Becoming Human, First of a Three-Part Series, a Film Review

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Becoming Human, First of a Three-Part Series, a Film Review

Nineteen experts, and a vast of information on Prehistoric human evolution, Becoming Human—a NOVA PBS documentary film, that aimed to share monumental discoveries and breakthroughs (research) on fossils relating to our origin—was first aired by the Public Broadcasting Station, on November 3, 2009. A revelation we should not miss, the film was about our “harsh” beginning, and how our ancestors survived the wilderness–aka survival of the fittest– as they evolved many million years ago (mya).

One of the strength of this film, was that experts from prestigious colleges and universities from different countries contributed and have zealously searched for evidences, and collaborated their discoveries for our better understanding on how man (with the scientific name of Homo sapiens) had evolved and survived the prehistoric times.

Equally important to fossil discoveries, is climate change—as it isn’t just happening in these modern days, but it’s a part of our evolution way back from the prehistoric days.

Supported by physical evidences gathered at Afar, Ethiopia, and Africa, the presence of diatoms are evident to lakes (and some others) that appeared and disappeared many times, and over-and-over-and-over again during the time of our ancestors.

In addition, the film presented in-depth explanation on how our “greatest grandparents” behaved so wildly (as they ganged on ferocious animals to exhaustion for meat and skin) out of their instinct to adapt and survive the wilds. Moreover, such wild behaviors made our “ancestors” responsible for the extinction of other animals.

Also, how primates developed bipedalism (defined by Encarta as the practice of walking upright on two feet, as opposed to moving on all four limbs) over the course of time, not just to survive and hunt for food, but at the same time save energy. Paleontologists then used found fossils of two skulls of primates from different eras–Lucy (a fossil of 6,000,000-year-old) and Selam (fossilized bones of a child from 3.5 mya) to determine, when and which among the primates are responsible for the development of bipedalism.

In regards to the film’s weaknesses, though the results of their stringent studies are indeed astounding, but since none of them are showing exact dates of their discoveries, the credibility of the data presented, and the hypotheses (that could have been very enlightening) are then compromised. For although the film may seem to be very interesting and so upbeat, but with its strength merely based on cinematography, and that dates of fossil discoveries are missing, it’ll of course cause doubts to our minds.

Finally, Becoming Human indeed, is a film we shouldn’t miss—for it involves our roots based from science; for it explains how ill human behaviors is so innate to us, most especially, if we are caught in situations that invoke flight-and-fight response, we’ll behave just as how other animals behave in the wilds. However, filmmakers should have been meticulous to details, because the film is primarily intended for academics. Therefore it should have been subject to standards as imposed by academia and linguistic communities such as MLA (Modern Language Association) or APA (American Psychological Association). Though the film indeed is educational and very entertaining. It’s just that I wish, it’s the other way around. For what could have made more sense to me: Becoming Human should have been very educational and entertaining, instead of the other way around. For it involves our origin, and it involves all of us. Most importantly, they are linking us to ancestry of apes: chimpz, gorilla, bonobos–such a daunting reality; such a very harsh fact, they should have been more keen (as scientists should be) and careful.

Videos to watch:

Becoming Human, Part 1

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/becoming-human.html

Becoming Human, Part 2

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/becoming-human.html#becoming-human-part-2

Becoming Human, Part 3

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/becoming-human.html#becoming-human-part-3

What Darwin Never Knew?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/darwin-never-knew.html

4 thoughts on “Becoming Human, First of a Three-Part Series, a Film Review

  1. Well I always know that you will teach me something new, or pass on something new to think about when you come across the information! Hugs and blessings to you! Sorry it took so long to reply, I am now catching up on a lot of things, but I never want to ever miss one of your post! Thank you my sister!

    Like

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