"The Neanderthal Code"

1 minute read

This Sunday evening, at 9:00 EDT/ 8:00 CDT, the National Geographic Channel will show “The Neanderthal Code” in the US. I appear in this film, and you can see some clips already at the documentary’s website.

The film focuses on the current genomic DNA recovery from Neandertals; many of the major players in the DNA sequencing effort appear. My research is covered, as well as other contemporary approaches to Neandertal biology and behavior. It’s not complete, but it’s a good documentary and at 2 hours, it’s double the length of most.

Of course, the film shows a lot of people running around in Neandertal makeup, which I usually don’t like – but this time, they dress one in modern clothes and put him on the subway to see what happens. Was Carleton Coon right? Will people notice something odd? Tune in and see!



UPDATE (2008/09/20): Zach Zorich of Archaeology gives it a positive review:

This program covers a vast amount of science, both old and new, and serves as a thorough and entertaining summary of the latest interpretations and data on our species's closest fossilized relatives. The show addresses several important questions: Did Neanderthal's make art? Were they tougher than professional bull-riders? Did they have religion? If so, were they such a bunch of Puritans that they wouldn't mate with the Homo sapiens who invaded their territory in Europe roughly 40,000 years ago?

Puritans. Hmm….that gives me an idea for a picture…

Meanwhile, several e-mailers have noticed this:

Now, I'm sure it was unintentional, but this cracked me up: as the narrator announces "Today, its obvious who dominates the planet" and pauses, the video cues to a shot of John standing in the middle of Times Square(?), looking straight into the camera!

Ahhh, yes. We’ve been laughing about that one for a few weeks!

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