Walking With Wikis
Next of Kin
General information
SeriesWalking with Beasts
Episode number4
Featured creaturesAustralopithecus afarensis
Broadcast information
Original airdate6 December 2001
Chronological information
Previous episode
Land of Giants
Following episode
Sabre Tooth

Next Of Kin is the fourth episode in Walking with Beasts series. It depicts Pliocene Africa, focusing on the trials and tribulations of a group of australopithecines.

Episode Summary


A family group of Australopithecus afarensis is down on its luck; yet another female died from malaria, leaving behind an orphan son. The males of the group, Grey and Hercules, are beginning to challenge each other for leadership, and the females are supporting Hercules rather than Grey, particularly a female aptly nicknamed Babble, who hates him and after the matriarch's death, has taken over. A bigger, more numerous group of Australopithecus attacks, driving the focus group from their old home. Because of this, they start to migrate through the highlands of Ethiopia, searching for a new one.


During their travels they run into a male Deinotherium in musth: his body was full of hormones and very aggressive: he chased the australopithecines up a tree and almost trampled one of their youngsters before he left. Fortunately, none of the australopithecines were seriously hurt.


Shortly after the Deinotherium encounter the australopithecines discover a new place to live: at first it seems to be uninhabited by other large mammals, except for Ancylotherium, and not even australopithecines are scared of them. However, this is also a home of Dinofelis, a sabre-toothed cat that specializes in hunting prey such as Australopithecus. Dinofelis begins to hunt australopithecines and successfuly too. The family group is shrinking further.

New Changes

However, the situation begins to improve: a new female arrives... Causing new tension between the males of the family group, Grey and Hercules. Eventually, discovering the usage of a stick as a weapon, Hercules defeats Grey and becomes the new leader of the family group.

Dinofelis returns

Eventually the Dinofelis returns and attacks australopithecines once more. Blue, the Australopithecus youngster orphaned at the beginning of the episode, is almost captured and killed by the cat when the rest of the family group rallies together and chases Dinofelis away with sticks and stones. As the carnivore is driven away and australopithecines begin to groom each other, the narrator points out that they have a long journey to travel yet, but it's a start.


3.2 Million Years Ago (Ethiopia) 



Promotional Images



Original airdate

  • 6 December 2001 20.30 BBC One


  • 16 December 2001 16.10 BBC One
  • 12 March 2003 19.00 BBC Four