Paleoanthropologist John Shea, a professor in Stony Brook University’s Department of Anthropology and Turkana Basin Institute, will appear in a new series airing on the History Channel. “Mankind: The Story of All of Us,” premieres Tuesday, November 13, at 9 pm. Shea is a featured commentator about life in prehistoric times in the first episode, “Inventors,” and also appears in later episodes about the Roman Empire.
“Mankind The Story of All of Us” is a 12-hour television event about the greatest adventure of all time — the history of the human race. Episodes covered throughout the series include the ice age, the advent of farming, the sacking of Rome, the discovery of the New World, the fall of the Aztec empire, the Industrial Revolution and more. It is a story of triumph and overcoming, of survival on a harsh and brutal planet. Through groundbreaking storytelling methods, this series features incredible imagery and reconstructions of the most critical events in human history.
Shea’s research focuses on the archaeology of human origins. His interests span the length of the Paleolithic period, including early hominid adaptive radiations, the origin of Homo sapiens, the extinction of the Neanderthals and the end of the Later Stone Age in Africa. Shea has done fieldwork in Israel, Jordan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya. His recent fieldwork focuses on Later Stone Age sites in the Early Holocene Galana Boi Formation, West Turkana, Kenya, which is being carried out in conjunction with the Turkana Basin Institute and in collaboration with Professor Elisabeth Hildebrand.
Shea, along with Richard and Meave Leakey, also from Stony Brook’s Department of Anthropology, were part of a Nova special, “Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors,” which aired on PBS in 2009. He also appeared in another PBS series in 2010, “The Human Spark,” with Alan Alda, a visiting professor in Stony Brook University School of Journalism’s Center for Communicating Science.