PART I: AFRICA 4,000,000 YEARS AGO
AFRICAN DRYLANDS - DROUGHT
The remorseless drought had lasted now for ten million years.
And would not end for another million.
The reign of the terrible lizards had long since passed.
Here on the continent which would one day be known as Africa, the battle for survival had reached a new climax of ferocity.
The victor was not yet in sight.
In this dry and barren land, only the small or the swift or the fierce could flourish, or even hope to exist.
INT & EXT CAVES - MOONWATCHER: The man-apes of the field had none of these attributes, and they were on the long, pathetic road to racial extinction. About twenty of them occupied a group of caves overlooking a small, parched valley, with a muddy water hole.
Pigs are seen grazing nearby.
The tribe had always been hungry, and now it was starving.
Among his kind, Moonwatcher is almost a giant. He is nearly five feet high, and though badly undernourished, weighs over a hundred pounds. His hairy, muscular body is quite man-like, and his head is already nearer man than ape. The forehead is low, and there are great ridges over the eye sockets, yet he unmistakably holds in his genes the promise of humanity. As he looks out now upon the hostile world, there is already something in his gaze beyond the grasp of any ape. In those dark, deep-set eyes is a dawning awareness - the first intimations of an intelligence which would not fulfill itself for another two million years.
EXT AFRICAN PLAIN - HERBIVORES: Moonwatcher and his companions search for berries, fruit and leaves, and fight off pangs of hunger, while all around them, competing with them for the same fodder, is a potential source of more food than they could ever hope to eat.
Yet all the thousands of tons of meat roaming over the parched savanna and through the brush is not only beyond their reach; the idea of eating it is beyond their imagination.
They are slowly starving to death in the midst of plenty.
EXT PARCHED COUNTRYSIDE - THE LEOPARD: The tribe slowly wanders across the bare country-side foraging for roots and occasional berries.
Suddenly, a leopard pounces on one of the man-apes, it frantically tries to flee but the big cat is too fast and too powerful. Defenseless and with nowhere to hide, the others scatter in all directions.