that the first bones of an extinct human ancestor were encountered, unearthed by a crew of unskilled laborers digging for limestone in Western Europe. The find, which would be known as Neanderthal Man, was seeing the light of day for the first time in more than 40,000 years.

At the time, the concept of a previous human species was virtually unthinkable. Yet just a few years later, Charles Darwin's work The Origin of Species first broached the subject of evolution, and by the end of the nineteenth century, it had become the hottest topic of the age.

Adventurers had embarked on the search for the Missing Link, the single creature that represented the evolutionary leap from apes to humans. Ape to Man examines the major discoveries that have led us to the understanding we have today, including theories that never gained full acceptance in their time, an elaborate hoax that confused the scientific community for years, and the ultimate understanding of the key elements that separate man from apes.

More great documentaries

22 Comments / User Reviews

  1. An Ape

    @Achems Razor, no, Chimpanzees did not evolve from humans, nor does that article say that. Humans and Chimpanzees share a common ancestor. Even if Ardipithecus Ramidus is the common ancestor of humans and chimps (Which it is not), Ardi is not a human, it is an ardipithecus ramidus.

  2. Achems Razor

    An Ape:

    You are right! I stand corrected.

    Scientists say a 4.4-million-year fossil called Ardi-short for ardipithecus ramidus- is descended from the "missing link" or the least common ancestor between humans and apes.

  3. fernando tabing

    i therefore conclude that we had different ancestor and the time of research and technology will find the answer and for me its in the next hundreds of years of human intelligence that makes it more closer to why we became the supreme being here on earth.
    just imagine if we humans are not the supreme being, there is no second being to run the world as we do.our uniqueness are million years ahead to the other life evolve in the planet.
    we are human beings to be given the chance to find answers not only from where we came from but to understand the flow of universe in thousand of years more to come.
    the answer is not in this present time but in the next hundred years or more.

  4. Krio

    Can't wait for the heated debates on this one!

    @fernando tabing - does the earth need us to "run" it? Funny, I thought we were raping it for all it's worth!

    And I reckon you'll get a few bible bashers telling you exactly who the supreme being is! lol

  5. Krio

    Hmm Could be wrong about the heated debates. Ignorance is bliss as they say!

  6. puso.plus.sparkle

    The missing link is still missing... and it will stay that way... missing. Even if scientist will unearthed something... the missing link will always be missing. Hence, missing link.

  7. Ian

    there is more than one "missing link". in fact there are quite a few of them. they are constantly finding "missing links" but there are always more. its will be a loong time before we find all of them. or we may never even find all of them, there simply may not be a preserved skeleton of all the ancient apes

  8. Lisa

    @ Ian
    we may never even find all of them, there simply may not be a preserved skeleton of all the ancient apes

    Why not?

  9. Aaron

    We're quite lucky to have fossil evidence at all! A gap in the fossil record does not equate to a lack of evidence for evolution. Modern genetics has contributed a staggering amount of evidence for evolution and the genetic evidence alone is more than enough for most scientists.
    However, if you still require an unbroken chain of fossils to turn your mind over to evolution, you can look at Diatoms.
    The record of Diatoms evolving is quite complete, and you can actually walk down a hallway in a museum with pictures of Diatoms and see each stage in their evolution.

  10. Doc_jock

    Oh boy, if we mix religion and science we get goofy results like mixing poetry and golf! The missing "links" in terms of all transitions fossils, will never be found (you have to die in a great location suitable for fossil forming before all the other animals and microbes eat your remains! lol) BUT the actual missing links in terms of ACTUAL molecular information lives in all of us: it`s called DNA. When you sequence it, we can symbolize it all with millions of letters...all in exact million over million bits of detail...and we see the EXACT overlap with ALL common ancestry. It cannot be denied. No matter if Christian, Muslim, Jew or Atheist does the DNA sequencing... the results are the same. We are mere animals. Smart ones, but just animals. So be kind to your kin. And remember, if you don`t believe this...perhaps we should let all the thousands of rapists and sex offenders out of prison, `cuz we convict them based on their relative ancestry to other living things! Welcome to reality. I`m sure glad the Church does not kill people...cuz they certainly would not use DNA to convict ya!

  11. Angelica Guerrero

    I like how they just kept finding skulls without contacting the authorities. Nowadays, there's so much red tape that if someone were to unearth a skull or skull fragment, they'd be locked up if they didn't contact the police. Just funny how much things have changed.

  12. PavolvsBitch

    I'm not going to entertain this garbage. The theory remains another kooky unproven idea of the psychopathic elites with no basis in history, nature or science. Defies common sense, logic, reason. We are as we are and are as we have always been. Yes, we have evolved in understanding yet our evoloution has been thwarted, disrupted and virtually derailed by a certain virus. The origins of this virus are a closely guarded mystery by the carriers; the carriers are known. So many are infected with the virus however, that they are paralysed when it comes to identifying and irradicating either the source or the carriers.

  13. Achems_Razor

    I can only entertain the idea that you are referring to the virus of religion, the sickness of mind of grand proportions that the carriers of the very contagious virus of religion has let loose on the human race, eradication of this insidious virus is forthcoming though, slow but sure, even as we speak!

    Science rules!

  14. steamknife

    If hair loss is a sign of evolution then may I propose that Asians are more evolved due to lesser body hair? The answer is no. Or at least not yet proven.

    Hair issue still remains debatable within the concept of evolution. However, I would not go so far as to question the reliability of evolution based on this aspect. Of course, evolution may not be the only answer but since we rely so heavily on this concept, we need to keep an open mind and wait for further findings.

    Anyway, you've posted a long comment and I find it very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Paul Buhl

    Religious thought comes from within our brains, as does Scientific thought. So they are both natural. Remember, it is now Science that is talking about invisible dimensions existing in our midst, one thing being in two places at the same time, past, present and future possibly all existing at once, and 95% of matter having no physical proof of it's existence in the form of Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

    What Science is now revealing about our existence is so absurd, it makes the idea of a creator seem tame.

  16. Achems_Razor

    @Paul Buhl:

    All your religion has to show for it is man made words, and more words, from your man made books/bibles from your invisible gods that only exist in the religee's minds, no where else.

    science has a lot of empirical evidence, precise measurements from quantum physics, major maths that mean something, even from the basic star stuff that we are all made from, and the most important, science is not stagnant, not static, always upwards mobility, not like the religee's meanderings that are set in stone. Why do you not tell me something that is "new" from your fairy tales of horrors the OT.

  17. Jack1952

    What in the world are you talking about?

  18. joshexplore

    This short story of mine captures the moment when two of the most dominant species on the earth met for the first time - Neanderthal and Homosapian. Yet natures laws are stern, coalition is not conceivable, and there can only ever be one dominant species.

    Enter Homosapian – the battle for mastery (short story)

    Outside the cave the world was a savage place. The rules of life were simple; fight or be fought; eat or be eaten, kill or be killed – there was no love nor harmony, only a battle for survival. The Neanderthal stepped cautiously into the light, his eyes scanning the stretch of white trees that seemed to frown over the frozen river, ominously arching on either side. His stumpy legs shuffled forward onto the cave-lip, while the icy wind attacked and whipped against his body. The cruel world was signing out its call. Yet this was not a call of kindness, but instead, the malicious howl of nature in the lifeless struggle of an ice-age.

    Almost every instinct screamed at the Neanderthal, telling him to return back to his lair to keep warm. Yet a deep stinging had spread over his mind over the last few days, until it screamed out in palpable pain; this was the sting of hunger.

    After climbing down the slope that lead to his cave, he took shelter under a clump of pine trees near to the edge of the frozen river. Here the wind was calmer, as the shaggy branches acted as a shelter from the howling air. Looking up towards the powdery white boughs, he searched for signs of life.

    The laws of the frozen wild are tough. The weaker creatures perish in the hostility, and without the qualities of cunning and wit, they soon become wiped out of existence. Yet, despite the savagery of the world, the strongest creatures always salvage survival – and with this audacious ability to remain alive, it comes with it, a canny ability to remain unseen. So the Neanderthal found nothing, not a single movement, nor a whisper amongst the trees. Hence he trudged on forward through the wilderness; his deep hunger gnawing incessantly inside.

    As he searched on, he began to let his mind wander. It was a hopeful day dream, and it gave him great belief that he will finish the day with food. He thought of how his species alone is the only animal that is intuitive enough to enforce their strength through dead things. He did not resort to biting or scratching like the other animals in the frozen world. Instead, he had used the sturdiness of branches and the sharpness of rocks as a substitute for fangs and claws.

    Snapping out of his reverie, the Neanderthal saw something shoot across a pillar of tress. It moved with a silent swiftness, disappearing into the wilderness before his eyes had time to fully adjust. Tightening the grip of his spear, the Neanderthal felt a rush of energy surge through him. Every colour intensified; every sound became more acute; every smell clearer.

    There is a patience that marks dominance in the wild, and it is such patience that leads to survival. It is the persistence of the wolf as it entices its prey forward, never edging to close, yet never straying too far away. The wolf delays the attack long enough for the rest of the wolf-pack to arrive, where they then devour into the meaty flesh of the prey, ripping it open with savage victory.

    This patience belonged to the Neanderthal as he stood in the forest, doggedly waiting for the slightest sign of the creature. And with such patience, he eventually saw it. Bright yellow eyes blinked within a spruce bush only a few meters ahead. He knew that with his weapon he could defeat any creature that inhabits the frozen land, and so he stared directly at the spot of where he knew the creature resided. A series of screams bellowed from the Neanderthals throat, and he waved his spear to show his readiness to fight. The creature responded with equal willingness, sliding its way through the leaves; its great white paws pressing into the snow; its two saber-tooth fangs glinting with ferocity.

    In a flash, both Neanderthal and Saber-tooth tiger knew it. It was the time of death. The battle will reach a bloody end and only one creature will survive. Only one creature will get to chew on thick flesh of another, tasting their warm and bubbly blood. As they circled about the trees, snarling and assessing one another, patiently waiting for the right moment to strike, nature watched keenly. For over the vast whiteness, a ghostly silence brooded over the battle ground. The wind had stopped and mother earth peered down expectantly –waiting to see who was the most dominant and adaptive of her children.

    With unimaginable speed, the tiger leapt forward into the air, its claws outstretched and its razor sharp teeth bearing brutality. Instinctively, the Neanderthal raised his spear out high in front of him, waiting for the Saber-tooth to land down and pierce into his weapon. Yet it never happened. Only centimetres before the belly of the tiger was from touching the Neanderthal’s spearhead, something struck from the side and pierced into the body of the tiger. The sheer speed and velocity of the intruding object knocked the tiger off course and it spun in the air, collapsing onto the earth in an awkward heap. The Neanderthal looked down in confusion, watching as the snowy ground changed into a slushy red while blood oozed out of its wound. Sticking into the tigers gut was another spear, yet it seemed oddly different. Unlike his which was fairly short and thick, this one was much longer and thinner. The Neanderthal then felt a surge of panic rush through him, yet it was nothing compared to the terror when he looked up and saw the intruder; it was then that the Neanderthal experienced the return of an old companion; fear.

    The Neanderthal’s mind flashed a thousand memories as he tried to recall any previous encounter with such a creature – yet there was nothing. Instead, he scrutinised it with a reserved transfixion. At a distance, it looked strangely familiar to his species, yet when it moved closer, notable differences could be seen. It was taller than him, yet it possessed less sinew. Its skin was darker and less hair covered its body. The Neanderthals feet suddenly became locked onto the earth; frozen by fear. There was an instinct inside him that screamed at him to fight, yet a more rational predisposition told him to run. But the ancient companion of fear simply kept him locked there, and he remained in his spot, frozen and unable to move, much like the icy world around him.

    The mysterious creature stopped only a few meters in front of him, and the Neanderthal stared into its deep and intelligent eyes. The spheres of its soul showed little savagery, but at the same time, a dominance and wisdom more powerful than anything he had ever witnessed before spoke within them.

    Both creatures had no conscious knowledge of death, but like all animals in the wild, they acquired deaths instincts. Death represented itself as the greatest of pain, as the worst of all punishments, and the greatest mystery of the unknown. And it was in that moment, when Neanderthal and Homosapain stood face to face on the snowy stage for the very first time, that mother earth knew a sanguine battle for mastery would follow. Both species desired such mastery, yet the unforgiving laws of the wild will never allow it to be shared. Coalition was not conceivable. There will only ever be one winner; for that is the prime rule of nature.

  19. nitramgnal1

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud.

Leave a comment / review: