As the gap between academia and the general public grows, so does the need to explore and disseminate ideas that seek to unify an increasingly divided world. To that end, Genevieve von Petzinger's groundbreaking work in decoding The First Signs – ancient symbols left by our ancestors in caves around the globe – could not come at a better time. A story eons in the making, Genevieve's continued work in understanding these symbols brings answers to some of the biggest questions in human history – who are we, where do we come from, and what are our ancestors trying to tell us?
Following the success of Genevieve's TED talk and the interest of millions who viewed it, Discovery Networks, a global leader in factual media programming, engaged with Genevieve to significantly elevate the profile of her work to a global audience. Discovery intends to distribute a hybrid documentary television series, following Genevieve and her team as they perform real science in the real world to further our understanding of The First Signs. Viewers will be right there alongside a cast of world-class scientists as they descend into ancient caves, collect samples from 40,000-year-old cave paintings, and perform genomic sequencing to reveal history-altering new truths – all to pursue the team's urgent mission to solve the mysteries of the world's oldest symbols – symbols left by our shared ancestors – ancestors of the entire human race. With support from organizations such as TED-Ed and National Geographic, we will produce compelling educational content from the four corners of the Earth, engaging adults and children alike in the excitement of scientific discovery, leveraging a message of ancestral unity to stimulate discussion of science's place in society. The massive scope of Discovery Networks' global reach into over 100 territories and more than a dozen languages gives The First Signs documentary series the potential to reach and educate a truly global audience.