Follow Two Adventurers as They Embark on an Ancestral Journey Across the World in "The Great Human Race"

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29 January 2016
The Great Human Race
Photo: NG Studios/Griffen Kenemer
"The Great Human Race"
Series Premieres Monday, February 1 at 10/9c
on National Geographic Channel (NGC)

          The human race is resilient. For millions of years, our species has fought for survival. We transformed rocks into tools, sticks into weapons and friction into fire — enabling us to spread across the continents and endure the planet’s harshest terrains. Now, National Geographic Channel (NGC) embarks on that journey across the globe in an epic new series, The Great Human Race, premiering in the U.S. on Monday, Feb. 1, at 10/9c and globally later this year in 171 countries and 44 languages.
          The Great Human Race follows two experts on a mission to retrace a migratory route of our ancestors, from the where man first walked the Earth, all the way to North America. Bill Schindler, a top experimental archaeologist and primitive technologist, and Cat Bigney, an adventurist and survival instructor, trek across the planet, enduring miles of treacherous terrain along one of the paths of the first footsteps of the earliest humans.   

          One part survival show and one part history experiment, each episode of the series follows Schindler and Bigney as they take on a different chapter of evolutionary history — while being limited to only the tools and technologies from that time. They must live and survive as the ancient humans did. The journey takes them to nine different countries, starting from the heart of Africa, through the Middle East, the Siberian tundra and Alaska, and finally into what is now the continental United States. Not only are Schindler and Bigney forced to tough it out in the world’s most inhospitable locations along the way, but as their tools evolve and their skills improve, they grow into the dominant species that Homo sapiens eventually became. 

          The duo face the same threatening environments as our ancient ancestors, including the African savanna, where they come face to face with a lion while hiking through the open grasslands, and the dry deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, where they realize that the threat of dehydration is deadlier than any hungry animal. Together, they must rely on their expertise, instincts and limited resources for survival.    


Meet the Experts:
Dr. Bill Schindler, Archaeologist
          Schindler is an associate professor in anthropology and archaeology at Washington College in Maryland, but he doesn’t teach from a podium. He takes his students into the wild to re-create ancient tools and weapons to better understand how they were made. He has been trained by some of the leading archaeologists, experimental archaeologists and primitive technologists in the world. With years of research, teaching and hands-on experience under his belt, Schindler is a preeminent expert on topics ranging from stone tool production to man’s evolution to ancient foodways.  

Cat Bigney, Survivalist
          Bigney is an experienced outdoor survival expert, anthropologist and head instructor of an outdoor wilderness program, but her training started during her unconventional childhood. She was skinning beaver and spending most of her time in a teepee by the age of 8. After pursuing an education in primitive technology and anthropology, Bigney collaborated with some of the top survival experts in the world. She has extensive remote medical training and a degree in anthropology and earth sciences. Bigney has a passion for primitive cultures, specifically on the impact art and social infrastructure had on man’s evolution. 

Premiere Episodes Include:  
The Great Human Race: Dawn
Premieres Monday, Feb. 1, at 10/9c

          All people can trace their roots to the savanna of East Africa, the home of one of the first members of the human species — Homo habilis. Archaeologist Bill Schindler and survival instructor Cat Bigney face what early man did as they work together to survive in the wild savanna just as these primitive people did 2.6 million years ago — without any weapons or fire.  But they soon find that living like our ancestors is harder than they expected.   

The Great Human Race: Fire
Premieres Monday, Feb. 8, at 10/9c

          Archaeologist Bill Schindler and survival instructor Cat Bigney journey into the jungles of Uganda to follow in the footsteps of one our earliest ancestors — Homo erectus. This is the species that changed our evolution forever, by their ability to control one of nature’s most powerful forces — fire. An unfortunate mistake leaves Schindler and Bigney stranded in the jungle with the sun going down and no protection against predators. 

The Great Human Race: Hunt
Premieres Monday, Feb. 15, at 10/9c

          Archaeologist Bill Schindler and survival instructor Cat Bigney follow in the footsteps of where Homo sapiens first walked the Earth, through the mountains of Ethiopia. This is where humans became the dominant species, by going from hunted to hunter. Schindler and Bigney attempt to hunt using the methods of our earliest ancestors. After little success in the lowland prairie, they move into the higher elevations, where the thin air and thick fog present unforeseen challenges.
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