The Human Odyssey: Journey’s End

Niobe Thompson

Niobe Thompson.

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K. Stephen

(TORONTO, ON) – This is the last instalment of the CBC’s The Human Odyssey, presented on the venerable Nature of Things. Host and archaeologist, Niobe Thompson, tries to explain the survival of Homo Sapiens facing near extinction in Africa and managing to colonize the earth, against seemingly impossible odds.

If you take anything away from this three-part series, it is testament to the adaptability of Homo Sapiens as a species to survive and prosper. It rather celebrates our commonality which, perhaps is good medicine, in our divisive world, that fails to pause and recognize this truth.

Thompson scores big on delivering a consistent theme in each of the three parts. We are a species that has managed to adapt and survive.

This episode also has a cautionary note. That is, species can come to an end and self destruct, albeit mostly through natural events. This is an excellent counterbalance to Thompson’s ebullience about adaptability and survivability.

There is no guarantee, as a species, we will survive. Sobering thoughts.

This last episode chronicles the colonization of the South Pacific by the Polynesians who, through research involving chicken bones and human skulls, are proven to have reached Chile with remarkable sailing skills and natural navigation. Thompson laments the colonization of the South Pacific as a tremendously underrated accomplishment; one of the greatest migration of all times.

Equally amazing is the migration from Siberia to North America.

There is some spectacular cinematography of cliff egg-gathering in Siberia. In fact, finally the dramatic music suits the spectacular cinematography. Perhaps the superlative is warranted, given the misconception many of us have. That being that early human beings were primitive.

This is wrong as we are the only walking ape left. We were clever enough to adapt, manage, and conquer change.

Don’t get too caught up in the scientific postulations of the series. If you walk away with an admiration of humanity, I’ll say the series has been a success.

Too bad there are so many little vicious episodes in our history that destroy this commonality.

(The Human Odyssey, Part III Journey’s End, CBC’s Nature of Things, 26 February 2015 at 8:00 pm).

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."Email Robert Stephen
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