I completely agree with Henry Gee’s review (below). I have a lot of respect for Brian Cox, but he is an astrophysicist not an evolutionary biologist and unfortunately this handsomely-produced documentary is worse than an empty vessel, it is a cracked one. “Exceptionalism” is scientifically nonsense, though valid in a more philosophical context. Claiming a species or phenomenon is “exceptional” begs the question of “why”. It is also unfalsifiable as it is reasonable to assume that other species like ours exist in the universe, but currently impossible to prove.
Researchers have read strands of ancient DNA teased from the thigh bone of an early human who died 400,000 years ago in what is now northern Spain…The work deepens understanding of the genetics of human evolution by about 200,000 years, raising hopes that researchers can build a clearer picture of the earliest branches of the human family tree by studying the genetic make-up of fossilised remains dug up elsewhere.