July, 19, 2001. Michel Brunet, Director of the French-Chadian Paleo-Anthropological Mission (MPFT) announces the discovery of our oldest human ancestor recorded to date. After 30 years of hard work, the anthropologist has just found a 7-million-year old, perfectly preserved skull in the Djourab Desert of North Chad. The entire history of humankind as we know it falls to pieces.
To answer the questions raised by his discovery, Brunet begins a long and delicate field research and turns to the best-known paleontology laboratories in the world, in an attempt to reconstruct the fate of what is now regarded as the most precious witness to our distant origins. In July 2002, an article published in Nature magazine unveils the creature’s official scientific name - Sahelanthropus tchadensis – but everybody just calls it Toumaï (which means “hope for life” in the native language). Studies show that Toumaï’s distinctive feature set it definitely apart from its chimpanzee “cousins”. Therefore the separation between the two evolutionary lines which gave origin to man and chimpanzees, respectively, goes back to a much more distant past than was previously believed.
This riveting high definition production is a sophisticated forensic investigation designed to find out exactly who this creature was and how he lived.
We will witness Brunet’s theories brought to life thanks to state-of-the-art CGI reconstructions of Toumaï and his world, with amphibious fauna such as tortoises and crocodiles to sabre tooths and proboscidians.