Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

2003, Science  -   80 Comments
Ratings: 7.30/10 from 128 users.

Journey of Man: A Genetic OdysseyA fantastic documentary tracing the earliest human migration on this planet, as shown by our genetic roots.

This informative film, full of surprising news, is based on the work of Spencer Wells, who is both innovative scientist and enthusiastic host.

He and crew scour the world for indigenous people with deep roots in one place, asking for samples of DNA to test, in order to piece together our "big family" genetic tree.

In Indiana Jones mode, Wells tacks down common ancestors and comes up with some surprising candidates which he interviews.

The best parts are when he returns with DNA results and we see the diverse ways in which people and tribes react to the news of what science says about their arrival and relations. View this as adventure travel or as a painless way to begin your genetic literacy.

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80 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Gerome Butler

    People assume all races came from melanated people, but science says the original humans are stardust, basically from the stars and formed with the planet and the other races are hybrids or part neanderthal, which has been recently acknowledged.
    The modern man and woman narrative then is correct, and the only question is who or what, created the modern man and woman.
    I sincerely hope the original inhabitants of this planet did not engage in experiments in pursuit of creating a hybrid people.
    If so, I would extend my apology to all people affected by the experiments.

  2. Melwin John Thomas

    Haats Off ....incredible documentary for the human kind

  3. ALways Searching

    Way too drawn out and very dated. Could have covered a lot more detail in that period, or consolidated this to about 40 mins. Reflects a stubborn denial of the now overwhelming evidence that humans crossed into NoAmerica prior to 13000 BCE. So no land corridor. Much more likely that the newcomers hunted the edges of the sea ice by boat and came down the coast which now is, unfortunately hundreds of feet underwater.
    Would have been interesting if they included women's mitochondrial DNA and presented both threads.

    1. Renee

      Life started in Africa. No two ways about it. Europeans, Asians and all people of this world are from Africans. Period

  4. Gloglo

    I personally like this doc tremendously. I've always been interested in this topic , of couse. After seeing this dvd for the first time, I am eager to do more research. Starting with your comments and moving forward, l feel like I will be well versed on this subject, so thank you all for pros and cons...great comments

  5. Buzz

    This Journey of Man is HORRIBLY OUT OF DATE! It was written in 2002 long before it was found that modern humans coming out of Africa interbred with Neanderthals and other archaic humans like the Denisovan!

    Also the first modern man in the Eurasia was a Neanderthal hybrid, thats why all Eurasians carry Neanderthal DNA (40 000 year old Oase Skull found in Romania had 10% Neanderthal DNA)

    White skin is relatively late in human history! It originated in Central Asia and was taken into Europe by the Middle Eastern Farmers about 8000 years ago. DNA taken from a 8000 year old Iberian, La Brana Man, shows he had Caucasian features, brown straight hair and blue eyes

    1. Renee

      Life started in Africa period. It doesn’t matter if it was dated in 2002. All people including cave men originated from Africa. People evolved according to their climate. A African wouldn’t need hair, the heat would burn it off. Sub Saharan Africans are near the equator. Whites have long straight hair due to the cold climate to keep them insulated, a straight nose to filter the cold air before it gets to the lungs and blue eyes and blond hair due to the lack of pigmentation due to the cold climate. Africans have Short kinky hair to stay cooler in the heat , flat broad noses due to the sun not to allow their nose to burn in the sun. More melanin to protect against the sun. That is why we have different features. It has everything to do with evolution according to the climate. Adaptation

  6. Bivek Poudyal

    ryanwill37, I also had the same theory but then I started to question it since all "races" of humanity possess Neanderthal DNA (missing in the Sub-Saharan Africans). Even the aboriginal people of Australia, (who, are as dark as the sub Saharan Africans) have their DNA. Maybe Europeans have more of the Neanderthal DNA?

  7. coryn

    Awesome! What a journey.......

  8. bushbaby123

    Excellent! Although a more recent doc mentioned earlier: The Incredible Human Journey is more succint. the ending where he says that imposing distinctions on people based on race is both devicsive and scientifically incorrect was spot on. The differences we see between what we commonly call the 'races' are insignificant when we consider the simmilarities. I'm glad to call myself a member of the human family with 6+ billion relatives and a common African origin.

  9. Mjb

    This needs to be shown to white racists who have done so much evil to Black people. Stupid people. You came from Blacks and you can't get away from that. You've treated these people appallingly for hundreds and hundreds of years and to date! Hang your heads in shame. If these Africans came to a White country now and they went to a small town to conduct research, the white savages there will try and kill them. If they can't, they will torture them and call them racist names. This solidifies my beliefs that Whites are the savages!

    1. gonzo

      gee thanks

    2. Brenda Billiot

      Savagery is not attributable to a particular race dear. As a white person, I am proud of my African origins, and I'm by no means a savage, even though I am in part Native American, and my ancestors were called savages, and sometimes still are.

    3. jayspcrepair99

      I came from a frog at one time too, You are the worst kind of person, You call white people Savages, Why don't you stop being racist yourself, Not all white people owned slaves, Just like not all Blacks were slaves, You can't lump everyone in together and leave yourself conveniently out!!!

    4. TheAfricanDon

      i think some of you did not read his comment properly he said "white racist people" and racist people who slaves and torture other people are savages no doubt

    5. ShadowEvanesence

      The quote," This solidifies my beliefs that Whites are the savages!" tends to speak otherwise.

    6. Rosemary Maclean

      Thank you.

    7. Bivek Poudyal

      Mjb, it is you that is being a racist here. This is just a documentary. No need to get your panties in a bunch.

    8. ashley

      you aint lying lol

    9. LR

      Oh, so you are racist. Good to know.

      Well, slavery was an institution practiced worldwide for thousands of years. 'White people' were slaves too. You know, the word 'slave, from 'slav.' And then It was the 'white man' that finally did away with the institution. Yeah!

      Ah, be glad the headhunters weren't the actual 'conquerors' of the world. We could all still be getting our heads chopped, and shrunk because one group of people worshipped shrunken heads.

  10. carlwasthebest

    I was shown this in a 300-level Genetics class at University; very interesting indeed. I wonder how many who have nasty things to say even bothered to major in the sciences?

  11. chobos

    Hey 555 maybe you should shove youre inferiority complex and have a more open mind about modern genetics and the interelatedness of man,or maybe you just cant see past youre own racist prejudices.

  12. the555hit

    I'm gonna sue this guy for the bad dream he gave me from watching this doc last night. Dreamed he had me up all night working with him when i was supposed to be servicing the needs of my best girl him having co opted me to do all these horrifically painstaking things an entire day and night such as sucking the blood out of entire tribes of people like some milkface vampire with a syringe. This on the strength of my having sat through a couple of hours of the alfalfa half a alpha male charisma and charm while he walked into pefectly-ok-thankyou villages and pressed his superior ideology on brown people like some latterday missionary creepin' jesus telling them basically that their cherished myths had come out the back end of a bull. Had a to vomit a bit frankly, whatever the intensity of my cusriosity and interest and my respect for this guy's scientific talent and tenacity. I mean why don't we have it all ways? Prove scientifically that racism is undefendable fearful stupid hokum then go and ram all your superior reasoning down the throats of anyone who hasn't enjoyed the 'privelege' of your captain of industry waspy education and background. I hope it's clear I'm waxing a little rhetorical here, nothing too vehement going on, and the doc was not unentertaining but i do question the man's reasoning and motives. Comments anyone?

    1. chobos

      Hey 555 maybe you should shove your inferiotity complex and have some faith in modern genetics and the interrelatedness of man and maybe you will be able to see past your racist prejudices.

    2. the555hit

      ooh x2 ouch x2.. maybe i did get you the first time mr. Hobos or is it your double vision again dear? Well if I was named after a vagrant lifestyle I might have a optical issues like yours so nice try but well do get back again when you´ve learned joined-up thinking and gotten your proficiency badge in how to totally miss a point

    3. J T

      First of all great informative documentary. I'm rather jealous that this man got to travel the world to conduct his research!

      To answer Mr 555, it is my very personal opinion that this researchers motives are very ego driven. He keeps speaking about making history and the greatest discovery...etc..ect.. That's all good and well though. Everyone wants to be remembered and considered special. Especially in western civilization.

      At a very basic human level, this information does nothing for those of us that already view our fellow man as brothers regardless of race or descendents. I personally think we are all born with this knowledge, and it is slowly beaten out of us by the "my story is the correct story and yours is wrong" mentality.

      These primitive peoples he visited are content and satisfied thinking they are the worlds first peoples. They don't have a sense of physical or intellectual or racial superiority. I can imagine them being irritated and baffled by this person that shows up out of no where attempting to tell them where they came from. He wasn't born among them, he doesn't farm with them, he doesn't hunt with them. It's rather insensitive, crass, and rude to attempt to impart his method of thinking on them, when he has in no way shape or form experienced the reality they've been experiencing for ages.

      The long and short of it is that I enjoyed this documentary. He is a geneticist - it's not his job or responsibility to make people see the greater intellectual, emotional, or spiritual meaning of his research.

  13. Veggamatic

    This was interesting but should have been about half the length.

  14. Jasmine Dossou

    Why did he only use men in the blood sample? Why not woman?

    1. Billy Mcmichael

      He was simply following the y chromosome, which women don't have. Other folks have used mitochondrial dna, which comes from the maternal side, and have found pretty much the same things.

    2. Bivek Poudyal

      Because he was tracing the mutation in the genes in the Y Chromosome. Men have XY and women have XX chromosomes.

  15. ryanwill37

    My question is. Why do Europeans evolve to have white skin and various hair colors and no other group of people in the world did? He said it was because of the temperature and it caused us to cover ourselves to help absorb vitamin D. But the people in Siberia havent change in skin color at all. No one else in the colder climates changed skin color. Even other groups of people lives in much much colder temperatures.

    1. Bivek Poudyal

      Ryan, I don't know about Siberians but the Inuits did not develop white skin because they got plenty of vitamin D from their diet, which consisted mainly of fish and seal.

    2. ryanwill37

      ok. thanks. Thats true

    3. Tom Carberry

      I don't know the answer, but I read an interesting theory that Europe had a two thousand year period of near total darkness.

      I read it in a very interesting book about Atlantis by a German scientist named Otto Muck. I never gave Atlantis much thought before, but picked this book up in a used book store and found it fascinating. He even gives a date for the sinking of Atlantis, based on the Mayan calendar, who survived because of their distance from Atlantis, according to Muck.

      Muck posits that before the end of the Ice Age, Atlantis occupied a large portion of the middle Atlantic on the Atlantic ridge, and that its size blocked the Gulf Stream, turning it back and keeping Europe cold. According to Muck, an asteroid struck Atlantis around 8000 BCE, not only destroying it, but allowing the Gulf Stream to assume its current course, warming northern Europe, starting the melting of glaciers, but leaving a giant cloud of ash and other debris over Europe for a couple thousand years.

      I take no position on this other than to say it made a lot of sense when I read it.

    4. ryanwill37

      My personal theory is, due to the latest information regarding the proof of Neanderthal and homosapian interbreeding, and taking into account the large amount of time of the separation of neanderthals and homosapians, the mixture has created the lighter skin of europeans. It is believed the Neanderthals were light in skin, and it is possible living for such a long time in the north where there is less light, they slowly evolved to match their environment. Lighter skin of course allowing for greater capture of the suns' rays.The coming of hte africans, which also may not have been as dark as todays Africans, interbred and created the lighter skin homosapiens we know today.

  16. avny82

    If you relocate from your birthplace and climatized to that area, will your offspring have the old potential or new to withstand a new environment? Is this whats considered a mutation, or is mutation random?

  17. ThePhilhw

    Great stuff, Thank you.
    Much to learn from this and there is hope if we can learn.
    As a nation or race we own destruction.
    As a species we have unlimited potential.

    I hope we can survive long enough to realise that human potential.

  18. Alex Tibwitta

    how can I buy this documentary?

  19. Justin Lesniewski

    Absolutely loved this Documentary and it offers a more rugged look at our genetic ancestry. I learned a great deal from it, and I thought the host was brilliant and relaxing to listen to. He does entertain a highly scientific disposition among aboriginals though, and tries to explain his genetic journey to them, and who their ancestors were genetically... which can have you wincing in embarrassment though! Highly Recommended.

  20. Sarah Walters

    A very concise study in to the resilience of man-kind. I just wish he would have let the people speak more on their beliefs, as it is the spiritual strength and set of beliefs that was the fabric for determination in this journey of man. Allowing these ancient people to digest science' explanation, and their views on this would have been a more interesting documentary, rather than dictating what is to a spiritual way of life, still intriguing to watch though.

  21. issue23

    A breathtaking, staggering (lost for superlatives!) documentary, superbly presented and sensitively dealt with. I really couldn't recommend this film high enough to anyone interested in where we came from.

  22. robertallen1

    While the narrator appears to be a fine geneticist, as a social commentator, he is puerile and callow.

    I cringed with embarassment as he went from tribe to tribe for the sole purpose of lauding some of their members for their prominent genetic markers. This amounts to giving them a pat onthe back for something which they had nothing to do with.

    Quite frankly, I don't understand the narrator's panegyric over our ancestors of 30,000 to 40,000 years back. When you look at it, they were far from remarkable.

    The conclusion of the documntary was particularly offensive. Our biological relationships do not militate an individual's duty to mankind in general. Again,

    In short, I wish the narrator would have stuck to what he knows.

  23. Jo McKay

    I don't mind watching an old documentary now and then (specially science or history based), but it would be easier if I knew this ahead. Thanks to the writer who recommended THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN JOURNEY ( a very recent update, and also available on this site). Highly recommend. Yes, the migration went from North Africa, around India (link has been found), then to Australia which was much closer (I think they said approx 150 miles of open ocean was crossed - still significant, but a LOT less than today's 4000+ miles). We are all Related, that's the most important message, our migrations? simply fascinating.

    1. His Forever

      Is THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN JOURNEY basically the same premise as this one? 2 hours is a long time if there's a newer study out.

  24. raju

    Check out Stephen Oppenheimer's study on the same subject. Much better.

  25. jack1952

    @ equus,

    Why so angry? You will never get angry enough to change an opinion. What people will do is tune you out and talk around you.

    It was a good introductory doc. To some one never exposed to this type of science before, it was simply presented and entertaining. A more sophisticated understanding can grow from this.

  26. Ez

    @ Heselton

    Are you actually saying that ethnic groups do not share certain physical characteristics, are you blind. Of course they do, we all know and see very plainly that Asians have a certain shape of eye, Mongolians seem to have those high pronouced cheek bones, the San peoples all looked very similar to me as well (High sharp cheek bones and dark skin accompanied by the asian looking eyes).

    I realize it is more politically correct to pretend we notice no difference what so ever in ethnic groups, that we all somehow look identical. But it isn't true, and you know it. I will admit that as races mix and match these characteristics are fading, but they are far from unnoticable. I am certainly not a predjudice person at all, I was married to a black woman for ten years infact, but to say that ethnic groups do not have defining physical characteristics is to lie or be blind. Yes genetically the difference is very minute, less than one percent I would think, but just to look at them these physical differences are very noticable.

    I think these differences are beautiful to be honest. It is what makes certain ethnic groups look so exotic, to us westerners any way. You can pretend you don't see the differences or have never noticed them, but I don't believe you-simple as that. Not everything needs a scientific basis to be true as science often will not touch certai things that may stir angry emotions. Somethings are simply evident to the naked eye, and are just the way they are- whether science admits it or not.

    As far as why he chose the San peoples instead of some New Yorker with the correct genetic marker, well is that not evident. He was tryng to find a people that still practiced older more primitive customs and lived in Africa, since that is where we as a species started our trek out into the world. This way we got to see something very close to the way our ancestors may have lived and he also was in the right place to start the journey. It would have made very little sense to start with some guy from New York or Jersey driving a cab or something and then jump down to Africa to start his journey.

    Look, if you didn't like the doc. thats your business, no big deal. But don't be obtuse, you know why he chose to start with the San peoples as well as I do. They are the closest genetically to our ancestors and they still practice a life style similar to our ancestors.

    By the way what I thought was origional about this doc., and I thought I made this very clear in my last post, was that this guy actually made the physical journey that he was referring to. I am quite sure he did not walk the whole way, like the few shots we got of him strolling through the deserts tried to insinuate, but he did make the journey none the less. I think that was an original way of presenting the facts. Also, I never said that pastoral cultures ahd NEVER been gentically altered by outside influences. I said I did not think, notice i said "think" I am not asserting this opinion to be fact, this tribe had been.However if you fail to see that these people most definetly have a better link to the past than someone living in Jersey driving a cab, I give up as again I think you are purposefully ignoring the obvious to support your dislike of the documentary. They most definitely do have a better link to the past, can the average city dweller track and kill a wild animal with a home made bow and arrow? Get real man, just say you didn't care for it and let it go.

    @ Shaka

    The information I have found on the San people say they have never left Africa, in other words yes they originated from East africa like everyone else and somehow ended up in South Africa as the San tribe. As far as South africans in general, thats impossible to answer. There are many different ethnic backgrounds living in South Africa, British peoples, Africans, Irish, etc. I would say that all of the Africans from South Africa either came there from other parts of Africa or were born there after thier ancestors did at some point, its the only thing that makes sense.

  27. Ethanol

    That guy took off his sunglasses for dramatic effect twice in the first minute...

  28. shaka

    This makes sense to me and great doc. However what i would like to know is, where did the African's from south Africa came from?..did they came from other parts of Africa, lets say east Africa or? I read a while back from an article, that the DNA train shows that we all came from east Africa...anyone is be able to contribute, will really appreciate your input.


  29. heselton

    Disregard that last comment on the host background. I asked a friend of mine who is a geneticist (my roommate), and he said Spencer Wells is well known in the field. He is the head of something called the Genographic Project. Though he said he's mostly the PR arm (not because he's not a legit researcher, but because he's a good public speaker). I was also told the research presented in this documentary is his older work from around the late 90's.

    Thanks for the links Riley. I enjoyed the articles.

  30. heselton


    When you say "this doc was based upon genetics. geneticists can do math, dude. they can construct experiments", I think you're assuming that genetics (and science in general) somehow grows out of a culturally neutral environment. That they do not approach their research with pre-conceived cultural notions. Although the methods may be fine, the issue is the interpretation of those facts. Watching this reminded me of anthropologist studying Japanese origins in the 1920's and 30's who concluded that Okinawan's were the cultural predecessor of Japanese. And many sociological, anthropological, and historical research functioned on these assumptions for decades until 1980's when these ideas were swiftly overturned in the academic community (An interesting look at it can be found in Harry Haratoonian's "Overcoming Modernity" though that wasn't his explicit argument). The point that many people enter into research with pre-conceived notions that are culturally based - in this case that somehow people who are seen as isolated today have always been isolated and that they are somehow closer to the past genetically.

    1. Susan Donovan

      Excellent comment. Scientists who study humans not only must understand the scientific method, but they must also be aware and fluent in the tendencies you have just described, only then do they have a shot a being neutral. (And even then they can still make mistakes.)

  31. heselton

    @ Ez

    I think you misunderstood me. Perhaps it was a failure to explain on my part. I wasn't latching on the use of modern utensils, though this could be significant in another way. The issue was that one not need to find this DNA among isolated "tribal" people. That some of these people that carry this genetic market could be in the cities (ie. what I called "sedentary society"); moreover, one cannot assume because people live a pastoral life that they are somehow genetically isolated. Although you strongly doubt that genetic exchange was a two-way street between sedentary and pastoral people's, there have been several studies since 2000 that have strongly challenged it (like James Scott's, "The Art of Not Being Governed"[despite its cheezy title, it's a certainly a well researched university-published scholarship]) where the idea of pastoral people's, or any people by that mean, as somehow being more ancient is largely a fabrication by early anthropologist in explaining the supposed "superiority" of nation-states (ie. "Since we are the 'natural' temporal progression of man, they must some how have been 'left behind in time' making them more ancient." - and in this case genetically left behind and closer to the past).

    My objections were not on the issue of the validity of the genetic markers - I find that convincing - but that he assumes one needs to find "ancient" and "isolated" people, and that people in cities were somehow corrupt. I think his need to find these people is based on the assumption that they never moved and always stayed as a cohesive group. Over such a long period of time, particularly considering climatic changes, I think he's making a major leap of faith. For example, if we consider that the many samples in Kazakhstan, he was only able to find one individual with the genetic marker he was looking for, which means that there is an great genetic diversity in that region, so why does he make the assumption that that particular individual represented a more purely local direct link - someone could have moved there from somewhere else several generations ago carrying that genetic marker. My issue with all of this is that he assumes that a group of people because of their lifestyle have a more direct relationship with the past, and assumes a correlation with genetic isolation and geographic consistency.

    As for his observation, as you put it, that "these people had characteristics of many different races of modern people; the eyes of the Asian people, the cheek bones of the Mongolian, and black skin." That's an entirely subjective analysis with no quantified or scientific observation - it's opinion, not fact. And it's not a good opinion, at the university I'm at (It's one of the University of California campuses), talking with my fellow grad students in molecular biology and evolutionary biology, they've told me that most biologist reject the idea of race on a genetic level. Race is an entirely culturally defined phenomenon by latching on random features that have little scientific correlation. In fact, in a 2006 study on genetic diversity and race, researchers found that an individual was just as likely to have more genetic similarity with someone in their race than without - and that the reason was that genes spread far and fast and people travel far and fast. A person may think they are purely European or East Asian stock, but they in reality have many ancestors not that long ago from quite far away.

    As two quick final notes, his so called "discovery" that aboriginal Australians came through India has been shown through the exact same methods back in the mid-90's. That's what I meant by it was "outdated." Granted - popular education and documentaries are usually a decade or two behind scholarship - at least that's definitely how it is my field (I'm not a geneticist - I'm a historian). Lastly, I don't recall him saying what institution he was a practicing his profession as a geneticist, which was odd. Most scientist and scholars are usually proud of that and always emphasize it on television. In my field, when someone claims to be a "historian" but never mentions where, it's an indication that they are not professional historians, but are high school teachers, someone with a BA, or just an actor (the History channel has been blasted a few times for that), and instead were chosen because they were photogenic and good speakers.

    A pleasure disusing this, even if you disagree. I'm very interested in these topics. Await your comments or from anyone else.

    1. pan thor

      Oh do shut up you massive, dripping bellend.

  32. Scott

    +1 For really enjoying this doc.

  33. Ez

    @ heselton

    I disagree totally. These people had characteristics of many different races of modern people; the eyes of the Asian people, the cheek bones of the Mongolian, and black skin. The narrator clearly showed how he had traced through genetic markers handed down from father to son to determine the San peoples the oldest and closest to our common ancestors from Afirca. He did not just assume anything, but clearly showed and explained his research. Even if someone from a "sedentary society", as you call it, did infiltrate it matters not. The genetic markers are still valid and this person would not have influenced this tribes ways and cutoms, they would not allow such. If they had indeed joined the tribe, which I don't see as possible as these people only recognize those born into the tribe as actual members, they would have had to assimulate to the older ways and customs. Yes they had some modern utensils, such as knifes, but that doesn't mean anything. They still use these modern utensils to carve bone into arrow heads and so forth, and I am quite sure this guy knows how to distinguish between the modern utensils and devices they have acquired and older more primitive technologies.

  34. heselton

    I didn't like it. It is somewhat old fashioned and out-dated. For example, when he went to see the San people, he kept reiterating how they are the closest people genetically to our ancestors. But I think he is distracted by their so-called "primitive" life, in associating their primitiveness with their genetics. Genetically speaking, he would be just as likely to find those traits in other people. He also assumes that the San have been a isolated group for 60,000 years. When I am sure sufficient outside populations over such a long time span would have changed that "genetic purity." In fact, a lot of studies have shown recently (Like James Scott) that many of these so-called "tribal" or "primitive" societies are not at all closed-off, but in fact are often comprised of people who joined the group to get away from sedentary societies - ie. fleeing from the state.

    My point simply being that one cannot make the assumption that "tribal" and "primitive" groups necessarily equate a purer past closer to our ancestors. Yet the host of the program makes that assumption. In fact, these people are much closer to sedentary societies than many would like to think. Not only do "primitive" people leave groups for sedentary societies, that for some reason are seen as much more distant from the past genetic structure, but people from sedentary societies also join these groups resulting in an infusion of genetic diversity that is no different from us.

  35. over the edge

    thank you for the kind words

  36. Ez

    @ equus

    Take a chill pill man. You seem awfully uptight to me. Malanie noticed his sun glasses and liked them, so what. She also suggested a good book to read inorder to get further info on this subject, valuable input. Which is more than I can say for your arguementive attempt. Yes this has been done befor, but not in this way. I think it was a cool idea to retrace the route himself, no better way to appreciate how difficult it must have been.

    @ Over the edge

    Good point, why didn't I think of that? Very perceptive. I bet you are on to something there. Every time we have a good science doc you guys impress me with your reasoning abilities, cudos.

  37. ed

    this is great. i dont understand why the narrator is bugging so many people. he does very well.

  38. Eric T

    lol @ roach

    Good doc, it may not be comprehensive, but I learned some new stuff.

  39. JayKeys

    A documentary I've been needing to see.
    Very well done.

  40. Kim

    That was well done! Kept my interest and attention all the way through, the script was laid out in a logical fashion and he ended with a good message. His methods of explaining basic genetics would have been really helpful to me when I was first learning this stuff and no doubt help anyone to follow the rest of the story. Would definitely recommend this to young people!

  41. Ninette

    Breathtaking, I always knew what the people of the world are all conected, I just did not have the awnser or a logical explanation, if it would it be for the passion of those special people (archeolgists, scientists, biologist, etc) we would not understand so many questions, and in a way thank to the invention of man in new technologies that we get to learn these awnsers, in summary I'm gratefull and humbled to learn where I come from it gives a new respect for all the cultures of the world (though I always have) humanity is richest of all when we understand and respect each other, so thank you to all those who have put their passion, love, and persistent, to find the answers, whiout you we would still be in dark ages. Thank You! Gracias Mil!!

  42. equus

    you come to this site & select a science doc. & you want to check the comments...what do i see? melanie L. talking about Caruso & glasses...just the kind of empty vessel you want to stay AWAY from...that's why i visit this site but i guess that there is not safe place anymore, this plastic females are all over like roaches...f0k...

  43. equus

    caruso?... what's original about this c@#$? this has been done a lot better before... this f0kn guy should be shot asap... move on, people... this guy has a perfect face to slap... no doubt... bah!

  44. over the edge

    it's just a thought but didn't they say that the oceans had reseeded by as much as 40km? so any coastal settlements and and chance of archeological evidence would have been wiped out by the rising ocean. as for dna evidence of the migration i would guess (and only a guess) that any members left behind had simply died out. just my two cents

  45. Melanie L

    So interesting! I kind of liked the David-Caruso-sunglasses-thing Wells was doing at the beginning of the documentary. LOL!

    For more information on Spencer Wells' work on using DNA analysis to determine ancient human migratory patterns, have a look at his 2007 book 'Deep Ancestry: Inside The Genographic Project'. It explains a great deal about his methodology and the peoples studied, often with more depth than what is covered in this doc, which is from 2002.

  46. Ez

    @ Imightberiding

    Maybe they just ran out of time, or the migration out of Australia has already been done by some one else. I think the center point of his work was how amazing the Africa to Australia migration is such a mystery. It does seem awfully odd that they would leave not a single trace all the way from Africa to Australia. Now that I really think about it its like he said, impossible. Something isn't adding up there.

    I suppose a sea route is just out of the question, thats a long way to go on some make shift raft. Especially for a people that lived inland with no experience of the sea. It's an interesting puzzle.

    If they had of stopped along the way making permanent settlements then subsequent generations had of went further and further until they reached australia I could understand it. But its like they just started walking and didn't stop until they got to Australia. Seems to me they passed up some more freindly environments, or at least as freindly to human survival as were they ended up. Maybe the settlements they left along the way all died out without leaving any evidence, that seems odd but its all I can come up with.

    Oh, and thanks for the compliments, I enjoy your input as well. actually I didn't think about them being secluded and never having to adopt new technology. I suppose if they had of adopted something more modern they would have skipped the newer bow and arrow and grabbed a white mans gun. In the end I am glad they haven't adopted either really. It is cool to see them living just the way they did all those years ago.

    1. Dennis Nilsson

      "It does seem awfully odd that they would leave not a single trace all the way from Africa to Australia."

      The traces is surely there, if somebody wants to find them. They are under water today. At the time when the migration happened the water levels of the oceans was much lowers than today.

      Possible someone here reading here could get inspired of this story and make further investigation about it. And a great documentary about it. :-)

    2. David Starkey

      you weren't paying attention to the first diaspora
      go back & watch again
      The first followed the southern coast of Eurasia, then, polynesia & finally Australia as the Aborigines.

    3. Dennis Nilsson

      Thanks, I know that. :-)

      I wanted to say the we haven't yet founded any physical tracks of the first diasporas race to Australia. The places we should investigate is today under the water.

  47. Imightberiding

    Nope, he did not follow migration back out of Australia which makes me wonder about many groups of people along that route. Other tribes in India, Indonesia & Malaysia that display even more Negroid traits than the man he found in Southern India or even the Australian Aboriginal Peoples. Are they older or younger than the original settlers of Australia? Also no explanation for Greenland & Iceland. Part of Siberian/Northern Canada migration or part of the European migration. As I said earlier, maybe it's obvious & I'm being a dolt.

  48. Imightberiding


    I would think that resources play a large part in the tool/weapons issue. You use what is available. Types of trees, rocks, etc. I will add though, the Native American Indian is essentially 30 000 or so years younger & had the experience of all those ancestors in between & add to that the experience, knowledge & wisdom attained along their migratory paths. The "original" tribe as he stated has lived all this time virtually isolated & thus unchanged as a result of never having to adapt to other climes, flora, or fauna. This could explain their contentment or satisfaction or what ever you might call it, on their use of the tools, implements & weapons. It is not like they once were hunter/gatherers & are now primarily an agricultural society or what have you.

    I do enjoy your comments & you always toss out good questions. Doubt I helped much. I'm pretty certain you already knew everything I just went on about.


  49. Ez

    Good doc. but too long for me, I keep falling asleep. I thought the reason he didn't talk about other indigenous peoples is because the next place our bones showed up in the time line was Australia. Then he traced their route back out of Australia, I presumed. Actually i went to sleep while they were still tlaking about Australia, so maybe IMightBeRiding is talking about after he left there. Any way, this is good info. but very long and gets boring to me.

  50. mochi

    An interesting odyssey indeed!
    I just hope that strides in genetic technology grow exponentially so that markers can be easily traced

  51. Imightberiding

    Thanks for another interesting doc. I will say however it did come across as a somewhat self indulgent exercise of the good Dr.'s. Overall I enjoyed the journey & although I am no geneticist, I couldn't help but think he left out at least in my opinion, some much more obvious & key groups of indigenous peoples along the migratory path of humanity (the Africa to Australia route). Also would have enjoyed a little more detail with regards to European settlement. Perhaps some of what I felt was missing is so obvious, he didn't feel it necessary to include in his presentation. At any rate, thanks again for another one.

  52. Ez

    @ Some Guy

    I like the guy narrating, maybe I am weird. He seems genuine and willing to get down in the dirt to me. More than him though, I love the click like language of the tribe featured. It sounds so cool to me coming off the tongue. I bet those bow and arrows they are using could do some real damage at close range, think of the risk of biological infections for having a sharpened bone stuck in your leg or torso. I always wonder though why they never developed the bows the Native American Indian used, much better range and accuracy. Must be a resource issue, can anyone clear that up for me?

  53. Some Guy

    I watched this in High school I think. Definitely has good information but that guy seriously bugs me. I kind of wish James Earl Jones or Christopher Lee hosted this.

  54. esmuziq

    damn , nice info