The Best Documentaries About Early Humans

Jul 27, 2023 | Best Of, History

Are you fascinated by the mysteries of early human history? Have you ever wondered how we evolved to become the species that we are today? If so, then these 13 documentaries about early humans will take your curiosity to a whole new level. From examining some of our earliest ancestors to exploring the tools and practices they used for survival, these captivating films offer an unparalleled look into what life was like thousands of years ago. Whether it’s uncovering how Stone Age tribes lived or discovering ancient artifacts in faraway lands, get ready to explore a world unlike any other!

Animal Sapiens (2018)

Throughout the course of human history, our curiosity has led us to question the world around us. From the earliest civilizations to modern times, we have pondered over life’s greatest mysteries and searched for answers. These burning “big questions” have shaped our cultures, defined our religious beliefs, and propelled us towards scientific advancement.






NOVA: Becoming Human (2009)

Discovering our origins and what makes us unique has always captivated the human mind. NOVA’s pioneering investigation delves into the latest breakthroughs that are revolutionizing our understanding of our earliest ancestors. With insightful interviews of leading scientists, rare footage captured during fossil excavations, and captivating computer-generated imagery, Becoming Human vividly portrays the lives of ancient hominids and uncovers the secrets of our own evolution into innovative and adaptable modern humans.



Human Journey (2021)

Throughout history, humans have been driven by a desire to explore and discover new lands. From the earliest days of our existence, we have embarked on epic journeys across continents, braving dangerous terrain and unknown territories in search of a better life. This is the story of five such remarkable expeditions that shaped the course of human history.




The Evolution of Us (2016)

This mesmerizing science documentary delves into the fundamental role of genetics in shaping human evolution. We journey through time, from our humble beginnings as primates on the African savannah to our current dominance across the globe. But what lies ahead for humanity? With advancements in genetics, we ponder the potential implications on our future evolution.




The Best Free Documentaries About Early Humans


1. Homo Habilis: The First ‘Humans’

Take a journey back in time to the Early Pleistocene epoch of Eastern Africa, and discover the first species of true human – Homo habilis. Learn about how these hairy, bipedal apes lived in social colonies across the plains and savannahs of Eastern and Southern Africa, facing danger with courage as they strove for survival. Understand their evolution, anatomy and lifestyle, before finally uncovering how this early species eventually perished from existence. Join us on our documentary as we explore Homo habilis – The First ‘Humans’.


2. The Discovery Of The Earliest Human Ancestor

Are you interested in learning about the earliest human ancestor? A team of fossil hunters recently uncovered a set of fossils that could rewrite much of what we know about our evolution. Dubbed “Millennium Man”, this discovery is twice as old as the famous skeleton Lucy and has implications for how humans began to walk on two legs. In this documentary, learn more about Millennium Man and how his discovery is challenging accepted scientific opinions. Join us as we explore the fascinating story behind this incredible find!


3. What Was Earth Like in The Early Years of Human Life?

The dawn of humanity was a dramatic landscape, with great beasts roaming the wilds and nomadic bands of early humans. This was in fact the reality and surely, it was a sight to behold! As Homo sapiens spread out across the world during the Pleistocene Epoch, they encountered an Ice Age filled with frigid temperatures and megafaunal animals. In this documentary we explore what Earth would have looked like in these early years of human life – from its landscapes to its inhabitants – so come join us as we journey back into history!


4. A Neanderthal Odyssey: Everything We Know about the Neanderthals

Take a journey back in time to the days of Neanderthals. Learn about their lifestyle, culture and environment as we explore archaeological sites in northern France, southern England and on Jersey Island. We’ll uncover mysteries surrounding these early humans who lived almost 300,000 years ago before they became extinct. With the latest research from paleoanthropologists in England and France, we’ll get an insight into how they developed over time – what did they eat? What were their lives like? Get ready to step back in time with this documentary exploring the life of Neanderthals!


5. Denisovans: Decoding the Secrets of Our Mysterious Ancient Cousins

Of all the ancient humans that have been discovered, none are more mysterious than the Denisovans. In this video, we will unravel the secrets of these early cousins and take a look at their lifestyle and culture. From learning about their diets to exploring how they survived in harsh environments – join us as we go back in time to learn more about our Denisovan relatives!


6. Lost Humans – How the Modern Humans Came to Be

Have you ever wondered how early humans survived, and why they came in such different sizes? In this documentary series, follow the lives of prehistoric human species from tiny midgets to tall giants. Through advanced computer graphics and realistic reenactments, learn their survival techniques and be amazed by their extraordinary lives! World-renowned experts provide insightful assessments of these unique creatures that once roamed the earth. Don’t miss out on an educational journey into our ancient past!


7. The Neanderthal in Us

Are you curious about the Neanderthal and what remains of them in us? For over 13 years, scientists from the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have been working to decipher the Neanderthal genome. In this documentary, we take a look at early humans and explore how much of our prehistoric past still exists within us today. Learn about the mysterious discovery of Neanderthal bones in Germany back in 1856, and discover why they disappeared 30,000 years ago. This is an amazing journey into our ancient past!


8. Neanderthal Apocalypse : Full Science Documentary – Part 1

The Neanderthals were our closest human relatives, living in Eurasia 40,000 years ago. Digging deeper into their culture and technology reveals a species more like us than we ever expected! In this documentary series, explore the Neanderthal Apocalypse to find out why they disappeared from our planet. Part 1 examines the physical characteristics of the Neanderthals and how it impacted their hunting techniques. What role did strength play in surviving cold winter months? Uncovering these details can help us understand why they ultimately vanished from Earth as we know it.


9. Neanderthal Apocalypse : Full Science Documentary – Part 2

Have you ever wondered why the Neanderthals suddenly disappeared? Could a super volcano have been responsible for their extinction? In this History Documentary, we take an in-depth look at the theories surrounding the demise of Neanderthals. We also explore how their DNA may still be alive and living on within modern humans! Join us as we uncover everything about the mysterious Neanderthal Apocalypse!


10. Homo Floresiensis: The Real Life ‘Hobbit’

Have you ever wondered how a species of human could be so small? We’re not talking about the pygmies, but rather something that is almost like an ancient version of them. On the island of Flores in Indonesia, lived Homo floresiensis – often nicknamed ‘the real life hobbit’, due to its incredibly diminutive size. In this video we will take a journey into the past and learn all about this mysterious species: from how it evolved to why it became extinct. Along our adventure, we’ll also discover some other remarkable findings, such as Homo luzonensis on Luzon Island in Philippines – another isolated species with similar evolutionary traits. This is an exploration into evolution unlike any other; join us now and uncover the secrets behind Homo floresiensis!


11. Homo Erectus: ‘The Upright Man’

Two million years ago, a new species of human emerged in Africa – Homo erectus. This ‘upright man’ was the first to live entirely on the ground, adapting to their strange and dangerous world with innovation and power. Join us as we explore all aspects of this ancient creature’s life – from what it looked like to how it acted, as well as delving into the Pleistocene Epoch that they lived in. Discover their unique behavior and lifestyle that has made them so synonymous with evolution today! Uncover an untouched landscape full of megafaunal animals and early humans societies living side by side. Learn about why Homo erectus is such an important part of our evolutionary history in this amazing documentary exploring the story of ‘the Upright Man’.


12. Homo Longi: The Dragon Man

Human evolution is an incredibly fascinating topic, and Homo longi – the ‘Dragon Man’ – is a particularly intriguing part of our family tree. This mysterious species flourished in Northeast China during the Middle Pleistocene period around 146,000 years ago. In this documentary we delve into what made them so special, how they fit into our evolutionary history and why their remains were discovered in Harbin’s Heilongjiang Province. Learn more about the ‘Dragon Man’ as you explore this captivating story!


13. What Were Humans doing 100,000 Years Ago?

Ever wondered what the world was like 100,000 years ago? What were humans doing and how did their lives differ from ours today? In this documentary we explore the fascinating topic of early human life and discover what our ancestors were up to during this time period. Get ready for a journey through history as you learn about the tools they used, where they lived, and how they interacted with each other. Discover the secrets of ancient cultures as we uncover clues that will help us understand more about our past!

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B