Walking with Cavemen—Fact or Fiction?

by Mike Matthews on June 17, 2003

Building on the popularity of walking with Dinosaurs (1999) and Walking with Beasts (2001), BBC and Discovery Channel have co-produced yet another evolutionary propaganda piece—Walking with Cavemen.

Building on the popularity of Walking with Dinosaurs (1999) and Walking with Beasts (2001), BBC and Discovery Channel have co-produced yet another evolutionary propaganda piece—Walking with Cavemen. The two-hour program purports to “bring you the most accurate portrayal of our ancient ancestors, spanning 3.5 million years.”

The Caveman program is based on false assumptions, flimsy “facts,” often outdated thinking, and pure speculation.

With the magic of “gee whiz” technology, the producers have recreated an amazing world of human evolution—a world that never existed. The same complaints about the first two series—on dinosaurs and mammoths—hold true here (see “Walking with . . . Untruths!”). The Caveman program is based on false assumptions, flimsy “facts,” often outdated thinking, and pure speculation.

Based on a smattering of fossil evidence—barely enough to fill the back of a pickup, the program tells us—the producers have attempted to reconstruct the language, culture, social structure, psychology, and migrations of what they claim are over a half-dozen human-like species spanning 3.5 million years, fighting to survive in almost every imaginable environment, from rainforests to desert to ice-age tundra.

Silly pseudoscience?

Stung by earlier accusations that they are producing dumbed-down pseudo-science, the producers of Walking with Cavemen took pains to include serious scientists—more than 100—to make this program appear legitimate. While we, the viewers, are subjected to crass advertisements of naked actors and actresses prancing about in hairy costumes, we’re supposed to take seriously the blustering scientists who say that BBC/Discovery have created great science:

“We are making it exciting, we are bringing science alive, and I absolutely disagree with the notion of dumbing down,” says Lord Robert Winston, a leading expert on fertility who presented the Cavemen series in the United Kingdom last March.1

“A matter of considerable conjecture”

Even evolutionists who liked the program inadvertently point to its inherent weakness—it is long on conjecture and short on facts.

A review in Radio Times (UK)2 includes these telling words, “Of course, inferring the psychology of creatures from a small number of fossilised remains is a matter of considerable conjecture and extrapolation.” “Of course, due to the lack of any three-million-year-old video footage, the appearance and behaviour of the cavemen can only be the subject of conjecture.”

Moreover, the reviewer admits:

“Most TV documentaries take on a couple of expert consultants to ensure maximum authenticity.

Walking with Cavemen employed 111. And did they all agree with each other?

“Of course not. But that’s exactly the point, says director and executive producer Richard Dale: ‘The thing about science is that there isn’t just one truth. Everything is interpretation, and in this case, if you were to gather every piece of fossil evidence on which interpretations about early humans are based, it would fit quite easily into one small car.’

“So, how can so little evidence underpin such detailed storytelling?

“‘We are putting up an honest hypothesis based on exhaustive consideration of all the theories,’ says series producer Peter Georgi. ‘We had everyone from archaeologists to zoologists, from geneticists to palaeoclimatologists—experts on the weather millions of years BC. Basically, we scoured the world for the best available knowledge.’”

A commentary in the Sunday Telegraph Review3 was not so nice.

“… shockingly bad, populism at its most crass, a giant primeval soup bubbling with artificial sweeteners.” “By far the worst thing about this, however, is the absence of information.” “You don’t just need a strong stomach to be able to take this, you need a complete lack of any sense of absurdity too.”

Actually, the series offers nothing new towards understanding human origins. It’s just another attempt to popularize a false worldview that evolutionary scientists accept on faith, no matter what the evidence. AiG already distributes many resources (see Q&A: Anthropology) that address the profound flaws in modern theories of human evolution.

Unlike Walking with Cavemen, whose technological glitter can’t mask its hollow core, the unadulterated truths of the Word of God have never changed. The Bible does not need to wow us with pretty pictures to convince us that its history of human origins is true … from Adam’s very first breath!


  1. BBC goes Walking with Cavemen, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/2840599.stm>, 11 March 2003.
  2. Dickson, E. and Sarler, F., How far have we really come?, Radio Times, 22–28 March 2003.
  3. The Sunday Telegraph Review, p.8, 30 March 2003.


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