I, Caveman

I recently came across this programme (two 45 minute episodes), part of the Discovery channels "Curiosity" thread. Aside from the use of "caveman" in the title, a rather inexact and infantile term, and a rather awful quiz on the website the programmes is well worth a look.

Thankfully, the producers avoided the usual trap of picking cast members based upon their inability to get along and the group work well together. Only one member of the tribe looked completely out of place, whilst including a vegetarian in the tribe is an overly PC decision. There were some strong male and female members of the cast which helped the overall makeup of the programme - the lack of younger and older members in a tribe is something of a weakness though, especially as different age groups bring different skills, advantages and experiences to bear.

Why Watch?
The programme does feature some great footage of an Atlatl 'Elk' (deer for us Europeans) hunt. The emotions connected to the hunt are very moving. The participants use of thrusting spears and rocks for hunting also showed a less often discussed angle of primitive hunting. The film also contained the building of a charcoal and grass water filter and fishing for trout by hand. All in all there was a lot of good footage of primitive huting and living skills. There's also an appearance of Atlatl Bob, something of a legend in primitive circles and quite an entertaining character.

Stomachs Rule!
Sadly, the constant harping about being hungry is a bit of a negative. I know the quest for food was central to the programme and makes for better TV than setting trap lines and going after frogs and rats. The trouble is that this is a very boom and bust strategy and requires big energy expenditure. As I said, it makes dramatic TV but poor survival information.

If Only...
The one thing I wish with these programmes is that they'd take people who genuinely wanted to be there; not just on TV. I'd love the opportunity to go and live stone age style in parkland and go primitive hunting!


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