Matt Jones


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Watching Channel 4's Neanderthal makes you realise that we have changed very little over the last 35,000 years. Everything about us; our emotions, the way we think, the structure of our society, even the way we behave in virtual communities, has the imprint of the behaviour of our ancient ancestors. I can well believe that Cro Magnon (our own species) - with their superior intelligence - made their way north and eventually wiped out the savage but otherwise peaceful Neanderthal species. This need for territory, to control the land at the expense of others is still with us and I wonder whether human beings will ever grow up.

The programme - broadcast on Monday night - has similarities with Walking With Dinosaurs in that it is made as if a film crew were there (it also has David Attenborough style narration). However, this programme is more believable because there is stronger evidence to support what they are saying. Walking With Dinosaurs was built purely on speculation and it failed on all levels - I want facts when I watch a documentary. OK, so some of the graphics were pretty awesome, but those prosthetic creatures used for close-ups looked terrible and I thought the narration was overly melodramatic and badly written. Neanderthal on the other hand, is much more absorbing and I recommend it (Monday, Channel 4 (UK), 9pm)