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Spear hunting jaguars ; Kontiki

Identifier: Film Collection no. 37

Scope and Contents

SEGMENT 1: Spear Hunting Jaguars. Charles Collingwood, narrator of the Adventure series, interviews Sasha Siemel, a professional hunter for 35 years who makes his living spear hunting jaguars for cattle ranchers in South America. Siemel, who has lectured at the AMNH, shows films of various forms of wildlife around his home in Mato Grosso, Brazil, and also lets the viewers see his hunting activities: capturing a cub in the jungle and spearing a jaguar. (Jaguars are the largest cats in the New World.) Siemel has killed over 300 jaguars, but only 31 by spear. Siemel demonstrates in the studio the movements of a spear hunter and shows some of his own hand-made spears to the studio while discussing their construction techniques. SEGMENT 2: Kontiki. The second segment of the program presents an in-depth analysis of the controversy over Thor Heyerdahl's theory that migration from Peru to Polynesia was possible, contradicting most theories which stated that modern civilizations had been settled as a result of West to East migrations. Thor Heyerdahl, author of the book and subsequent film, Kon-Tiki, debates the issue with Gordon Frederick Ekholm, AMNH archaeologist, and Robert Cushman Murphy, AMNH ornithologist, at the end of this segment. The opening scenes depict the 4,300-mile journey by five Norwegians and one Swede on a primitive sail-raft from Peru to Polynesia. With only the modern conveniences of a radio and canned food, the crew sailed for 101 days before they saw land, an island in Polynesia. Although the raft was wrecked on a reef in the final hour, the crew made it safely to land, thus proving that Heyerdahl's migration theory might be possible. Ekholm and Murphy are interviewed by Charles Collingwood in New York, while Thor Heyerdahl speaks with CBS correspondent Howard K. Smith in London.


  • 1953


Language of Materials



1 Film Reel (60 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (60 minutes)) : sound, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy

Other Finding Aids

Finding aid: script.


Original format: 16mm kinescope.


Originally aired Aug. 16, 1953 as part of the CBS/AMNH Adventure television series.


Charles Collingwood and Howard K. Smith, hosts; Allen Reisner, director; Perry Wolff, producer; Charles Romine and Ernest Leiser, writers; Leon Rice, editorial supervisor; Jac Venza, production designer; Rosemarie Herman, supervisor of film.

Spear hunting jaguars ; Kontiki, 1953
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420