Segments in this Video

Omo-1: First Modern Human (02:26)


Approximately 195,000 years ago, a hunter died in the Omo Valley. His bones make him the oldest known modern human.

Southern Ethiopia Expedition (02:18)

In 1967, three prehistoric humans were found in southern Ethiopia. Argon dating methods reveal that Omo-1 died 195,000 years ago.

Death of Omo-1 (02:46)

Omo-1 is the oldest modern human fossil. Omo-1 died in the same location he was found.

Life in the Omo Valley (02:21)

John Shea studies the lives of early humans in the Omo Valley. Early humans left stone tools throughout the valley.

"Out of Africa" (03:44)

The "Out of Africa" theory proposes that every human came from one region of Africa and migrated across the world. This theory ties every woman to Mitochondria Eve and every man to Y-chromosomal Adam.

Jebel Irhoud (03:28)

At Jebel Irhoud, an ancient human skeleton with modern human characteristics was found, disproving the original "Out of Africa" theory.

Prehistoric Relations (04:09)

John Hawks argues that African groups interacted and mated. Climate affected human migration; the Sahara was impossible to cross during dry times.

Family History (02:28)

Jacqueline Johnson was building her family tree but was unable to find information beyond 1870. Further history had to be found through DNA.

A00 Y Chromosome (02:33)

Johnson submitted her family DNA which was found to be rare with many mutations. It was traced to a small community in West Africa.

Ancient Human Ancestors (02:13)

Johnson's family DNA contained the A00 Y chromosome, a 338,000 year old chromosome. This contradicted the modern human history timeline.

Mbo Community (03:43)

DNA samples from the Mbo community show interbreeding between archaic and modern humans.

Interbreeding (03:57)

Interbreeding between species is not genetically possible unless they share a common ancestor. The Pygmies of Cameroon are a result of human interbreeding and resemble archaic humans.

Hybrid Mice (03:36)

Experts study mice to determine the effect hybridization had on humans. Hybridization allows for genetic variation.

Neanderthals (03:27)

Neanderthal DNA is found in modern human DNA from every region except for Africa.

Manot Cave (03:55)

Neanderthal DNA proved interbreeding occurred outside of Africa. In Israel, a modern human skull with archaic human characteristics was found.

Manot Skull (03:12)

The skull found in the Manot Cave has some archaic characteristics and indicates that Neanderthals and modern humans lived side by side.

Human History (02:01)

The history of Homo sapiens is complex and cannot traced back to one area of Africa.

Credits: First Peoples: Africa (00:30)

Credits: First Peoples: Africa

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

First Peoples: Africa

Part of the Series : First Peoples
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Around 200,000 years ago, a new species, Homo sapiens, appeared on the African landscape. While scientists have imagined eastern Africa as a real-life Garden of Eden, the latest research suggests humans evolved in many places across the continent at the same time. DNA from a 19th-century African-American slave is forcing geneticists to re-think the origins of our species. The theory is that our ancestors met, mated and hybridized with other human types in Africa — creating ever greater diversity within our species.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL129845

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards


Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.