FOLLOWING the find and study of a 4,4million-year-old female partial skeleton nicknamed "Ardi", Discovery Channel will flight a world premiere special.
The channel will show viewers the scientific analysis undertaken by an international team of 47 scientists as they piece together the hominid bones and link the evidence of thousands of other animals and plant fossils.
The two-hour special will document the sustained, intensive investigation leading up to the landmark publication of the Ardipithecus ramidus fossils.
The programme will present the scientific investigation that began in the Ethiopian desert 17 years ago unmasking human evolution.
According to the findings, human beings diverged from a common ancestor that we once shared with living chimpanzees.
"Ardi's" centrepiece skeleton, the other hominids she lived with, and the rocks, soils, plants and animals that made up her world were analysed in laboratories around the globe. The scientists have now published their findings in the journal Science.
"Ardi" is now the oldest skeleton from our (hominid) branch of the primate family. These Ethiopian discoveries reveal an early grade of human evolution in Africa that predated the famous Australopithecus nicknamed "Lucy".
Ardipithecus was a woodland creature with a small brain, long arms and short legs. The pelvis and feet show a primitive form of two-legged walking. The discoveries answer questions about how hominids became bipedal.
Discovering Ardi is the result of a 10-year collaboration between the Middle Awash research project and Primary Pictures of Atlanta.
lDiscovering Ardi will premiere on DSTV's Discovery Channel 250 on December 12 at 6pm.