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The Incredible Human Journey (2010)

Alice Roberts  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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The Incredible Human Journey + Journey of Man + Human Family Tree
Price for all three: $49.20

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alice Roberts
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 24, 2010
  • Run Time: 293 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0035JHYMK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,292 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Follow in the footsteps of our ancestors and discover how the first humans became us in this five-part Travel Channel series from the BBC! When Homo Sapiens set out from East Africa on a treacherous journey to populate the world, they weren't the only human species on the planet, but they were the only one, ultimately, that would survive. Why is that? And how did we change, over the course of the greatest ever journey to become the people we are today? This fascinating series undertakes five epic journeys across the globe, tracing the ancient routes of our early ancestors to reveal the extraordinary and brutal challenges they faced. Using the latest genetic and archaeological evidence, it shows how humans gradually adapted, culturally and physiologically, in response to their environment.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We are all Africans under the skin" May 3, 2010
In this excellent BBC TV series Alice Roberts follows in the footsteps of our ancestors, who left Africa and ended up populating the whole world. The TV series is very enjoyable, and there is also an accompanying book which goes into much more detail on the scientific debates. I recommend both the DVD and the book. I first wrote this review in relation to book, but it applies equally to the TV series.

Roberts shows how the evidence from bones, artefacts and genes tells us that Homo sapiens (modern humans) evolved in Africa between 200,000 and 150,000 years ago and that all non-African humans throughout the world today are descended from one group of Homo sapiens who left Africa between 85,000 and 65,000 years ago.

On her journey Roberts meets people who personify and bring to life many of the debates relating to human evolution. For example, at Pinnacle Point in South Africa she meets one of the archaeologists who have been excavating Blombos Cave. It was here that shell beads and pieces of ochre with carved geometric patterns were found dating back 75,000 years. At the same place other pieces of ochre were found dating back to 164,000 years ago, showing that modern humans were painting by that date. This evidence shot down the theory held by some scientists that art (and therefore modern brains and behaviour) did not appear until about 40,000 years ago in Europe. (For more on this, see my review here on Amazon of Stephen Oppenheimer's book, "The Real Eve".)

Roberts meets some people who still refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence that all humans today are descended from African Homo sapiens. Some still cling to the untenable view that different so-called "races" of people evolved separately in different parts of the world from an earlier Homo species.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb investigation of human evolution and migration November 7, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am a collector of well made documentaries and I have to say that The Incredible Human Journey has become one of my most prized possessions. The show approached the topic of human evolution and migration with solid scientific inquiry but also placed the explanations in the context of human experiences that we are familiar with in the modern times.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great video October 8, 2010
By Ron
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
An outstanding documentary with great photography, very informative and entertaining. I usually don't like seeing the narrator so much but in this case it added to the value of the overall viewing exprience. One of the few documentaries I could actually watch twice.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creative, interactive and reasonably balanced January 9, 2011
The best thing about this series is it's done in a sort of 'personal odyssey' way. In other words, Alice Roberts personally visits and experiences various world archaeological sites over a tour of 6 months to see for herself what is going on. You can do parts of this journey yourself, as I have done-you gain a lot from first-hand experience rather than from reading textbooks, e.g. the dangers of the African Savannah, the relief that a dry cave offers for habitation in the tropics (meaning such caves have long records), the ease to which a log raft can travel between Indonesian islands, how easy it is to travel along the coast of the Americas with all the fish around, how terraced rice farming took off in the wetlands of SE Asia, and so on. There is a sort of interactive archaeological experience in this series, which is well worth viewing if you have don't have time to visit all these places yourself.

The general perspectives involve the most up to date research, such as the idea the Americas were first colonised by boat people down the west coast from Siberia and Alaska, since the rest was cut off from ice, and even the idea that some of these people were not from 'Siberia' as such, but rather further south around Melanesia-Austronesia, and the idea that the lack of sophisticated stone tools in SE Asia for long periods is because the widespread hard silica bamboo is such a versatile resource (can be used for ropes, string, planks, pipes, sharp knives, spears, rafts, houses, etc etc), but which doesn't survive in the archeological record for obvious reasons.

But for some reason she has missed recent research which suggests 1-4% of our genes are Neanderthal, and there was also a Neanderthal sub/species in Siberia- which genes show up in modern Melanesians.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very incredible... February 3, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Dr. Alice Roberts traces the journey of mankind out of Africa and into the rest of the world. In some ways it reminds me of The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, which is a good thing. I enjoyed that book and enjoyed this DVD. The only thing I did not like about it was her comments on the Neanderthals. And that could be the only flaw in the wonderful 293 plus minutes - any book or DVD on human evolution can become outdated within weeks of being published or made available in stores. At the time I watched the DVD, last year, there wasa debate going on - it seemed that research was showing that Non-African humans may be carrying SOME Neanderthal DNA. And at the time of this review it seems that this idea is now being debated. Back and forth, back and forth. Will we ever know the complete truth?
She tries to answer the questions we will be asking for years to come. Why are we alone? How did our ancestors survive? What did they face, what dangers did they overcome? Why or how did they spread out over the surface of the Earth? What pathways did they take?
Wonderful scenes - loved how she REALLY does trace the journey of mankind, visiting Asia, Europe, America and Australia in her search. She is even able to pinpoint the very area where people likely moved out of Africa. And it looks like she had fun doing it also!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Exactly what I expected
Published 23 days ago by Samuel Green
Here's one of many fine BBC productions. This one is about human development and migration. And of course we are making progress understanding ourselves. Read more
Published 24 days ago by EASY TRAVELER
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece !!!
It was/ is PERFECT!!! I not only wondered about the early adventures of UsKind, but I had my own theories. Plus I just got results from NatGeo on m DNA . Oh, yeah.... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Roibeard o hAirt
4.0 out of 5 stars Human development
This is an excellent review of where we all came from. Her adventure was as interesting as all in information she was presenting. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ronald J. Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
Although it left a lot of questions unanswered (just how had earlier hominids made the journey to Eurasia? Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr. N. J. Horne
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product
I chose this rating because the product was very informative and helpful in understanding of mankind.
I liked the product because you can pass it on. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Robert Tolbert
5.0 out of 5 stars This documentary was a revelation to me!
When I saw this documentary on TV a couple of years ago, I learned much that I hadn't known before. I am now going to show it to my senior citizens group this month.
Published 13 months ago by Nana Jane
3.0 out of 5 stars informative DVD, but research has advanced since it's release
The DVD is informative and appropriate for a college level course in biological anthropology and human evolution. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Erica Muller
4.0 out of 5 stars The Incredible Human Journey
Science has come a long way. Through DNA we now know that every living being homo sapien has his/her roots in Africa. Read more
Published 14 months ago by F. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal. Encore anyone? d:
This is an excellent short series/documentary for those who are ignorant in the subject. Ah, well, it's a great series for anyone really. Alice made it highly entertaining. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Aleutia
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