The Great Human Odyssey

Take a journey around the world and back in time with anthropologist Dr. Niobe Thompson, and discover the miracle of our species.

The three-part documentary series The Great Human Odyssey explores the unlikely survival and the miraculous emergence of Homo sapiens as the world’s only global species. Ancient climate research has revealed that we evolved during the most volatile era since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Just like the many other kinds of human who once shared our world, we should have died away. Instead, our species survived to populate every corner of the planet, against all the odds.

Over 18 months of filming, Niobe followed in the footsteps of our ancestors across locations on five continents, working with 22 Canadian, American and South African cinematographers, including aerials, underwater, and ultra-slow motion specialists. Equipped with the next generation of ultraHD 4K cameras, film crews worked in some of the most hostile environments on Earth, including Arctic Siberia, remote South Pacific islands, tropical rainforests and African deserts.

  • 2015
  • 9-12
  • 3 Titles

Included in this collection

The Nature of Things The Great Human Odyssey, Episode 1: Rise of a Species

Discover how scientists are unlocking the mystery of our remarkable resilience: the “evolution of adaptability” in homo sapiens. Anthropologist and host Niobe Thompson confronts new climate research that shows our ancestors emerged in Africa just as global conditions went haywire, with volatility unprecedented since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Learn how our species faced near extinction, and then found a ...
  • 2015
  • 00:44:26
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 04/29/2015

Teacher Guide(s)

  • How to Use Video Effectively in the Classroom [.pdf]

The Nature of Things The Great Human Odyssey, Episode 2: The Adaptable Ape

We take our journey out of Africa for granted, but scientists have long wondered how early humans found a way through the greatest desert on Earth. In the second episode of his Great Human Odyssey series, anthropologist Niobe Thompson brings us inside new discoveries that finally explain this incredible achievement and prove our ancestors did it twice as early as scientists thought ...
  • 2015
  • 00:44:26
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 04/30/2015

Teacher Guide(s)

  • How to Use Video Effectively in the Classroom [.pdf]

The Nature of Things The Great Human Odyssey, Episode 3: Journey's End

The Great Human Odyssey series ends with a spectacular journey at sea, as anthropologist and host Niobe Thompson confronts one of the enduring mysteries of prehistory: how did our Stone Age ancestors settle lands across the ocean? Learn how new discoveries in the properties of early sailing vessels, experimental anthropology, and ancient DNA research are changing our understanding of the earliest ...
  • 2015
  • 00:44:27
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 04/30/2015

Teacher Guide(s)

  • How to Use Video Effectively in the Classroom [.pdf]