"For decades paleontologists have been searching for vital
clues in Africa -- the remains of creatures nearest to the event that
changed the world, the split between man and ape."
"In November 2000, Martin Pickford and Brigitte Senut from
the College de France and a team from the Community Museums of Kenya
make a remarkable discovery. In the Tugen Hills of Kenya they unearthed
a group of fossils they believe sheds light on the origins of humankind.
The team called their find Orrorin Tugenensis. It seemed like the
of a lifetime. Or was it?"
"The bones are older than any hominid bones found before.
They are a staggering six million years old."
"Today, Orrorin is unleashing one of the greatest controversies
the study of human origins has ever seen. But is it really a hominid?"
"The defining feature of the human race is the ability to
walk upright. So this is what paleoanthropologists look for. They search
for fossilized clues that can tell them whether the creature spent
of the time walking on two legs rather than four."
"If Martin and Brigitte find these clues and Orrorin was,
indeed, walking on two legs six million years ago, scientists will
to rethink their ideas about how we split from the apes. The standard
theories on how, when, and why we learned to walk on two legs would
have to be reexamined."
"Martin and Brigitte also make a claim about one of the most
famous discoveries of all time: "Lucy," a hominid from just
over 3 million years ago in Ethiopia. Donald Johanson, who discovered
her in 1974, claimed her to be our direct ancestor."
"The fossils from Orrorin have led Martin and Brigitte to
the revolutionary conclusion that Lucy and her type, the australopithicines,
were not our direct ancestors: rather, they were a branch that became
"Orrorin has created incredible debate, but what else could
we expect from a candidate for our earliest ancestor, the first human?" -- PBS