Search for the First Human (Sahelanthropus Tchadensis)

Ratings: 8.52/10 from 25 users.

Search For The First Human (Sahelanthropus Tchadensis)Sahelanthropus Tchadensis is one of the oldest known species on the human family tree.

This species lived sometime between 7 and 6 million years ago in West-Central Africa (Chad). Walking upright may have helped this species survive in the diverse habitats - including forests and grasslands.

Though we only have cranial material from Sahelanthropus, studies so far indicates this early human had a combination of apelike and humanlike features.

Their apelike features included a small brain (even slightly smaller than a chimpanzee’s!) sloping face, very prominent brow ridges, and elongated skull.

Their humanlike features included small canine teeth, a short middle part of the face, and a spinal cord opening beneath the skull instead of towards the back, like in non-bipedal primates (or apes).

How do we know Sahelanthropus walked upright? Some of the oldest evidence for walking on two legs comes from Sahelanthropus.

The large opening (foramen magnum) in the base of the cranium where the spinal cord connects with the brain is positioned further forward (the underside of the cranium) than in apes or any other primate except humans. This feature indicates that the head of Sahelanthropus was held on an upright body.

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66 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Azhar abro

    Sahelanthropus tchadensis is an extinct hominid species that is dated to about 7 million years ago. Whether it can be regarded as part of the Hominina tree is unclear; there are arguments both supporting and rejecting it. WIKI

    Proud to be the part of modern human, who are clever enough to make a whole face only by half skull?

  2. Fuco

    What year was this made in? Please include timestamps when possible.

  3. Comment Guy

    I really liked how they used four individual artists to reconstruct the skull digitally. It's a good way rule out bias you can get from a singular artist.

    I'm not really fond of the dramatized narrative.

  4. DaftAida

    for those who believe that they are the descendants of knuckle-dragging missing links, so be it. These types of documentaries and spurious theories (like the Pilton Down Man) are a huge Darwinian joke. Get it?

  5. Waldo

    short but good. This is the first I had heard about this new species, or at least new to me. Its crazy to think Lucy is closer to us than to this species, I wonder how long after the chimp split off that this creature came about.

  6. David_99

    Comment Guy

    I have another version of this done a few years ago that doesn't have Toumi (sp?) talking. It was less annoying although it didn't contain the last part with Tim White comparing him to Ardi-Kaddaba, as it is a newer discovery. It would be great if they could someday connect those two species!

  7. james

    @ daft
    Relax.Nobody suggests that you're descended from this sub-species of homonid(not without having met you first,of course)as some of these species developed (Dawinian)joke.Here's a spurious theory:I call it the Genesis Theory.Around 6000 years ago,God created the Heavens and the Earth and the first white people.This came as a surprise to the Mesapotamians Sumerians and Egyptians who,unaware that they did not yet exist,had already developed irrigation,temple construction,agriculture and copper,as well as domesticated animals who also did not yet exist.Shortly thereafter,the newly created homo erecti commited Original Sin,thus screwing it up for everybody.The ensuing epic saga was then documented revised and edited and made into a movie with Charlton Heston,earning numerous Oscars..end of part 1.See?We all Know the story.Now get off my porch.

  8. Todd

    Good documentary.

    Though I understand what the makers of the documentary were doing..'the first-person' narrative approach to 'the first-person' annoyed me down to my DNA.

  9. Waldo

    @ james

    Thats the funniest most witty approach I have seen in a while, great job. (LMAO) Get off my porch, brilliant man absolutely brilliant!! The best part of the genesis b.s. is the part were man manage to domesticate animals in only one generation, Adam's son had live stock to sacrifice remember. I guess the sheep had been wandering around looking for man and when Kane came along, bingo. Then we have Abel, who was apparently born knowing all about agriculture, even though his parents grew up in a magical garden and never had to work the land. Then these two male children somehow get married and have children, even though their parents and themselves are the only people in existence. And they say the evolution hypothesis is not logical?!?!! Seems to me if you could buy this you could surely imagine ape like creatures being our ancestors.

  10. james

    Waldo, heh heh,I chuckled a bit too.I think that the resistance to accepting our genetic relationship to the Simian hominids is primarily egotistical.It also involves the slavish devotion to the authority of the Hebrew holy scripture,but mainly ego.The notion that all those folks shopping at Wal-Mart are descended from some Man/Ape,or worse,AFRICA!! is too much to endure..I say let people cherish their own beliefs,faiths,myth legend fantasies.For many,they can provide a comfort,purpose,a meaning to life that critical thinking doesn't..just keep it out of my face

  11. riley

    whoever directed that doc (i.e. hired the script-writer) should be taken out on the serengeti plain, buried up to their head in the ground, honey pored on their head, and left for the ants.

    content was quite good, though, so i watched anyhoo.

  12. eireannach666

    We didn't evolve from apes , its better than that, we ARE apes!

    Sometimes theory is fact,as in gravity. Do you believe gravity is fact?

    Id even argue that theres more supporting evolution than gravity.

  13. eireannach666

    That's addressed to @daft

  14. riley

    that's true - the mechanism of evolution is easily understood. far more so than gravity. but gravity acts instantaneously, so its observation has more immediate impact, cannot be denied quite as easily, and most importantly, has no impact upon religious beliefs.

    what's lacking with attitudes antagonistic to evolution, where the lack exists, is simply one of acceptance.

    people will not accept, and for that reason will not understand. which is why there's no point in arguing with the obstinate, in any case, on this or any other matter.

    evolution is a fact just as manifest as gravity, to those who have opened their eyes to the world around them, which acts on many sizes and time-scales.

    if evolution didnt exist, the antibiotics we used 30 years ago would work just as well as now. if you accept that minute but significant changes, such as selection for drug resistance by microorganisms, can occur in a few decades, there is nothing in reason to prevent the necessary implication that more substantial changes can occur in thousands & millions of years.

    if you followed the logic, you must either accept that drug resistance occurs and that evolution at every scale occurs, or must deny all. it is not logically defensible to allow that a process occurs partway, but then stops - unless there is, at the same time proposed, some stopping mechanism.

    there is no stopping mechanism - there is only relative statis, amidst various changing conditions of every sort.

    people who deny evolution deny reality, and are a disgrace to the gifts of observation and critical thinking bequeathed to them by the hard-scrabble work of their ancestors.

  15. riley

    regarding Sahelanthropus' bipedality

    despite the certainty expressed in this doc, and the well-respected scientists assertions therein, this matter is unresolved.

    the date of the fossil goes back into, or even beyond, the human-ape split.

    it would be odd to imagine that chimps evolved from a more fully bipedal ancestor, though i suppose not impossible.

    so this species could actually be an ancestor of all three (if the split occurs later), only related to such an ancestor, or any combination thereof.

    what it is, without doubt, is the oldest miocene homininae fossil yet discovered. such an important discovery will almost certainly get a more adult treatment in a subsequent documentary.

  16. Eric T

    I agree with several posters. Good doc, annoying narrative. I suppose it's novel, but it would have been unbearable had this doc been longer.

  17. glwilliams

    what new species would or could a bird or snake evolve into next?.

  18. Riley

    "what new species would or could a bird or snake evolve into next?."

    its already happened -
    bird: penguin (antarctica) or flightless cormorant (galapagos)

    snake: The Madagascar Blind Snake - there are a number of species, ranging amongst the reptiles, arthropods living in underground evironments, which have lost sight or even the visual organ itself.

    if the mammals were to go extinct, there is no reason the birds might not re-radiate as the 2nd coming of theropods.

    shortly after the k/t extinction, large birds were the top predators on the planet. could happen again, though not precisely as before. one thing, for sure: the arthropods and cnidarians will survive, as long as the plants do.

  19. oink

    first person narrative really ruined it for me

  20. glwilliams

    a peguin is still a bird a blind snake is still a snake and i said evolve not de evolve into.

  21. Riley


    i suspected my answer would not please you. do you not understand that your question is unanswerable?

    what will you be thinking next monday at 3:17pm?

    is it not enough to see that birds are elaborated dinosaurs, or that animals change according to their condition?

    what the future holds, beyond change, is uncertain.

  22. Riley

    one more thing - penguins have not 'de-evolved' - they evolved into a different niche - from flight into aquatic feeding - just as the flightless cormorants, only more so

    they do quite well, and resent your implication that they are in some degraded status. flying around over barren ice in the cold air does them no good. the fish are in the water.

  23. Waldo

    Thats right Riley, the penguins have contacted me to represent them in this matter. They promise to return my sanity of I get them a satisfactory outcome. We have already filed a motion to supress the word "de evolve", as it is not a real word as far as we can tell. We will be filing for a change a venue as well, my clients do not tolerate the heat that well.

    Have a nice day Mr. Wiliams. We are looking forward to settling this matter with you in a non-hostile environment. My clients have come up with what we think is a fair figure, please contact us as to avoid in unpleasant confrontation. Don't let their cute wadley ways fool you, these guys are shrewd business men.

  24. Waldo

    @ glWilliams

    Just kiddin around man, no offense entended. Riley is right though, without knowing what kind of future environmental variables they will face or what random mutation might come about- who knows. He is also right that they have already evolved into new species when you consider the penguin or blind snake. They can not mate with birds or snakes of another species, so they are a new species completely. I cant remember the break down, domain- kingdom- phylum- class- order- family- genus- species. I think thats right, any way I think you mean to ask what genus snakes or birds may give rise to in the future. A different species will not neccessarily look very different, and would still be a snake or a bird. I may be getting the breakdown wrong, but you see what I mean I hope. Later.

  25. glwilliams

    unanswerable,best answer. or no new animals to come.

  26. Waldo

    @ glWilliams

    Huh? I don't understand man. If you are asking me to clarify my anwer to your question, I said it was unanswerable. Too many unidentifiable variables to possibly predict even what the next species might be, much less a whole new genus.

    Perhaps with the melting ice caps polar bears will have to learn to hunt and feed in the water, eventually turning into some kind of new aquatic animal, not a fish but some kind of new aqautic mammal. Sort of like a huge white walrus, but more predatory. In reality though I think the ice is melting away to fast for them to adapt, they most likely will die out.

    If you want to play the evolution game you have to think of a species experiencing some kind of evironmental or predatory pressure to change or die out, like the polar bears. They hunt by sitting on the ice and ambushing seals as they pop up for air. But the ice is melting and they are having to swim longer and longer distances in open water. They need the high energy diet they get from blubber to sustain such huge bulk on such little food, just think they have to consume enough calories to hibernate for months with no food, and babies nursing. If they could adapt to hunting in the water it might save their lives. But their body would have to be modified drastically from its current design to ever be competative against their prey in open water. I doubt they will get the necessary time to evolve, makes me sad really. Its hard to imagine children growing up with no concept of the wonder and awe that is polar bear. But thats a whole other post.

    I am sure there are some birds or snakes that fit this criteria of needing to adapt or die. But I am not aware of any specific cases so I can't speculate how they might change. I would have to know what species I am starting with and what pressures they were facing, even then its just a guess. No way to know what mutation might manifest itself.

  27. jack1952

    I'm a knuckle dragging ape that can read and write; not very well though.

  28. Alex B

    life goes on as we are a strong germ and wil go on till the sun dims

  29. Jo McKay

    Good doc. I love the hominid gang. (We think our lives are challenging and stressful :) Glad to see something visual on this find. (Fossils found in Chad in 2001), but have to agree w others re: National Geographic' first person narrative is a challenge to ignore (perhaps meant for showing in elementary schools? - or to some church groups :). Anyways, if you wonder how your ancestors may have lived 7 million years ago, give this a watch.
    @ Riley, well said.

  30. Paddy Carter

    Terrible format with everything in the 1st person; shame as this is a very interesting topic... and there clearly are SOME knuckle dragging sorts commenting here...

  31. Joseph Cesare

    So annoying. There are so many logical issues with the 1st person narrative that i cant even begin right now. Imagine the board toom meeting where that was decided.

    "Yeah, great idea, bob. Let's give voice to something that is not only dead, but didnt speak english or any language we know about. That won't get in the way of the information we have to put across. While we're at it, lets have someone wake up at the end they'll realise the whole thing was all a dream sequence. Bam. Roll Credits. Done."

    The secret is that Bob is their boss's art school drop out son-in-law and no one can tell him his idea is s***. Bam. Roll Credits. Done.

  32. kelamuni

    Very interesting though the 1st person narrative is annoying -- as though it were written for a grade three class.

  33. AlfBeta

    Typical of the genre. And there's a reason for it, and whatever that reason is, it reminds me of the same symptom observable in preacher put-ons and presidents' down home folksy. They smell the same. Just the way my nose works maybe.

  34. Craigzz

    Why do we walk on 2 feet ? I can only consider that millions of years ago, there existed an abundant food source, possibly a plant some 3 to 6 feet in height. This plant was also spikey or thorney, and its food source could only be reached by our ancient apelike ancestors standing up on 2 legs momentarily, as do modern chimps. Over time, we simply evolved to walking on two legs, and using our other two limbs, to pick and forage the food from these plants. If true, what was the abundant food source/plant ? It makes no sense we just evolved in trees or on the savanna, evolution always has a reason............survival.

  35. Laurens Southgate

    Sex probably has something to do with it. Ardipithecus ramidus males and females had similar sized canines - which is in contrast to chimpanzees who have a larger sexual dimorphism in their teeth. This is because chimps aggressively compete for females. The diminishing of sexual dimorphism in Ardipithecus' teeth would indicate a change in sexual competition.

    It is hypothesised that bipedalism evolved because rather than competing aggressively for mates, males began to gather fruit and find mates via more social means. If this is the case then individuals that could spend more time walking on two legs would be better at gathering food for their prospective mates because they would be able to carry more fruit in their freed hands.

    That is one theory about the evolution of bipedalism.

    I quite like Richard Dawkins' hypothesis from 'The Ancestors Tale' - that random, arbitrary sexual selection began to favour individuals that walked on two legs as nothing more than an arbitrary aesthetic preference of the females. Sexual selection has the propensity to suddenly push evolution in seemingly random and arbitrary directions.

    Either way I think that the evolution of bipedalism is most likely to be something to do with sex.

  36. sknb

    This would be SO Much better without the first person narrative

  37. jeanbodie

    Thinking 'outside the box' Craigzz, how about that they discovered that it gave them feet to walk on and hands to perform tasks such as hunting, using tools etc.

    Standing made them taller which must have been helpful for the thing you suggest and also for seeing from a higher vantage point, the way modern humans stand on tiptoe or use a ladder.

  38. MAllen Documentaires

    I posted a few months back that Top Documentary Films always seems to have at least one Doc that supports Evolution on the main page. I don't support the bible and I don't support creationist but that doesn't mean myself and 25 Million Americans believe we Evolved from a Snail either. Why won't you pimp the Films that talk about Alternative design? Why must we be spoon fed only one side of Science where is the choice when did we become China? The Evolutionist propaganda machine is getting old. The debated ended years ago with the discovery of DNA your side lost and huge. Why can't we move on and talk about how the DNA got it's design. maybe its from another Galaxy after all didn't NASA just say a few months back and a few scientist that there is life in other separate Universes? Why must the students texts book make our Earth look so primitive by saying we "Evolved" from an Ape after nothing exploded and Rocks got rained on for billions of years then it formed sperm that was swimming around looking for an egg.?

    (who writes the Bull$hit)? netter yet what fool would believe it?

    (thank you Achems_Razor for pointing out the miss spellings)

  39. over the edge

    You are either misrepresenting science or have no idea what they actually claim. Could you please show me where science claims?

    - "we Evolved from a Snail"

    - how "debated ended years ago with the discovery of DNA your side lost and huge"

    - " we "Evolved" from an Ape"

    - and "nothing exploded"

    Because if you read the actual science none of these claims are made. Maybe in the past when our understanding was more limited. Or maybe in a magazine or interview where the science is simplifyied so those not familiar with the study in question can understand. But in the actual scientific journals and the theories that the science is based on these things are not claimed. Please feel free to prove me wrong or admit your errors.

  40. Achems_Razor

    Where do you get "25 Million Americans (sic)belive we Evolved from a Snail either."? And what "(sic)seperate (sic)Univereses"?? Your post does not make sense, something that you made up? (talk about Bull$hit)??? by the way get a spell checker.

  41. MAllen Documentaires

    Sounds like a fair assumption on your part.

    But you know as well as I you can open any school Biology or Science book ad it will tell you the solar system exploded "Big Bang" you can Google

    "A Universe from Nothing" written buy one of the top Scientists who supports Evolution so research it and get back to me.


    The discovery of DNA "proved" man did not Evolve from an Ape and after Scientists examine DNA they are fascinated and blown away by its complexity and "Design" there are mathematical codes in DNA that will take 100 more years to figure out.

    Or as you would say "Billions and Billions " of years.

    pardon me as I ROFL

    If you really want to learn something I may continue to debate with you but if you insists on replying like a brainwashed victim of the Lies in the texts books your going to regret it i debate this topic at MIT and those people have no Evidence man Evolved from an ape so i hope you can.

    or at least post the links that support your misguided comments.

  42. MAllen Documentaires

    So if having a "tail" was so beneficial, why did we lose it?

    And even if I was drunk enough to buy the BS Darwin wrote in his fairytale book, how did we get an ape from a fish?

    show me the fossils. that's all i read online.. "WE win we have the fossils" well show me at least one that has fish to ape.

    back your postings.

  43. over the edge

    I don't care where you debate these topics. An appeal to athority does not scare or impress me. I will not follow your logical fallicies away from the burden you took on when you made the comments you did.
    "A Universe from Nothing" really? while a good read it is by no way a scientific journal (I specifically asked you to avoid this type of tactic).
    wow that is all you have for proof that ""debated ended years ago with the discovery of DNA your side lost and huge".
    you provided absolutely no evidence to back up your claims. I have you desire to follow you chasing some red herring. So I will ask again. Can you actually back up the claims you made with actual scientific evidence? Finally you ask me for evidence? for what? what claims did i make in my reply to you?

  44. MAllen Documentaires

    I'm beginning to sense frustration on your part and it's expected.
    After all your supporting a lie and it's always going to be an uphill struggle to try and spread your propaganda but I understand your situation it comes with being misguided you actually believe what your saying.

    As for the MIT smack it bothers me your not impressed as I would be somewhat impressed you worked at NASA .

    Look we don't have to agree with each other but that doesn't mean we can't give each other props when they are recognized.

    I'm at work right now but will make an effort to address your comments when things slow down through the night.

    Also on a side note many links and videos I have posted are not showing up. )for some odd reason)

  45. Achems_Razor

    "The ("solar system") exploded Big Bang??" WTH are you talking about? And no one is going to regret anything, do not give any veiled threats!
    You are the one who is making claims! The burden of proof lays with you to provide evidence to your claims!
    You are as much debating this topic at MIT as my Doberman is giving them barking lessons!

  46. MAllen Documentaires

    If you can't understand how Evolution depends on the Big Bang then I don't have the time to explain it to you.

    And given your short fuse I would rather debate someone else on this subject. Do some research . Drop some Prozac then get back to me.

  47. Achems_Razor

    Tell me "how evolution depends on the Big Bang"? and since when did the "(solar system)?? explode"?? I know about the "universe from nothing" by "Lawrence Krauss.
    YOU are making numerous claims, so far no evidence from you!

    also, cut with the "ad hominem"

  48. over the edge

    links and videos are no longer permitted. I am sure you can get your point across without them. As for the rest of your post I am withholding comment until actual proof for your claims is provided.

  49. MAllen Documentaires

    Well since I am new around here It was not common knowledge I could share any links or videos. After all we wouldn't want the TDF website to be liable for any lawsuit of copyrighted material. Although many forums and website do just fine allowing othes to post what you can find on Google but I digress.

  50. MAllen Documentaires

    To be honest I don't like to debate people who aren't up to date with DNA codes and latest findings of soft tissue found in a so called 25 Million "dinosaur Fossil" ?
    That sorta killed the "million" year theory all to hell that Scientists claimed soft tissue can't survive thousands of years much yet in a "25 Million" year old bone? can I ROFL now or later? Unless your willing to update your debate skills and knowledge to at least meet me on a higher updated level we can't continue.

    I'm not here to debate Bubba on which NASCAR driver is the best I'm here to educate you to the "New Science" If your not willing to accept my offer then stay misinformed its your call esse.

  51. MAllen Documentaires

    also, cut with the "ad hominem" ?

    Sorry if I speak it as I see it save your fancy jargon for your friends who share that Government paid cubicle you shills work in.

    You don't need to use words like "paper Tiger" "straw man" "ad hominem" talk like a man.

    Stop trying to Win the debate and focus on learning something or teach me something.

    That is why "evolution" has never moved forward they can't get past the Who's c0ck is bigger ego trip. That is why I support AD we don't care about how or when we got here we focus in on why and how we can live our lives to the fullest.

  52. over the edge

    lmao. I have read the actual papers you are describing. Please tell me where "soft tissue" was found. I know what they found. But as these are your claims I will let you hang yourself. So go ahead present this evidence (give the name(s) of the paper(s) i dare you). While you are at it are you going to address the other claims you made? I am all ears.

  53. Achems_Razor

    There is no debate. Just some claims without evidence from you and "argumentum ad ignorantium" trying to shift the burden of proof, with some "cum hoc ergo procter hoc fallacies".
    What is AD? or are you referring to ID?

  54. MAllen Documentaires

    There is always a debate just because I choose who to debate with doesn't mean the debate isn't happening.

    Right now some are debating on if they should wake up and abandon the useless Darwin theories but they think the alternative is creation and who wants to support the bible?

    AD is Alternative Design we don't support Creation the bible or Evolution.

    We are smart enough to realize we didn't get our DNA from some random explosion and millions of years of rain pouring on some rocks like the textbooks try and feed us. The same textbooks that made you believe in Evolution in the first place. When you can open your eyes and free yourself from the public school BS they promote you will always be in the dark and on the losing end of these types of discussions.

  55. Achems_Razor

    So what am I supposed to do? play guessing games to try to figure out what Alternative Design is or are you actually going to tell us?

  56. MAllen Documentaires

    I will be at my laptop around 5pm to answer your questions until then try Google and see for your self how many Scientist are diving off Darwin's BS wagon.

  57. MAllen Documentaires

    Your not all ears your all mouth. You know you can Google everything I have mentioned you want me to stop what I'm doing and try and educate you on the spot so you can look intelligent in another forums? You want me to post every single document that was ever mentioned on everything I bring up? Your using some sort of staling tactic in hopes I go away. The soft tissue was found a few months back it was all over the news stop being hard to deal with. I know it hurts to still have to support Darwin after all the scientific evidence that clearly shows man didn't Evolve from a fish.

    I will make a deal post your best evidence you and I are here from two apes having sex then I will post my evidence to show how insane you sound.

  58. over the edge

    Where did I claim " you and I are here from two apes having sex" ? Why should I provide evidence for a claim I never made?

    Enough with the avoidence, projection and logical fallicies. You came to this thread making claims. All anybody has done is to ask for evidence to back them up. You went from "laptop around 5pm to answer your questions" to "you want me to stop what I'm doing and try and educate you on the spot" ? I wonder why? And you debate at MIT lol.

    “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchens

  59. Duh?

    To answer your question - there aren't as many documentaries about alternative design because it isn't accepted science while evolution is proven to the same degree that gravity is proven.

  60. MAllen Documentaires

    I can go outside and drop an apple to confirm there is Gravity but can I go outside and see proof man Evolved from an ape?

  61. MAllen Documentaires

    I have said in earlier postings what AD is and what we do and don't support please read earlier postings.

  62. Letem Dangle

    Orangutans are gangster.

  63. mysterioso

    I'm so sorry MAllen, but the other side only has faith. How do you make a "documentary" proving faith creates real things" You can't, because you couldn't DOCUMENT anything. Faith based explanations for the universe or humanity fall flat. Get it. Science uses proof, examples, carbon dating, comparisons, lab work, field work, peer review. Faith uses lies, distortions, fabrications, insults, threats…etc. You base all of your 'theories" on one book, the bible. You have to remember that the bible is neither a science book or a history book. It's a book of fables.

  64. mysterioso

    Yes. its called science and people have been going outside and proving man evolved from an apelike creature for a couple of hundred years.

  65. Margaret oneill

    I don't know if it's true but they say that wecome from animals? It might be true?.

  66. Ed

    We ARE animals, by definition. However, to your point, the massive weight of evidence (fossil, DNA, etc.) indicates humans have evolved from lower animals, bacteria, and before those even from plain amino acids.

    The only other explanation I've ever heard offered was supported by nothing but gratuitous assertion and a fairy tale written/edited/revised by men to support a specific political/social/economic agenda. And that's not particularly convincing if you have any intellect and are capable of unbiased analysis of the arguments.

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