Lucy

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Episode 3 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

It is the final day at the Prehistoric Autopsy HQ in Glasgow. Anatomist Professor Alice Roberts and biologist Dr George McGavin continue their journey back into our evolutionary past.

They meet probably the most famous of all our early ancestors. She is called Lucy from the species Australopithecus afarensis and she lived 3.2 million years ago. Lucy's species had traded life in the trees for life on the ground, but this ability to routinely walk upright came at a price and it is one we are still paying today.

Once again with the help of a team of international experts, this follows the rebuilding of this iconic prehistoric ancestor from the bones up.

To make the reconstructions as accurate as possible Alice and George have travelled the globe, gathering evidence from the world's leading scientists. In the lab at the Prehistoric Autopsy HQ, scientists put the latest theories to the test to see how similar or different we really are to our ancient ancestors, while experimental archeologists look for clues as to how they lived.

All the research has been fed to a team of model makers who have spent months painstakingly reconstructing skeletons, muscles, skin and hair.

At HQ, the team studies evidence that reveals how Lucy and her kind walked, what they ate and even how they gave birth. They also examine the fossilised remains of the world's oldest child to see what clues it can reveal about Lucy's species and the origins of childhood.

At the end of this extraordinary evolutionary journey the team will have travelled back nearly four million years. On the way they will have come face to face with a Neanderthal, a Homo erectus and finally one of our earliest prehistoric ancestors - Lucy.

More episodes

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Credits

Presenter
Alice Roberts
Presenter
George McGavin
Executive Producer
Jane Aldous

Broadcasts

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