View of Olduvai Gorge, 2007

View of Olduvai Gorge, 2007

Hollywood has done a poor job at bringing us moving pictures of the beginnings of the human journey many millions of years ago. It has been left to the realm of television documentaries to do this job or to the ape fantasy films, designed to make us wonder in the darkest parts of our brains if we are indeed related to the likes of King Kong. The only major motion picture to take up the challenge with any seriousness in the mid 20th century was 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke had studied the recent literature from paleoanthropologists in Africa and created an overture to their film that represented  the dawn of the thinking animal. These more advanced hominids relate to the findings at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and date to around two million years ago. The migrations of these curious creatures would not be seen on the Hollywood screen again until the cave movies picked up their wanderings at about 30,000 years ago – see Cave Countries.

Below is A clip from 2001 where the innovative apes have just learned to use pieces of bone as tools and weapons (violence alert). More on the scheme of 2001: A Space Odyssey will be found in Part II of MovieJourneys.

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