It’s been a good ten seasons since Ancient Aliens had an original idea, so it goes without saying that we’ve heard much of the material in tonight’s episode before. In this episode, the show is looking to go beyond its typical claim that humans were genetically engineered by aliens to extend the aliens’ plans to animals. We’ve seen elements of this in the past, from the time when Giorgio Tsoukalos alleged that space aliens made a peace treaty with coelacanths to protect them from a dinosaur-killing asteroid to the time that the show claimed that Bigfoot arrived on Earth in a flying saucer. But the real purpose of this episode is to cast doubt on evolutionary theory, a disturbingly common theme that the show has been pushing since its decision to adopt creationist claims and rhetoric.
The show opens with a discussion of eight alleged alien abductions in the 1990s that shared enough similarities that Darrell Simms claims them to be part of a single event. The abductees allegedly visited an alien laboratory or museum where contains held representatives of various species from Earth and beyond. Without bothering to provide any evidence of this, the show uses it as a springboard to suggest that many different alien species have connections to different families of Earth animals, such as reptiles, insects, etc. The narrator then summarizes Darwin’s Origin of Species, and narrator Robert Clothworthy announces that there is “evidence” that evolution cannot explain speciation or variation within a species. We hear that dogs come in too many “crazy” shapes to have evolved naturally (even though they were produced, in historic times, often with documentation, by human-led artificial selection), and we hear that giraffes have no “intermediate” fossils between short and long-necked giraffes and therefore sprang fully formed into being. The narrator concludes that “most” species on Earth “cannot be explained” by natural selection.
Unwilling to have the courage of its creationist sympathies and explain its point in true detail, the show pivots to what it says are the 70 million Egyptian animal mummies in existence, a number it says is equal to the 70 million Egyptian human mummies they say scientists have excavated. I wondered where these numbers came from, and I found it in some popular “mystery” books, but not as the number excavated but the number estimated for the total number of people mummified in all of Egyptian history, of which only a small fraction remain. But no matter: We are quickly on to the question of why ancient cultures around the world held animals in great respect. I’ll give you one guess, considering how closely humans and animals lived together out of necessity before the industrial era.
The second segment starts off with a discussion of the Apis bull and its role in Egyptian creation myths, in one version of which he is supposed to be the creator of humanity, though I am not familiar with this myth. They also claim the Apis bull cult to be Egypt’s oldest, dating back to 3000 BCE, a claim I found in old Biblical encyclopedias but which I have been unable to confirm. I guess that it is related to the fact that a bull was one of the oldest symbols of the pharaohs, on a palette dating back to 3500 to 3100 BCE. This leads to a broader discussion of how many ancient peoples trace their lineages back to an animal ancestor. This they rhyme with myths of flying monkeys and animal-headed gods, and the narrator suggests that either (a) aliens are related to animal species or (b) aliens disguise themselves as animals like giant insects (like the Egyptian scarab-headed god Khepri) in order to appear “friendlier” to human beings. Those would be the same humans they allegedly created and had always been present to, so consistency is again a problem with Ancient Aliens. I guess the aliens must have left for a few thousand years or so, until humanity had forgotten what aliens looked like. Frankly, though, I think I’d be more afraid of a humanlike alien with a giant bug for a face than I would a Grey.
The third segment is ostensibly about the bombardier beetle, an insect that uses a chemical reaction to produce a toxic defensive stream heated to nearly the boiling point of water, but in reality it is an extended argument for intelligent design theory, offering a series of complaints about why evolution by natural selection “doesn’t work.” The show also tells us that the bug’s hydrogen peroxide is “rocket fuel,” which is news to me since I apparently am using “rocket fuel” to clean stains off of my car’s upholstery. (Some rocket fuel includes liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.) Giorgio Tsoukalos says that the beetle must have come to Earth “fully formed” because he is not able to conceive of an evolutionary path by which a bug could develop a toxic secretion without, as another speaker says, “blow[ing] itself up.” Once again, a failure of imagination demands a near-supernatural response, and in the continuing merger of the two extreme ends of fringe history, creationism has seeped into the ancient astronaut theory in weird and unnecessary ways.
The narrator tells us that the aliens invented weird animal powers so humans could “observe” the animals and learn how to develop technologies based on their abilities. This contradicts, of course, earlier episodes from this and past seasons that alleged that humanity gained its inventions and insights from the Akashic Record and projected psychic transmissions from aliens. Why do we need animals that shoot acid out their asses when we have direct reception of blueprints from the alien factories?
The fourth segment discusses the many other hominin species that existed before and alongside anatomically modern humans, with help from paleontologist Peter Ward, a professor at the University of Washington who has chosen to lend his evolutionary theory bona fides to this anti-science travesty. The narrator tells us that aliens might have experimented with many different types of creature before settling on one final type, and from this the show speculates that “hybrid” creatures are alien experiments—a claim that we’ve heard many times before. More interesting to me, though, is the fact that this year, when showing medieval Persian art depicting Muhammad, the show blurs out the Islamic Prophet’s face for the first time I can recall, even though Persian tradition does not refrain from depicting him. The show clearly missed a step here, for they could have related these hominins to the myths of wild men, especially the story of Enkidu from the Epic of Gilgamesh, a wild man who mated with a human woman, just like the other hominin species did with our ancestors. Instead, we go straight to the Watchers and the Nephilim (again) with the Enochian allegation that the sexual sin of creating angel-human hybrids led to the Great Flood. We also hear what strikes me as a fake claim that other world mythologies allege that instead of building an Ark to sail the waters, some Flood heroes built ships to take animals “to the stars.” This strikes me as a distortion of some Native American or Chinese stories that involve events in the sky alongside the Flood, but I can’t place one offhand.
The fifth segment again attacks evolutionary theory by suggesting that the so-called “immortal jellyfish,” which has the ability to return to a polyp state and rejuvenate itself indefinitely, cannot be explained by science. Then the show notes that Anaxagoras invented the panspermia theory of life, but this isn’t entirely true, for he merely suggested that everything in the cosmos contained the “seeds” of all the other things in the cosmos, creating spontaneous generation. This isn’t the same thing, even if he used the term “panspermia” to mean “seeds everywhere.” Then the show freaks out about Chinese genetic engineering, which doesn’t have anything to do with aliens but is of a piece with creationism in that appeals to faith and fear are the bread and butter of cable channels with older-skewing audiences. The contrast between the New Age associations of the classic ancient astronaut theory and the quasi-creationist and increasingly conservative version offered in latter-day Ancient Aliens is fascinating. I wonder if they had it to do all over again if they would even have aliens at all.
The sixth segment describes how human beings might use directed panspermia to terraform a distant planet by seeding it with programmed DNA that would develop into plants and animals. The show tells us that aliens probably did that to us. Tsoukalos tells us that this must be true because “Darwinian evolution” fails on account of the lack of “transitional fossils,” this despite his complete unwillingness to investigate the fossil record to see fossil remains in sequence. William Henry and the narrator imply that our DNA might be programming us to develop into some kind of future form with animal traits. In the end, the whole hour was less about aliens than it was an attack on evolution, a self-defeating argument unless one is prepared to explain where the aliens came from. But if your goal is spiritual rather than scientific, then the inconsistency vanishes because the supernatural worldview needs no justification.
7/28/2017 10:13:04 pm
I dated an extraterrestrial animal once. Let me tell you! HOT STUFF! I won’t go into any more than that, because you’re ancient astronaut theorists, so I’m not going to tell you what we did. Should I tell you? You’re AA theorists, but you know life. You know life!
7/31/2017 10:39:46 am
7/28/2017 10:28:03 pm
The AA pundits may have a point. I, too, cannot conceive of an evolutionary path by which a human could develop into one of these simpletons.
7/29/2017 11:38:11 am
Reminds me of that scene from Inherit the Wind where the guy on the street explains how chimpanzees devolved from humans.
7/29/2017 11:57:11 am
They call me "Bright Eyes".
7/30/2017 07:28:54 am
That being the case, the aliens don't seem to take much pride in their work.
8/13/2018 11:38:33 am
If you tried to make a better monkey and ended up with human beings you'd probably be kind of disappointed too.
7/28/2017 11:35:47 pm
This episode infuriated me. Like every other topic these assholes corrupt, they have fundamentally misunderstood what evolution is. It is NOT a linear progression. I... I just cannot.... I am so angry right now.
7/29/2017 01:04:16 am
Yeahhh, Jason didn't science this as well as he might have if he'd had a harsher more explosive-rich upbringing. Who doesn't know about hydrogen peroxide being used as a propellant in torpedos?
7/29/2017 06:20:02 am
It's an ingredient in some jet fuels, but it is not itself jet fuel. Jet fuel requires fuel of some kind, and so far as I know the beetle doesn't emit petroleum.
7/29/2017 11:46:05 am
Dammit Jason, I am trying to hep you here, but you are not sciencing.
7/29/2017 11:55:51 am
Thank you, I see now. But it's still misleading to call hydrogen peroxide "rocket fuel" since it won't run a rocket on its own, without a catalyst, and it's sold in bottles at every drugstore in America.
7/29/2017 12:15:47 pm
In that sense it's wrong to call any rocket fuel rocket fuel. Did you never make an explosive out of iodine and ammonia? No oxygen involved. If I remember correctly, it's been a long time.
7/29/2017 02:52:47 pm
Right--but you wouldn't expect Ancient Aliens to say aliens brought apples to Earth because they are LITERAL CYANIDE PILLS. That's misleading.
7/29/2017 03:18:28 pm
But, hydrogen peroxide is LITERALLY rocket fuel. Instead of using Giorgio's ignorance as a justification, why not go back and correct the article, treating the whole thing as a typo? And I brought up apple seeds because yes, in the real world, pigs have died from eating them. Science. Good lord, normal human metabolism produces alcohols, even in teetotalers. Don't fetishize the substance.
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
7/29/2017 11:52:27 pm
In this case I have to agree with Americanegro. The hydrogen peroxide you get at the drugstore is really a bottle of water with hydrogen peroxide in it (most commonly just a three percent solution). Pure hydrogen peroxide is a different animal. A vivid remark by Robert Zubrin comes to my mind here: "…introducing a tiny speck of the wrong kind of dirt can cause an entire 100-tonne tank of hydrogen peroxide to explode."
7/30/2017 03:37:31 am
Yikes !,,,,,,,that would be a blonde moment !
7/30/2017 10:25:20 am
We don't 'get' uranium from bismuth. Both are basic elements. The most prevalent uranium ore is carnotite, from which uranium oxide is extracted. Other impurities and trace elements such as bismuth and thorium must be removed mostly by acid leach. Uranium oxide, also known as 'yellow cake' . The most common other ore found with carnotite is vanadium ore, from which we extract vanadium oxide or 'red cake'.
7/30/2017 10:31:41 am
Yellow Cake? Don't DROP THAT -- -- -- -- !!!
7/30/2017 01:27:15 pm
7/30/2017 06:16:14 pm
Bismuth is the heaviest element which is stable (i.e. not radioactive). It is a favorite among UFO believers as an alloying ingredient for flying saucer skins because it allegedly helps anti-gravity drives. Bob Lazar claims the next higher period (period 7, series 15 of the periodic table) is the anti-gravity fuel for the retrieved 'sport model' flying saucer kept in area 51.
7/30/2017 06:21:23 pm
That would be element 115, Moscovium, first synthesized in 2003.
7/30/2017 10:10:32 pm
Bismuth is not stable, it is in fact radioactive.
8/7/2017 06:52:29 pm
Anyone know if it is age that is starting to catch up with Jason? In the past he would have never lost such an obvious argument, because he would have had the forethought to not mention something so asinine as hydrogen peroxide not being rocket fuel.
7/28/2017 11:52:31 pm
Ironic that a group of un-evolved primates are attempting to discuss evolution.
7/29/2017 05:08:37 am
While I don't remember the Prophet's face blurred, some Islamic miniatures show the face of the Prophet and others veiled, for religious reasons. I think this stems from a prohibition of the Prophet that Allah would ask the artist to "give live to the image" if the artists were drawing a picture of a person.
7/29/2017 06:22:45 am
The piece of art shown on the show had a white circle over Muhammad's face which appeared superimposed because it didn't move in sync with the rest of the picture as they zoomed in on it, but rather jiggled around like the computer was trying to keep it centered on the face. But that was just my impression late at night. For all I know it was just an artifact of the computer program used for zooming and panning, which might have distorted the edges of the picture.
7/29/2017 09:04:59 am
I saw them there as well, Heike.
7/29/2017 09:28:41 am
The Apis Bull cult might be the oldest animal cult during the Dynastic period, as it may date back as far as the First Dynasty. But they're wrong when they claim it is the oldest in all Egypt.
7/29/2017 02:13:07 pm
It should be noted that there is a difference between "worshipping" and "having as a totem".
7/29/2017 07:18:06 pm
Very true. But worship begins somewhere.
7/29/2017 08:24:31 pm
Yeah, and having sex with underage girls (and boys) begins somewhere (Islam, Mormonism) but It should be noted that there is a difference between "worshipping" and "having as a totem".
7/29/2017 08:45:02 pm
You're certainly troubled, I'll give you that. You're constant pathological need to be the smartest guy in the room is an excellent example.
7/29/2017 10:47:20 pm
Wow. That was quite a jump! The proper answer is "I don't have a crawlspace".
7/30/2017 02:54:53 am
So, absent a search warrant, your crawlspace is off - limits and suspiciously bleachy smelly? Asking for a friend.
7/30/2017 10:32:46 am
I've skimmed past all the drivel without reading it. Quite frankly, it bores me.
7/30/2017 03:09:15 pm
When you say you keep books in your crawlspace, is "books" code for "victims"?
7/29/2017 10:58:18 am
Universe was obviously created for evolution. There is no great mystery here and science and creationism can coexist in peace. Advanced physics has already proven that there is no such thing as "time" and all of life exists right now. This is why it is called space-time continuum. Similar to the movie on a CD, which we watch in sequence, but the whole movie exists from beginning to end on a CD.
7/29/2017 11:53:42 am
Why don't you take your never-even-took-calculus understanding of physics and go get a room at the Buggery Motel with Deepak Chopra?
7/29/2017 12:18:38 pm
Take it easy, man. Universe and all of Life from beginning to an end was created at the time of Big Bang. Currently universe is expanding, but there will be a time when it will all again come down to the seed from where it all started. And a new Big Bang will take place and a new "movie" will be created.
7/29/2017 12:39:28 pm
Well, so long as we're in the bathtub with Hawkeye, are you sure the Universe is expanding? Perhaps it's just breathing...
7/29/2017 12:44:48 pm
Sez Johnny Never-Took-A-Math-Or-Physics-Class.
7/29/2017 01:26:19 pm
The best word is probably "creating". Because the purpose of Life is to create and because there is nobody else, Life is creating itself. This is why there is really no separation between different "parts" of Life and all of Life is one being appearing to be many. And this is why Akashic Records and nonlocality exist.
7/29/2017 01:53:14 pm
So your argument is "That's why things that don't exist exist"?
7/29/2017 02:01:53 pm
You mean aliens do not exist? I see no reason for Life to create such a boring movie in which there are zillions of planets but intelligent life exists on only one of these.
7/29/2017 02:10:37 pm
What's it like being really stupid?
7/29/2017 02:05:38 pm
Because it's too good to wait for another Wolter-centric blog post:
7/29/2017 02:50:47 pm
"I'm learning a lot here"
7/29/2017 03:23:05 pm
In a way I'm happy to hear you say that but in the spirit of Penn & Teller Fool Us, I'll say if you don't buy the premise, you don't get the bit.
7/29/2017 03:56:05 pm
I understand the premise. I'm also making the point that no one should be turning to Wolter if they really want to learn something.
7/29/2017 05:11:47 pm
No, you realllllllllllllllllllllllllly don't understand. Doctor WHO?
7/29/2017 07:21:06 pm
"Because it's too good to wait for another Wolter-centric blog post"
7/30/2017 03:13:17 am
Injecting a smidgen of utter randomness- I've now checked the belatedly-published Cavaglia/Salt reports on the excavation of the Great Sphinx, and there's no mention of the circumference of the head. Ditto in what seems to be the only published version of Lespius' "Chronologie" but I suspect that the measurement will be found somewhere in Lepsius' voluminous writings:
7/30/2017 09:46:11 am
7/30/2017 06:42:42 am
A cupful of appleseeds would do you a world of good.
7/30/2017 03:24:05 pm
Regarding segment 2, The Bull.
7/30/2017 10:15:14 pm
"As the prime celestial creator deities of everything in the ancient world, one can accept the that we humans have been created by these deities in Heaven"
7/31/2017 03:11:01 pm
You think the Ancient Aliens guys would actually do science and make sense of their theories and opinions through actual deduction? Surely not.
8/1/2017 01:33:37 am
"Nitroglycerine is used in medication and in small enough doses not to blow up. Same for hydrogen peroxide, small enough doses not to be used in rockets. Barium is small amounts is also used, but in small enough doses not to turn your radioactive permanently. Still it does turn your a little radioactive, That can't be good! "
7/31/2017 03:12:53 pm
Clarification: The show is making up the disconnected stories and based them on myths and stories, which might have been based on fact, but because they are sensationalizing them, and adding their own opinions, they are making up the content of the story.
Scott David Hamilton
7/31/2017 06:08:21 pm
The reference to "Chinese" genetic engineering is probably an attempt to appeal to Alex Jones fans. That's one of his favorite rant subjects.
7/31/2017 06:47:40 pm
So you're attempting to appeal to Alex Jones fans? What's your plan for them?
8/1/2017 04:32:49 am
I am a leftist socialist pig. I hate the Constitution especially free speech.
8/5/2017 01:07:45 am
Ramy Romany is still hot though... he can talk about bulls all day!
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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