From DocuWiki

Jump to: navigation, search


[edit] General Information

Nature Documentary hosted by John Lynch and published by BBC in 2001 - English narration

[edit] Cover

Image: Congo-Cover.jpg

[edit] Information

Congo was once the "white man's grave", Joseph Conrad's "heart of darkness", a "wild country that speaks of nightmare and violent death". Traders kept to the coast (the rainforest was too impenetrable, and rumoured to be full of deadly diseases and cannibalistic natives) and the names given to its shoreline - Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, Slave Coast - tell their own bloody history.

Today Congo is still a place of bloodshed, and the rainforest is still so dense that even the fish find difficulty negotiating a passage through it. Much of it remains an endless tangle of jungle littered with venomous snakes, marauding spiders and deadly insects. But it also hides more elephants than all the savannahs of East Africa, two species of chimpanzee, tens of thousands of lowland gorillas, and a whole assortment of animals barely known to science, even a lost dinosaur. At its heart lies the world's second largest river system - the Congo River, once thought to be a sister river to the Amazon and described by locals as "the river that swallows all rivers".

This pioneering series, filmed over three years, travels deep into the most remote corners of the Congo to discover a land of startling revelations. It contains dramatic landscapes never dreamed of, and huge numbers of wild animals, many of them rarely seen before. Fear of the Congo has probably protected it, leaving vast wilderness areas few people have ever seen. This part of Africa is not only physically demanding, but is also a war zone. The film crew had to dodge civil wars as well as dangerous animals.

Congo goes in search of legendary jungle animals, including a mysterious 'lost dinosaur', the source of many local myths. The final film is a detective story investigating human origins: this is the only place on Earth where our closest relatives - gorillas, chimps and pygmy chimps - live together. Producer Brian Leith explains, "Deep in these forests lie clues to the past which are shaking current beliefs about human prehistory. It seems that huge numbers of people lived here thousands of years ago. Where did they come from and where did they go?

"More startling yet is fresh evidence that our earliest relatives - the first upright hominids - may even have evolved here several million years ago. We've always known that this place is home to our closest relatives - gorillas, chimps and pygmy chimps, or bonobos. Now it seems the Congo may once have been home to our own ancestors."

[edit] The River That Swallows All Rivers

The very name Congo conjures up visions of horror and mystery - the white man's grave, the heart of darkness.

This first film tells the remarkable story of the Congo River and its remarkable journey through the dark heart of Africa. After visiting the source (a tiny spring guarded by two frogs) in northern Zambia and the mountains whose snows feed the stream, the program moves on to the Bangweulu swamps. Bangweulu means 'where the water meets the sky' and it's easy to see why. In an area 160 kms wide and 240 kms long, the highest point is only two metres above sea level. These swamps are home to what must be the most primitive fish in the world, the lungfish, and its predator the shoebill, which is the most bizarre bird in Africa and almost as tall as a human. This is where explorer David Livingstone died in 1873, while searching for the Nile.

Downstream, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the river is known as the Lualaba. The waters here are wide and fed by an outflow from Lake Tanganyika.
Lake Tanganyika is so deep that it holds one sixth of all the fresh water in the world. Jurassic fishes have evolved here in isolation for millions of years. At the turn of the last century, Colonel Gore Browne built a house near here. Hastily deserted when his daughter and son-in-law were murdered, it is a haunting reminder of European failure to tame this wild land.

In the vast lowland belly of the Congo there are more fish in the flooded forest than there are in the rivers. One of them, Clarius, actually 'walks' the forest floor in search of rivers and streams.

Finding wild animals in these forests is notoriously difficult. But secret places called bais are being discovered, huge clearings where the forest mammals come in search of light, food and even company. In these bais remarkable new studies are revealing the secret lives of gorillas and elephants.

The Congo River is now so wide, it's impossible for animals to bridge the gap. The North side of the Congo is home to chimpanzees, highly intelligent but highly aggressive animals. Sixteen kms of water away, on the South side of the Congo, live the pygmy chimps (or bonobos), also highly intelligent but much gentler than their neighbours. They are vegetarian and highly sexual creatures, indulging in frequent and varied play with others in the group.

The Congo River flows into the Atlantic, a fabulous coast where undisturbed forests stretch down to the sea. Wild animals roam the beaches, and elephants stroll in search of their favourite borassus palm fruit, which fall here each spring. The Congo may once have been known as the 'heart of darkness' - today it looks more like a glowing, beautiful, wilderness.

[edit] Spirits of the Forest

The BaAka pygmies of the Congo have lived in the area for many thousands of years and are the supreme naturalists and hunters of the rainforest. They have a name, and a use, for every species of plant and animal in the forest.

They talk of a huge creature they call Mokele Mbembe, which lives in the swampy forests of the Ndoki, one of Africa's last great wildernesses. They say it is large and aggressive, with a single huge horn, and it sleeps on a bed made of elephants' tusks. It sounds like a myth, but with all their knowledge, why would they invent a mythical beast?

Some scientists take the BaAka story very seriously indeed. Could Mokele Mbembe be a long-lost dinosaur? Every year scientific expeditions struggle through the dense jungles and vast swamps of the Ndoki in search of a plesiosaur-like creature. If there's anywhere on earth a dinosaur might have survived for millions of years undetected, it could be in this Jurassic landscape.

The BaAka pygmies lead the Congo film crew on an intrepid journey of exploration deep into the heart of darkness, to the very centre of the Congo rainforest, in search of Mokele Mbembe. Encountering many secretive animals on the journey, the crew discovers remarkable clearings in the forest where many animals come in search of light, novel foods and social contact. These bais are a favourite hangout for the western lowland gorilla, one of Africa's most elusive and unknown animals.

[edit] Footprints in the Forest

Congo has the largest concentration of primates in the world, and the forests are home to all three closest living relatives of humans: chimps, bonobos (or pygmy chimps) and gorillas.

The last of the Congo trilogy reveals an astonishing array of fresh insights, which look set to re-write the history of the Congo - and possibly even the history of human origins. Looking at human's closest relatives, and in particular that most secretive of forest primates, the lowland gorilla, for the first time naturalists have been able to study these magical animals in their natural home, and surprising revelations are emerging. Comparing all three, it may be possible to say which gave rise to the human species, and whether it could it have happened in the Congo.

A lost world for over a century, the Congo remains a potent symbol of darkness and wilderness. This is the last place in Africa to be explored and tamed. On the edges of the remote Ndoki National Park scientists recently discovered chimpanzees, which have obviously never before encountered a human being. Rather than fleeing from dangerous humans, these 'innocent' chimps approach and even threaten to attack human intruders in their forest home. It appears they don't know enough to fear humans. This may be unique in all of Africa.

Yet it is deeply misleading. The deeper humans venture into these endless forests, the more evidence is found that humans may actually have been around far back in the Congo's history.

Scientists are now finding the remains of past civilisations scattered across the entire basin. Two-thousand-year-old palm nuts betray the presence of extensive agriculture in the midst of 'virgin' forest. On the sandbars of the Sangha
River countless shards of ceramic pots hint at dozens of past human cultures which have come and gone over distant time. In the very heart of the Congo, the weirdly circular Lac Telle, astonishing crop marks have now been discovered which tell of a time when there were no forests here at all, just a vast grassland covered with human settlement.

[edit] On Location

The Making-of the Congo Series

[edit] Screenshots

Image: Congo-Screen0.jpg

[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: DivX511
  • Video Bitrate: 1644kb/s
  • Video Resolution: 528x288
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Audio Codec: AC3
  • Audio BitRate: 384kb/s. 48khz
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • RunTime Per Part: 50 mins
  • Number Of Parts: 4
  • Part Size: 699MB
  • Ripped by Radar

[edit] Links

[edit] Release Post

[edit] Related Documentaries

[edit] ed2k Links

Added by JumpinS
Personal tools