Neanderthal Planet of the Apemen: Battle for Earth


Neanderthal

Series chronicling the survival of Homo sapiens. As the ice caps retreated 35,000 years ago, the Neanderthal stronghold in Europe weakened, providing an opportunity.


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Transcript


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This is our world.

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We have shaped it in our image.

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Made it our own.

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We are now the only humans in existence,

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absolute rulers of the earth.

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But there was a time when we shared this planet with other,

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very different types of human.

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By the time our ancestors left Africa around 100,000 years ago,

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most of these "others" had gone extinct.

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But not all.

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Other species had made the journey out of Africa before us.

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Smart, strong and well adapted to their environment,

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they were the dominant species on the planet.

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So what happened when our worlds collided?

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Why, despite all their advantages,

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were those others driven to extinction?

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Why, against the odds, did we win the battle for Planet Earth?

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32,000 years ago,

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a new species of human was spreading out across Europe.

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The colour of their skin betrayed their African origins.

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Homo sapiens hadn't been here very long,

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and there weren't very many of them.

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These people were modern humans.

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They were our ancestors.

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As they spread out through the continent, they entered

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the territory of another human species - the Neanderthals.

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The way Neanderthals are treated in the popular media is very unfair.

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I mean, they were highly evolved humans,

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in their own way as evolved as we are.

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There's no other event in human evolution

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that captures the public imagination like the encounters

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between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

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Using the latest archaeological and scientific research,

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what follows is a dramatisation

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of one of the most crucial periods in human history.

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HISSING CLICKS

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HORSE WHINNIES

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HE SHOUTS

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-You missed.

-Jala threw first.

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Jala is young.

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You missed.

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32,000 years ago, in what's now modern-day Europe,

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the Homo sapiens population hovered at just about 10,000 people.

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They were struggling to survive because of climate change.

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Temperatures were fluctuating wildly,

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four to five degrees Celsius every 150 years,

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going from warm to cold and back to warm again.

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The consequences were catastrophic.

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Environments may have fluctuated between more open

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grassland environments and more forested environments.

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So this would have changed as the climate

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got warmer and colder.

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These dramatic shifts between grassland and forests

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would have made life extremely difficult for animals...

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and the humans that preyed on them.

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For big mammals like Homo sapiens and Neanderthals,

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the way they deal with rapid climate change is to move.

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So rapid shifts in climate would probably have bring...

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have brought Homo sapiens and Neanderthals in closer contact.

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-Let Jala throw.

-Jala?

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We need to eat!

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Jala...

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Do not miss.

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SHE SHOUTS

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Byana!

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Byana!

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Why?

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We need food.

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-I want to help.

-You cannot throw a spear!

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-Teach me, Father!

-Go home!

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Jala, take your sister home.

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Wait.

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You have the mother.

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-Give it to me.

-Why?

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Give.

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My mother gave this to your mother.

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It brought your brother, Jala.

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It brought you.

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My mother,

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your mother, Byana.

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Mother.

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Archaeologists believe that these objects were fertility symbols.

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Although some playfully suggest

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that they may have pornographic overtones.

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They have been found at sites all across Europe.

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By the time we get to 40 or 50 thousand years ago,

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modern humans are certainly using symbols to communicate with each other

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and transmitting information between people, even between generations,

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so it's becoming very important for modern humans.

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When we find these things carved out of ivory,

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the hardest substance in a mammalian skeleton, that tells you

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that the symbols are really, really important. Something like this

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carved out of ivory would take hundreds and hundreds of hours.

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That's hundreds and hundreds of hours taken away from some other important activity,

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like raising the kids or hunting or these sorts of things.

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A shared belief in the importance in objects like this

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can help to bind people together.

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And in hard times that's just as important a survival tool

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as a sharp spear.

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See, now you.

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Teach me.

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You throw straight,

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but I cannot teach strength.

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Come on, home.

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Byana.

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Look at this.

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A man's foot.

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A big man's foot.

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A big man's foot.

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Come, we must go, back to Father.

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What, a man has big feet and you want to turn back?

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Don't you want to go hunting?

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The ancestors of Neanderthals, like every other human species,

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evolved in Africa, but they quickly moved out and into Europe

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and they'd been living there for nearly half a million years.

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There was one very obvious physical difference between us and them -

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size.

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This is a cast of a Neanderthal femur, thigh bone, and you can see

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just by comparing it to a recent human thigh bone

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some pretty clear and obvious differences.

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The Neanderthal thigh bone is massive. It's huge...

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that tells you that these were big, strong people.

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Bone grows in response to strain - the more you strain bone, the more it grows.

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These were people who solved problems with brute force.

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Doesn't mean they're stupid, but it means that they're using brute force intelligently.

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That physical power was complemented by another vital asset.

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The brain volume of Neanderthals and humans is very similar,

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in fact Neanderthal average brain sizes are somewhat larger than modern humans today.

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So as well as having considerably larger bodies, Neanderthals also had

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significantly larger brains, and that made them a formidable enemy.

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The popular image of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens

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bumping into one another is that the Neanderthals were a pushover,

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that Homo sapiens waltzed in and kicked the Neanderthals out without a contest.

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That's extremely unlikely.

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Neanderthals are big people, strong people, smart people,

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and in much of Europe and western Asia they had home court advantage.

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The day this mother brought me to the world,

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it brought death to our mother.

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Shh!

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Hold her tight - she'll protect you. TWIG SNAPS

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HORSE NEIGHS

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Who are they?

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Neanderthals were originally dark-skinned,

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but over hundreds of thousands of years their skin colour

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had become lighter in the colder, darker climate of Europe.

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But white skin was an obvious disadvantage on the hunt.

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Neanderthals may have painted themselves, you know, with black stripes for camouflage

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like many hunters do nowadays, or soldiers do when they're in combat,

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they paint themselves with camouflage to break up

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the appearance of their bodies, so they don't...

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They're not as easily perceived by an enemy or a predator.

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Camouflaged bodies allowed them to get much closer to their unsuspecting prey.

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Rather than throwing projectiles they used their bodies as weapons,

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so a Neanderthal attack on its prey would involve

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a quick charge and then trying to knock the animal to the ground.

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Kind of like, this is the way, you know, lions and other predators hunt.

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They spring from ambush, they grab their prey,

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they knock it to the ground and then they kill it.

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But that hunting strategy was risky and extremely dangerous.

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Neanderthals have a lot of injuries on their skeletons.

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They do have a lot of healed fractures

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and marks of trauma, head injuries and so on.

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So life was certainly dangerous for these people,

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and it's been argued that this injury pattern in modern humans,

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in modern athletes at least, is most closely matched by rodeo riders.

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So these are people who are having to get close in to dangerous wild animals.

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Araha. Doh, doh labah!

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Doh, doh.

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Experts believe that Neanderthals had unusually good eyesight.

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This is because the area at the back of the skull

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where the brain's visual senses are located

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is bigger in Neanderthals than Homo sapiens.

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In the murky gloom of the forest,

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that may have given them a significant advantage.

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-What's wrong?

-I've dropped the mother.

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-Byana. I'll go...run!

-No, Jala!

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Jala, quick!

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No!

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Byana, run!

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It wasn't just their bodies that the Neanderthals used as weapons.

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They'd also developed an equally lethal technology - the spear.

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This stone-tipped spear is the kind of spear that Neanderthals made.

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It's big, it's heavy, it's attached to a massive shaft

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in order to resist bending. It's a thrusting spear. Throwing this is like throwing a brick -

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it's not going to go very far, it's going to drop very, very quickly.

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I'm sorry.

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This spear was designed for maximum killing power at close quarters.

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Now, you can see the kind of wound this creates.

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A huge gash, enormous gash in the animal's skin.

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This point is enormous.

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Once it's inside there, it's causing all kinds of damage,

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but the advantage of a spear like this with a thick shaft and a broad blade

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is that when it's inside the animal and the animal's trying to fight and get away,

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if you're really strong and you hold onto this thing, it's not going any place.

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The trick is you just can't let go of the spear.

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A weapon like this works only if you're very, very strong.

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It's not a throwing weapon.

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These spears, the ones made by Homo sapiens,

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are made to be thrown. They're projectile weapons.

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The stone points are narrow and thin so they maximize impact.

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Unlike the Neanderthal spear,

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in the right hands this weapon could kill at a distance.

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You see, it's left a very cylindrical hole.

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And it's hit right in the heart and lung area,

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so this is the kind of wound that would kill almost instantly.

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If not instantly, then again it would bleed out and you'd be able to track it fairly straightforwardly.

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The key advantage of a weapon like this

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is that it is cylindrical, it has a very narrow cross-section,

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so all the energy of this spear,

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all the force that's behind it is concentrated onto a small area,

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which means when it hits, it hits with a lot of power.

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It doesn't slash and cut like the Neanderthal spear,

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it hits like a bullet does, it kills by shock.

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Survival is dependent on more than just brute strength and powerful weapons.

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Communication skills are also a vital element in the struggle to stay alive.

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And our ancestors were better equipped with these than any other human species.

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They should be back.

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Where could they be?

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Byana!

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Byana! Where have you been?

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Where is Jala?

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Where is he?

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Where's Jala?!

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Jala...is dead.

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Monsters...

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-Monsters!

-What monsters?

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A bear?

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-A wild cat?

-Monsters!

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-Wolves?

-Monsters.

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Like us...but bigger!

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What is wrong with you?

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If it is wolves, say wolves,

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if it is a cat, say cat.

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Oh, Father.

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Get the men ready.

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We must find Jala.

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-Are you sure he's alive?

-To bury him!

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Whatever killed him will eat him.

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-You're afraid?

-No, but we have...

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He's my son!

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My son.

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We need food.

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There are no monsters out there,

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but there are wild cats,

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wolves, bears.

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We have lost one young hunter.

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We cannot lose any more.

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32,000 years ago, our ancestors came up with another crucial invention

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which helped to ensure our survival.

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It was something that archaeologists think Neanderthals never developed -

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the needle.

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It meant that we could make close-fitting and warm clothing,

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essential for hunting in the ever-changing climate.

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Why can't we hunt?

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-Men do the hunting.

-But why?

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What are you doing?

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Not this way...

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Do it this way.

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If we all hunt, we'll get more food.

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Man, woman...

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this way, that way.

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A man hunts...a woman stays.

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But why?

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You can't hunt with a baby inside you or in your arms,

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or holding onto your leg.

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-But I don't have a baby.

-Not yet.

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Dividing up tasks between men and women

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was vital to our species' survival.

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If the men didn't kill anything on the hunt, the nuts, berries

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and roots that the women gathered provided a reliable source of food.

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It might not seem revolutionary, but this simple exchange

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between men and women would end up transforming our world.

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The invention of the sexual division of labour

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got us into the habit of specialisation and exchange -

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"you do this, I'll do that and we'll swap."

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Once we'd invented it between the sexes,

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we could then think about doing it between individuals

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and we could then think about doing it between bands.

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So you could say, "You guys are good at fishing we're good at gathering fruit, we'll swap."

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Or, "You're good at making spears, I'm good at making axes,

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"I'll make all the axes, you make all the spears and we'll swap."

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And of course the beauty of that system is the more you specialise,

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the better you get at your specialised task.

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so the more value there is, the more time-saving there is

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in delegating tasks to others and swapping and specialising in this way.

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That's actually the whole story of human history ever since, that's what prosperity is.

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Byana!

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SHE WHISPERS

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Where are the others?

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We had a bad winter.

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And many died.

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We are hungry.

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No buffalo,

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-no horse?

-Not on the plains.

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But they will return.

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They always do.

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The animals are moving.

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If the animals move, we must move.

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Follow the food.

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It will mean moving camp.

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-We should wait.

-We waited too long.

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What's this?

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Why is it like this?

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Always you ask why, Byana.

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For the spear...

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they go together?

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They do...

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like man and woman.

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-Come here.

-No.

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Byana!

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She has just lost a brother.

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Do you want to lose a husband?

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She will bring you many children, many.

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Byana...show him,

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-show him.

-What?

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The mother.

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Show him!

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No.

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No. I won't.

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Byana.

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Byana!

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Byana!

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Together...

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..your men, my men,

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we are stronger.

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Tomorrow we move to a new camp.

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Two tribes, together stronger.

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In the struggle for survival, numbers mattered.

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Forging alliances allowed Homo sapiens' villages to grow,

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accommodating up to 150 people.

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Neanderthal villages were much smaller,

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rarely getting bigger than family groups of 10 to 15 individuals.

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We've got to imagine that Neanderthals were maybe living

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on average in smaller groups than we were,

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and of course what we've got with modern humans

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is that we map relationships in different ways.

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Neanderthals probably operated mainly on person-to-person contact,

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face-to-face contact.

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So their interactions were direct with each other.

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With modern humans, we have much more complex social systems,

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and there's no doubt that modern humans, when we communicate with each other,

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a lot of it is done symbolically. We exchange information, we trade objects.

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We know that modern humans in Europe were moving objects

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across the continent over much bigger areas than Neanderthals did.

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So with modern humans, our networks reach much further in time and space.

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The spear-thrower was a simple device

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that allowed spears to be thrown further and with more power.

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Developed 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, it was such an effective weapon

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that Native Americans were still using a version of it right up until the 16th century.

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In the right hands, this piece of technology isn't just powerful,

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but deadly accurate.

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As you can see, another bullet-shaped wound right in the heart and lung area.

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If this was a person, they'd be in a lot of trouble.

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This would knock them off their feet, pin them to the ground, pin them to a tree.

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This would be a very dangerous wound, a wound that would probably kill somebody outright.

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This is a tremendous change from earlier weapon systems.

0:32:300:32:34

This is a weapons system that swaps speed for power.

0:32:340:32:38

By moving the projectile point very, very fast,

0:32:380:32:40

it tremendously increases the amount of kinetic energy, of force

0:32:400:32:43

that one can bring to bear. A hand-thrown spear doesn't even approach this.

0:32:430:32:47

This weapon was so effective that it spread like wildfire.

0:32:470:32:52

A development that might not seem particularly special,

0:32:520:32:56

but it was unique to our species.

0:32:560:32:58

What's wonderful about a spear thrower is that it's a brilliant idea and a simple idea,

0:33:000:33:04

but it's not an idea that would necessarily occur to someone.

0:33:040:33:08

But on a rare occasion, somewhere by accident, through serendipity,

0:33:080:33:12

somebody works out that actually you can speed up the power of a spear.

0:33:120:33:16

If that happens in a Neanderthal troop

0:33:160:33:18

it stays in the troop, the idea.

0:33:180:33:21

The idea never leaves the troop. You don't get a transfer of ideas

0:33:210:33:24

between bands, between tribes, in the way you do with modern humans.

0:33:240:33:29

Whereas what happened with this idea is that it started spreading like a virus, through contact,

0:33:290:33:35

through trade between people, and suddenly it's everywhere.

0:33:350:33:39

If there was a case where people armed with weapons like this

0:33:390:33:42

went up against people who lacked them or equivalent technology,

0:33:420:33:45

the people who lacked this kind of technology wouldn't stand a chance.

0:33:450:33:49

Where has she gone?

0:34:070:34:09

She makes you look foolish, she makes me look foolish.

0:34:090:34:13

She will come back.

0:34:130:34:14

-And my men will be gone.

-No!

0:34:150:34:17

One more day...please.

0:34:190:34:22

-We must follow the food.

-Together we are stronger!

0:34:220:34:26

Then find her.

0:34:260:34:27

Now.

0:34:270:34:29

Morda!

0:34:300:34:32

Find Byana.

0:34:340:34:35

You two...

0:34:370:34:40

let's go hunting.

0:34:400:34:41

There were cave lions in Europe at this time.

0:36:080:36:11

A separate species from their African cousins,

0:36:120:36:15

they were 10% bigger.

0:36:150:36:17

Europe at this time was populated by large numbers

0:36:190:36:23

of now extinct animals which have modern African counterparts.

0:36:230:36:27

The mammoth was a cousin of the elephant.

0:36:270:36:32

And the woolly rhino was a much hairier version of the African species.

0:36:320:36:37

As the climate fluctuated,

0:36:380:36:40

these large animals were forced to move, leaving behind

0:36:400:36:44

some much more dangerous carnivores...

0:36:440:36:47

like wolves, which are still around Europe today,

0:36:470:36:51

and the sabre-toothed cat which is now extinct.

0:36:510:36:55

She's a fool,

0:37:130:37:16

like her father.

0:37:160:37:17

This way.

0:37:230:37:24

Come on!

0:37:310:37:32

Ramah!

0:38:140:38:15

Tador.

0:38:150:38:17

Natak!

0:38:260:38:27

For Jala!

0:39:020:39:04

Jala?

0:39:040:39:06

Ndah-derh?

0:39:080:39:09

Ndah-der Jala?

0:39:120:39:15

Jala?

0:39:170:39:19

Jala.

0:39:220:39:24

Erha.

0:39:270:39:28

Erha!

0:39:300:39:31

Scientists believe that Neanderthals, like us, had language.

0:39:380:39:43

They've discovered that we share a specific gene with Neanderthals

0:39:430:39:47

that's vital for developing an ability to speak.

0:39:470:39:50

There's also some compelling anatomical evidence that indicates that they could talk.

0:39:500:39:57

Jala?

0:39:570:39:58

Ndah-derh?

0:39:580:40:00

This early Homo sapiens skull is shaped very much like yours or mine.

0:40:020:40:07

This means this individual could speak more or less like I'm doing.

0:40:070:40:11

It had a very flexed upper respiratory tract.

0:40:110:40:14

That allows one's tongue to move back and forth very rapidly and breaks sound up,

0:40:140:40:19

like I'm doing now. But there's a risk involved in that.

0:40:190:40:22

The risk is that it's easy to choke as food particles make their way around that turn.

0:40:220:40:27

They caught behind the tongue and the back of the windpipe and people choke every day.

0:40:270:40:31

That's an unusual thing in primate evolution.

0:40:310:40:34

Most primates, most mammals, have a relatively less flexed upper respiratory tract,

0:40:340:40:39

and that's what we see with these Neanderthals.

0:40:390:40:41

Their face is out in front of their brain,

0:40:410:40:44

the bottom of their skull is less flexed, and in all likelihood,

0:40:440:40:48

their upper respiratory tract made a more gentle curve.

0:40:480:40:51

Now, that's advantageous if you want to get food in there fast and eat efficiently,

0:40:510:40:56

but it's disadvantageous in terms of speech.

0:40:560:40:59

It means they probably didn't speak as rapidly as our ancestors did.

0:40:590:41:05

-Jala.

-Jala.

0:41:200:41:23

TWIG SNAPS What was that?

0:41:390:41:42

There is nothing to fear...

0:41:440:41:46

only monsters.

0:41:460:41:50

Why didn't you kill him?

0:42:420:42:44

-I couldn't.

-You want to hunt...

0:42:440:42:47

but you cannot kill.

0:42:470:42:48

-He saved me from the wildcat.

-Where is it now?

0:42:480:42:52

The wildcat?

0:42:520:42:54

Where it died.

0:42:550:42:57

Let's go.

0:42:570:42:59

Meat!

0:43:020:43:04

In the fight for survival, Homo sapiens had another significant advantage over Neanderthals.

0:43:120:43:20

To fuel their bigger bodies, Neanderthals had to eat

0:43:200:43:24

twice as much as Homo sapiens on a daily basis.

0:43:240:43:27

It's true that if you've got a big body and a big brain,

0:43:280:43:31

you've got to have the energy to keep that going.

0:43:310:43:34

And there's no doubt that this very heavy body of Neanderthals,

0:43:340:43:37

and that muscle mass and that large brain,

0:43:370:43:40

all of that is going to require a regular input of food to get them through,

0:43:400:43:44

and in a sense, this might have made them more vulnerable

0:43:440:43:47

if resources were fluctuating, if there were competing human groups -

0:43:470:43:51

maybe modern humans competing with them -

0:43:510:43:53

who were a bit more efficient at extracting material from the environment

0:43:530:43:57

and less demanding of the environment,

0:43:570:43:59

possibly modern humans might have had the edge in a competition in that way.

0:43:590:44:03

Herarah!

0:44:230:44:24

Tetah.

0:44:350:44:36

SCREAMS

0:44:450:44:47

Neanderthals cared for their sick and injured.

0:45:000:45:05

Archaeologists have uncovered skeletal remains which show

0:45:050:45:08

that a Neanderthal man with a withered arm

0:45:080:45:11

was cared for for as long as 20 years.

0:45:110:45:14

It shows us that Neanderthals cared about each other. And this extended

0:45:140:45:19

not just on a day-to-day basis, but over months and years.

0:45:190:45:23

That this individual had presumably family that cared about him

0:45:230:45:27

and they were regularly provisioning and supporting him

0:45:270:45:30

through what must have been very difficult times.

0:45:300:45:33

The fact that he survived these injuries in the first place

0:45:330:45:37

and then survived for some time afterwards, when people must have been bringing him food

0:45:370:45:42

right through the year for him to survive and carry on living

0:45:420:45:46

and for these injuries to heal to the extent they did.

0:45:460:45:48

What is it?

0:46:170:46:20

This is the place.

0:46:200:46:21

Are you sure?

0:46:210:46:23

So where's the cat?

0:46:260:46:27

Footprints.

0:46:370:46:39

Let's go.

0:46:470:46:49

No, we turn back.

0:46:490:46:51

Tomorrow we leave and follow the food.

0:46:510:46:54

-The monsters will follow and take our food.

-They aren't monsters.

-Byana!

0:46:540:46:59

RUSTLING

0:46:590:47:00

Where are the others?

0:47:120:47:14

Dead.

0:47:140:47:16

They're all dead.

0:47:160:47:18

Monsters.

0:47:210:47:23

They'll kill us all.

0:47:270:47:30

We must hunt them down...

0:47:320:47:34

or they will hunt for us.

0:47:340:47:37

They're not monsters,

0:47:370:47:39

they're like us.

0:47:390:47:42

Tell us again what they did to your brother.

0:47:430:47:45

The outcome of any physical conflict between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens

0:47:470:47:52

wouldn't have been a foregone conclusion.

0:47:520:47:54

There were advantages and disadvantages on both sides.

0:47:540:47:59

For Neanderthals, the principal advantages would have been

0:48:000:48:03

in close quarters combat, getting in close and fighting hand to hand.

0:48:030:48:06

In terms of the strength difference, Neanderthals would probably win.

0:48:080:48:12

For Homo sapiens, taking on a Neanderthal opponent,

0:48:120:48:16

the trick is, don't let them get close.

0:48:160:48:19

Stand off, attack with projectile weapons.

0:48:190:48:22

Find a way to flank them, attack from this and this direction simultaneously,

0:48:240:48:28

so they're hitting at least two directions at the same time.

0:48:280:48:31

Take your men that way.

0:48:450:48:48

You, the other side.

0:48:480:48:50

The rest will follow me.

0:48:500:48:52

Wait for my signal.

0:48:520:48:54

These are monsters, not horses.

0:48:540:48:57

Come on.

0:49:300:49:32

Run! Turn back!

0:49:320:49:35

We can't win close up, we need room to throw the spears.

0:49:370:49:40

Come on, let's get to higher ground.

0:49:440:49:46

Let's eat.

0:51:130:51:15

What is it?

0:51:160:51:18

It's another one.

0:51:210:51:23

Byana!

0:51:230:51:25

-Keep away!

-Byana!

0:51:250:51:28

Dead?

0:51:490:51:51

Always Byana, I say one thing, you do another.

0:51:530:51:57

Ah!

0:51:570:51:59

It is not too bad. Don't worry.

0:51:590:52:03

Tomorrow, Byana, we'll give you to him.

0:52:040:52:07

Together...stronger.

0:52:110:52:14

No.

0:52:180:52:19

She does not want to be a wife.

0:52:220:52:25

Do you?

0:52:250:52:26

Together...

0:52:470:52:48

..stronger.

0:52:500:52:52

Come, Byana, eat.

0:53:040:53:05

Neanderthals had dominated Europe for nearly half a million years.

0:53:380:53:44

But from the moment our ancestors entered the continent,

0:53:440:53:47

their days were numbered.

0:53:470:53:50

The differences between us and them weren't huge, but they mattered.

0:53:500:53:55

Within a few thousand years, Neanderthal numbers slumped into a terminal decline.

0:53:570:54:04

They ended up being squeezed into one small corner of Europe.

0:54:080:54:13

The last known refuge of the Neanderthals was here in Gibraltar.

0:54:130:54:19

They lived their final years in these caves.

0:54:220:54:26

Archaeologists believe the last Neanderthal died out

0:54:280:54:32

around 24,000 years ago.

0:54:320:54:34

As a scientist, one can't help but wish that Neanderthals were still around.

0:54:350:54:40

It would be wonderful.

0:54:400:54:41

We'd learn so much from them, because they are, as it were, the other human species.

0:54:410:54:48

They're our close...

0:54:480:54:49

they would be our closest relative in the animal kingdom.

0:54:490:54:52

We'd learn about things like language,

0:54:520:54:54

because they probably had language but a different kind of language.

0:54:540:54:58

We'd learn what's special about us,

0:54:580:54:59

some things we think are special about us would turn out not to be, they'd have them too.

0:54:590:55:04

Other things that we don't realise are special about us would come home.

0:55:040:55:07

They show us a different way to be human, and I think that's...

0:55:120:55:17

You know, it's a separate evolutionary path

0:55:170:55:20

that went its own way, shared much of our own evolutionary history,

0:55:200:55:24

shared many features with us, but also developed their own distinctive features

0:55:240:55:28

and went their own way, with their own ways of adapting, their own ways of coping with the environment.

0:55:280:55:33

So they're a fascinating experiment in how to be a human being.

0:55:330:55:38

Evolution involves extinction. Extinction is a part of evolution.

0:55:490:55:52

Neanderthals became extinct.

0:55:520:55:54

They're gone. They're fascinating, but they're gone.

0:55:540:55:58

At some point in the remote future, some other documentary will examine

0:55:580:56:02

the question of poor old Homo sapiens, and what did them in.

0:56:020:56:07

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:56:260:56:29

E-mail subtitling@bbc.co.uk

0:56:290:56:31

This episode is set 35,000 years ago and depicts Homo sapiens's encounter with Homo neanderthalensis. As the ice caps retreated, the Neanderthal stronghold in Europe weakened, providing a window of opportunity to which modern humans owe their existence.