Sunday’s “NHK Special” aired the first part of a three-part series, “The Great Journey,” focusing first on a two-legged species called Ardipithecus ramidus that lived in Africa about 4.4 million years ago. The program said this species survived because they were able to gather more food than four-legged animals and lived in families. The species eventually evolved into two genuses – Homo and Paranthropus. While Paranthropus were more powerful and had stronger jaws, Homo habilis survived because they discovered stone tools. Homo habilis then evolved into Homo erectus, which had less body hair so they could control their body temperature and run for a long time while hunting. Since they ate meat, their brains grew in size and they become considerate toward others. Until about 300,000 years ago, there were mainly three Homo species on the planet – Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and Homo sapiens. Although Homo sapiens almost became extinct in the Ice Age, those who ventured to eat mussels in certain parts of Africa were able to survive. The program said human beings today are descendants of this venturous species.