Friday, July 24, 2015


Press release

Anthropologist Dr. Niobe Thompson journeys around the world to reveal the mysteries of our survival

How did humans overcome near extinction in an African super-drought and find a place to rebuild? How did we master the Arctic and cross the oceans to populate every corner of the planet? When and how did the Homo sapiens emerge as the world's only global species?

Unlock the mysteries of our very existence as anthropologist Dr. Niobe Thompson reveals groundbreaking scientific research and traces the footsteps of our human ancestors across five continents – including the tip of the Philippine archipelago, Tawi-Tawi – on THE GREAT HUMAN ODYSSEY, premiering August 2, airing Sundays at 8 p.m.

Throughout the three-part series, Dr. Thompson provides a never-before-seen glimpse into our species’ past through expeditions to some of the world’s most remote cultures. With the Philippines being the only area left with an intact freediving culture, the crew of The Great Human Odyssey was motivated to visit the Badjao - the master hunters of the sea floor and the world’s last traditional divers.

Dr. Thompson met with 63-year-old Santarawi, one of the last great Badjao divers with the amazing ability for breath-hold diving, able to endure up to five minutes under water. As filming took place on Santarawi’s war-torn homeland of Tawi-Tawi, safety was of prime importance. On top of the protection provided by the Philippine Marines, Santarawi assured the crew both of protection and friendship. “It took us almost a year of work with partners from the Philippines before we felt that we could work safely on the ground. Seeing the film’s success made us so happy that we went there.  The Philippines is my favorite location amongst all in this film,” Dr. Thompson shared.

Apart from the Badjaos, The Great Human Odyssey features the Crocodile People of Papua New Guinea, Bushmen of the Kalahari, and the reindeer-herders of the Russian Artic. From surviving the Ice Age to the meeting of Neanderthals and modern humans; the birth of language and art; and how our ancestors found a way through the deserts out of Africa - The Great Human Odyssey will take us four million years back in time to reveal the frailty of human life and the miracle of our adaptable, imaginative, and curious nature. 

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