"Discovering Ardi"

UPDATE (2009-10-22): I wrote this post before the film premiered, but it's gotten a lot of Google traffic. My notes on watching the film might be more interesting. I haven't yet gotten to see the whole thing, but together with some correspondents, I think I've put together some useful notes.

ORIGINAL POST (2009-10-01):

OK, so if you thought Ardipithecus was going to be different from the Darwinius media fiasco... this one is for you:

A DISCOVERY CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE, WORLD PREMIERE SPECIAL BRINGS YOU THE STORY OF THE LATEST NEWS ABOUT HUMAN EVOLUTION
DISCOVERING ARDI airs Sunday, October 11 at 9 PM (ET/PT)
Following publication in the journal Science on the discovery and study of a 4.4 million-year-old female partial skeleton nicknamed "Ardi," Discovery Channel will present a world premiere special, DISCOVERING ARDI, Sunday October 11 at 9 PM (ET/PT) documenting the sustained, intensive investigation leading up to this landmark publication of the Ardipithecus ramidus fossils.
...

"The novel anatomy that we describe in these papers fundamentally alters our understanding of human origins and early evolution," said project anatomist and evolutionary biologist, Professor C. Owen Lovejoy, Kent State University.

Project co-director and paleontologist Professor Tim White of the Human Evolution Research Center at the University of California Berkeley adds, "Ardipithecus is not a chimp. It's not a human. It's what we used to be."

Oh, my. Well it stands to reason that something this coordinated wasn't just science. I wonder whether anyone will ask the questions about the timing of Science's publication and the documentary release only a week later.

I have to tell you, I've been wondering about all the bogus-looking Darwin paraphrases these guys have been throwing out -- you know, the ones about how Darwin taught us about how chimpanzees changed from their common ancestors, and how fossil humans would tell us about the apes. I can't find anything like that in any of Darwin's publications -- please e-mail if it's there and I'm missing it.

But now I see where they're coming from. It's the tagline from the Discovery show!

DISCOVERING ARDI
DARWIN COULD ONLY DREAM OF FINDING THIS

Really? I'm soooooo tempted to make that the blog's tagline right now.... OOOH OOOH, better yet --

DARWIN COULD ONLY DREAM OF BEING THIS HANDSOME