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history channel

The History Channel’s Ape to Man is an interesting look into the origins of the human race as told through a timeline investigation and reenactments of some of science’s biggest discoveries in the last 130 years.

The program stretches from Eugene Dubois’ discovery of Homo erectus in the late 19th century through the Piltdown hoax and beyond as the origins of Homo sapiens come into light with the remarkable discovery of "Lucy" the oldest ancestor of humans.

The hoax, referenced above, was formulated in the 1912 when scientists were looking for the “magical link” between apes and man that would bridge the mental and physiological traits of both species into an intermediary specimen. The hoax, revealed decades later caused the findings of later scientists to be dismissed, even though they were correct. What was the perpetration for the hoax? A huge rivalry between Britain and Germany and the British drive to have the “middle man/ape” be British.

As a firm supporter of Darwin’s theories of evolution I found the program to be entertaining and informative especially to see a visual representation of the human evolutionary “tree” branching out into many directions, some ending, and some leading into centuries of evolution. The recreated footage of primitive man and ape also provides a visual representation of what many of the programs interviewees describe.

Ape to Man premieres on The History Channel August 7th at 9pm (ET/PT)/8pm (CT).

The History Channel’s Digging for the Truth, hosted by Josh Bernstein, is an engaging program that explores many of the great mysteries of the past while also providing an intriguing way of following the information until the end of the program, and almost assures the viewer will do some further research.

Told in the same traveling style as the Indiana Jones franchise, in fact the press material is formatted in perfect homage to the adventure series; Digging for the Truth brings together History and procedural intrigue. There’s no secret in today’s television industry that crime solving and procedural shows like CSI: and Law & Order dominate the ratings (more so CBS’s franchise than NBC’s, but that is beside the point). By mixing these two elements together the program provides enough solid facts for any history buff as well as enough questions to keep you coming back after each commercial break.

In the episode provided as a screener, Josh traveled to North Carolina and the location of the Roanoke colony which saw all its inhabitants disappear in the early days of British colonization in the New World. Meeting with several experts ranging from those focused on the supposed integration of the colonists into an Indian tribe to those that believe they simply moved further in-land; the show makes a great effort to explore all the possibilities. As we approach the final part of the episode DNA evidence purports that the colonists may have passed on their lineage, but like a good scientist, Josh never states that a conclusion has been firmly reached. 

The show also provides reenactments of the events in which Josh is investigating which offer a perspective on the events in the correct context.

There is a curious recap after every commercial break where Bernstein goes over everything that has happened in the episode so far which seems somewhat unneeded, but I guess it may be necessary in a world of channel surfers, still, for someone watching the hour long show from beginning to end, the recap is unneeded and while they are never extremely long, it does become slightly tedious as the hour wears on.

All in all, Digging for the Truth is a very interesting series to sit back and watch. With Josh taking on such tasks of searching for The Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant there’s always something highly historical and attention-grabbing to be discovered. For history buffs or those just looking for a good hour of TV, definitely tune in.

Digging for the Truth airs on The History Channel Mondays at 9PM EST, check your local listings for channel and start time.