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The Incredible Human Journey [DVD]

Alice Roberts , Tessa Wojtczak    Exempt   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
Price: £6.80 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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The Incredible Human Journey [DVD] + Origins of Us [DVD] + Evolution The Human Story
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Product details

  • Actors: Alice Roberts, Tessa Wojtczak
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Jun 2009
  • Run Time: 347 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001V7P2UE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,517 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


How did we get here? Following a trail of clues from the latest scientific research, Dr Alice Roberts re-traces the greatest ever journey taken by our ancestors. Thousands of years ago one small group of our species, Homo sapiens, crossed out of Africa and into the unknown. Their descendants faced baking deserts, sweat-soaked jungles and frozen wildernesses and risked everything on the vast empty ocean. Within 60,000 years they colonised the whole world...

How did they do it? Why do we, their descendants all look so different? And what did we have that meant we were the only human species to survive? Using the evidence from genetics, fossils, archaeology and climatology, Dr Alice Roberts uncovers five epic routes our ancestors took across the globe and the obstacles and brutal challenges they encountered along the way. It reveals how our family tree grew and spread out across the world, producing all the variety we see in the human species today – but despite all that diversity, Alice reveals how astonishingly closely related we all are.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We are all Africans under the skin" 3 May 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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, "Out of Eden".)

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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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series!! 28 May 2009
I originally thought this would be just another series about the divergence of our ancestors from the common ape line, but instead its focus is on Homo sapiens, which is great! All the other docs spend so much time discussing our antecedents and spend the last bit discussing "us". Our story is far richer as well as less speculative, and this series so far is doing it great justice! I am three episodes in and just enthralled!! I don't know why they don't show great docs like this in the US. I'm downloading this series but will buy it on June 8th right here!!
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Viewing For All 15 Jun 2009
By F. Tavo
In a very pleasant and viewer-friendly style especially for the average punter on the street, Dr. Roberts uses the latest scientific findings to explain just how 'under the skin, we are ALL children of Africa'. Differences in physical characteristics (e.g. skin colour) which helas have been and are still being used to drive us humans apart, are found to be nothing more than the evolutionary realignment necessary for the survival of our common ancestors from Africa in their new-found yet often hazardous environment they had to call 'home' (Asia, Europe, Oceania and Americas). But the underlying truth that we are ALL related, and a lot closer than we sometimes dare to admit (today's so-called 'non-Africans' ALL descend from only several hundred Africans!) makes me wish that Dr. Roberts' work be made required study if not viewing for all, or at least for those at secondary school level.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Journey 19 Dec 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
OK its been a few months since I watched, but a lot of it is still in my head. This is not like one of those damned Yank programmes that keeps repeating itself over.
Dr Roberts explains this trip in pretty good detail, letting you know how certain barriers were crossed on the way and the length of time each stage of the trip took. Her quiet enthusiasm in telling the story comes accross well and makes it entertaining. She the does not babble and self repeat, it is a clear, precise entertaining and very informative bit of narrative. I could not stop watching these DVDs and went to bed late in the morning. This will get watchewd periodically.
If you're into ancient history / human origins - you should have bought this ages ago.
My rating 10/10
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series 30 July 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I found this series very informative, and excellently presented by Alice Roberts. I learnt new things, and it gave me a sense of the wonder and diversity of our own vast human family.

I think she makes the point well, that an understanding of human prehistory should cause people to come together for the vast journey they share, rather than kill each other for the small differences they notice. I also felt the current fate of some tribal cultures becomes all the more poignant when we learn more of their own remarkable histories of pioneering exploration and survival across tens of thousands of years. I think kids of any ethnic background can find true stories of their ancestors here to be proud of and share.

I don't agree with comments that she made herself out to be a great expert - I am fine with her discussing her own hunches on the theories, as this personal side of the journey was the style of the series. It was clear that local experts have their own national and cultural biases - and the jury is still out on lots of issues.

Yes, her night in the bush was a bit lame - but it seemed they pulled away from that reality format in time - and yes the "fun cartoon" graphics looked like the result of an overly persuasive graphics company. But apart from such small issues I found the program structure managed to keep you moving nicely through sites and scientists (for which the series clearly worked hard to get excellent access).

Alice Roberts herself is charming with the people that she meets, and I think her warm character gave this series an unusual edge. I really enjoyed it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not all correct (probably!) - but a worthwhile watch.
Five programmes on two DVDs.
Alice engages the viewer and the people she meets and the series is interesting. It make you realise just how... fortunate.. Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Grumpy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good for children to learn from, my daughter loves Prof Roberts
Published 3 months ago by C. M. Pamplin
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A fascinating documentary looking at the evidence we have today, to try to find out how we expanded out of Africa to cover the world today.
Published 4 months ago by Philip
1.0 out of 5 stars Dumbed down or what!
This is the most awful dross. The most lightweight treatment of human evolution I have had the misfortune to come across!
Published 8 months ago by Mr. B. James
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent presentation of the spread of 'modern' humans out of Africa.
Very clear and seemingly unrefutable argument for the spread of modern humans out of Africa.
The use of changing climate factors and the effects on humans and their journeying... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Colin Hovey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Another great DVD really enjoyed every minute of it . Ul love this one. Makes u think. And want to know more
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. A. C. Smart
5.0 out of 5 stars thank you for responce in sending item out
thank you very pleased with dvd
and will be happy to tell my friends
and family
thank you once again
Published 11 months ago by david calver
5.0 out of 5 stars A must
I bought this for my teenage sons who couldn't stop watching it, we've played it to a couple of friends who have purchased their owncopy
Published 12 months ago by Ricky Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Our 100,000 year journey
I really learned a lot about our incredible human journey. It should be part of every elementary school science curriculum.
Published 12 months ago by Marion T. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look into the human story
This is a a fascinating documentary looking into the history of humanity. The journey we took out of Africa, the dangers we faced and the innovations we made to overcome them. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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