Origins of Us premieres May 12 on Discovery World HD

Humans have dominated the planet, uncovered the secrets of the atom, and travelled to the moon – but how did our species become so successful?

ORIGINS OF US uncovers the anatomical changes that have given humans – and our ancestors – an edge to survive.

Beginning Saturday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery World HD, this three-part series explores how the way we walk, the shape of our jaw, and even the way our thumbs move, connects us to the struggles and triumphs of our ancestors.

Yet, as host Alice Roberts (DIGGING FOR BRITAIN) reveals, many of these evolutionary changes have come at a cost.

Highlights from ORIGINS OF US include:



Saturday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

The human skeleton is where our evolution began, with arguably the most fundamental adaptation – standing upright. Roberts charts the massive advantages this skeletal change brought us – from hunting, to tool use, to increased penis size – and the staggering anatomical toll it’s taken. This research offers insights into the way we live today: What running shoes should we be wearing? Why do we have hair under our arms? And is back pain an inevitable consequence of simply standing up?



Saturday, May 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Food is everything when it comes to survival, yet the human stomach is less than a third of the size expected for a typical mammal of our weight. The reason for this is reflected in the revolution in gender roles. From an emphasis on “man the hunter” and meat as the driving force in human evolution, scientists now think it’s women and cooking vegetables that enabled the greatest evolutionary leap – our large brain. This episode offers suggestions on what diet is perfectly designed for the human body; whether we really are wired to be monogamous; and whether men really take more risks than women.


ORIGINS OF US – “Brains”

Saturday, May 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Three times larger than expected, surely the human brain explains our domination of the planet. From banging stones and grunting to space travel and Proust – how and why did it evolve? Understanding what shaped our brain’s evolution gives a unique insight into our behaviour today – from social class to teenage tantrums. But is the human brain really the key to understanding our species unique place on the planet? Is it intelligence that led to our success over Neanderthals and others? New research suggests it might in fact be something far more basic.

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