The Human Tissue Team - Netflix

Two-part documentary series following the young tissue donation team and staff at Liverpool's national human tissue bank.

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2014-09-01

The Human Tissue Team - Human evolution - Netflix

Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, beginning with the evolutionary history of primates – in particular genus Homo – and leading to the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominid family, the great apes. This process involved the gradual development of traits such as human bipedalism and language. The study of human evolution involves many scientific disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, paleontology, neurobiology, ethology, linguistics, evolutionary psychology, embryology and genetics. Genetic studies show that primates diverged from other mammals about 85 million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous period, and the earliest fossils appear in the Paleocene, around 55 million years ago. Within the Hominoidea (apes) superfamily, the Hominidae family diverged from the Hylobatidae (gibbon) family some 15–20 million years ago; African great apes (subfamily Homininae) diverged from orangutans (Ponginae) about 14 million years ago; the Hominini tribe (humans, Australopithecines and other extinct biped genera, and chimpanzee) parted from the Gorillini tribe (gorillas) between 8-9 million years ago; and, in turn, the subtribes Hominina (humans and biped ancestors) and Panina (chimps) separated 4-7.5 million years ago.

The Human Tissue Team - Transition to behavioral modernity - Netflix

Until about 50,000–40,000 years ago, the use of stone tools seems to have progressed stepwise. Each phase (H. habilis, H. ergaster, H. neanderthalensis) started at a higher level than the previous one, but after each phase started, further development was slow. Currently paleoanthropologists are debating whether these Homo species possessed some or many of the cultural and behavioral traits associated with modern humans such as language, complex symbolic thinking, technological creativity etc. It seems that they were culturally conservative maintaining simple technologies and foraging patterns over very long periods. Around 50,000 BP, modern human culture started to evolve more rapidly. The transition to behavioral modernity has been characterized by most as a Eurasian “Great Leap Forward”, or as the “Upper Palaeolithic Revolution”, due to the sudden appearance of distinctive signs of modern behavior and big game hunting in the archaeological record. Some other scholars consider the transition to have been more gradual, noting that some features had already appeared among archaic African Homo sapiens since 200,000 years ago. Recent evidence suggests that the Australian Aboriginal population separated from the African population 75,000 years ago, and that they made a sea journey of up to 160 km 60,000 years ago, which may diminish the evidence of the Upper Paleolithic Revolution. Modern humans started burying their dead, using animal hides to make clothing, hunting with more sophisticated techniques (such as using trapping pits or driving animals off cliffs), and engaging in cave painting. As human culture advanced, different populations of humans introduced novelty to existing technologies: artifacts such as fish hooks, buttons, and bone needles show signs of variation among different populations of humans, something that had not been seen in human cultures prior to 50,000 BP. Typically, H. neanderthalensis populations do not vary in their technologies, although the Chatelperronian assemblages have been found to be Neanderthal innovations produced as a result of exposure to the Homo sapiens Aurignacian technologies. Among concrete examples of modern human behavior, anthropologists include specialization of tools, use of jewellery and images (such as cave drawings), organization of living space, rituals (for example, burials with grave gifts), specialized hunting techniques, exploration of less hospitable geographical areas, and barter trade networks. Debate continues as to whether a “revolution” led to modern humans (“the big bang of human consciousness”), or whether the evolution was more “gradual”.

The Human Tissue Team - References - Netflix