Neanderthal Eight years ago there was an incredible breakthrough: the Neanderthal genome was first decoded. The greatest surprise was that most modern humans have inherited Neanderthal DNA, and that there is around 2% of their DNA inside everyone from outside sub-Saharan Africa. These genes have helped shape modern humans into what we are today. So what kind of people were our ancient ancestors?
This two-part series investigates what they looked like and what would have happened when we met them. It turns out that what we thought we knew about them is wrong. They weren't hunched, grunting, knuckle-dragging ape-men at all. In a reconstructed, imaginary confrontation, we discover they were faster, smarter, better looking - and much more like us than we ever thought.
Our guide is Ella Al-Shamahi, a young British rising star in Neanderthal research, with an unusual side-line as a stand-up comic. She enlists the skills of Andy Serkis, the global movie star and master of performance capture, best known as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and Caesar in Planet of the Apes, who uses his Hollywood magic to, for the first time ever, create a scientifically accurate 3D working avatar of a real Neanderthal.
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