The Incredible Human Journey: Australia

31st May BBC2, 21:30

Dr Alice Roberts travels the globe to discover the incredible story of how humans left Africa to colonise the world - overcoming hostile terrain, extreme weather and other species of human. She pieces together precious fragments of bone, stone and new DNA evidence and discovers how this incredible journey changed our African ancestors into the people we are today.

This week, a journey that seems almost impossible: to Australia. Miraculously preserved footprints and very old human fossils buried in the Outback suggest a mystery: that humans reached Australia almost before anywhere else. How could they have travelled so far from Africa, crossing the open sea on the way - and do it thousands of years before they made it to Europe?

The evidence trail is faint and difficult to pick up - but Alice takes on the challenge. In India, new discoveries among the debris of a super volcano hint that our species started the journey much earlier than previously thought, while in Malaysia, genetics points to an ancient trail still detectable in the DNA of tribes today. Alice travels deep into the Asian rainforests in search of the first cavemen of Borneo and tests out a Stone Age raft to see whether sea travel would have been possible thousands of years ago, before coming to a powerful conclusion.

Directed and Produced by Ed Bazalgette
Series Producer - Paul Bradshaw
Executive Producer - Kim Shillinglaw


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