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Series / Walking with Cavemen

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Walking with Cavemen is the 2003 series of the Speculative Documentary franchise Walking with Dinosaurs. Focusing on the evolution of the human race, the series spans over the past three million years to show how early hominids first began to walk upright, create tools, and shape the world around them. Unlike other instalments in the franchise, Cavemen uses actors in make-up and prosthetics to portray humanity's early ancestors; although CGI and animatronics are still used to depict other species. It is also the only main entry in the franchise to have an onscreen host present; Robert Winston in the original cut and Alec Baldwin for the American release. A cut exists that brings it more in line with the others in the franchise, but with Andrew Sachs narrating instead of Kenneth Branagh and combining the first and second episodes and the third and fourth respectively. This cut is available on the ''Prehistoric Earth: A Natural History" DVD set.


Each episode focuses on a different point in the evolution of the human race and details how certain species contributed to how modern humans behave:

  • First Ancestors: (3.2 MYA) Following the expansion of the African savannah, Australopithecus afarensis becomes one of the first apes to walk exclusively upright. Lucy, a female A. afarensis, struggles to take care of her infant following the death of her troop's alpha male.
  • Blood Brothers: (2 MYA) The continued growth of the African grasslands leads to a wide variety of bipedal hominids to take advantage of the new opportunities. The Paranthropus boisei find success as slow specialized herbivores, while Homo habilis have difficulties as omnivorous opportunists.
  • Savage Family: (1.5 MYA - 500 KYA) Homo ergaster becomes one of the first hominids to form language and wield fire. With their success, their ancestors branch off into Asia where they become Homo erectus.
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  • The Survivors: (400,000 - 30 KYA) Homo heidelbergensis are the first hominids to enter Britain and pave the way for the last two surviving members of the Homo genus: Neanderthals and modern humans.

This work provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Frazetta Man: This being a well-researched scientific documentary, it's mostly avoided.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: In the British version, at least. An odd case in that only pre-humans are nude, but Homo erectus and Homo ergaster are basically Homo sapiens from the neck down, so there's no functional difference.
  • People in Rubber Suits: These are used to represent the cavemen.
  • Stock Footage: Material from Walking with Beasts's fourth episode in the first episode in the depiction of the Australopithecus' savannah.