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What If Charles Darwin wrote Planet of the Apes?

Updated on August 7, 2011

Charles Darwin as an ape

Charles Darwin as advisor to the Planet of the Apes
Charles Darwin as advisor to the Planet of the Apes | Source

Opposable thumbs-up!

Understanding Charles Darwin's human evolution is more than observing nature while twiddling your opposable thumbs. We homo erectus are naturally curious beasts, wondering about who we are and where we came from while looking down the evolutionary tree at every other living thing. Thus, it is a remarkable and revolutionary leap of imagination to postulate on the low-hanging fruit of our family tree growing both hairy and hairless apes on adjacent branches.

The Jane Goodall of his Day

We own this evolutionary tree of man and apes to the theory of Evolution first proposed by Charles Darwin. He was the Jane Goodall of his day, an annoyingly observant fellow who traveled around the world observing the natural selection of most everything he saw. From his keen eye, we have progresses in homo terms from homo erectus (no more knuckles dragging on the ground) to homo habilis (the first Home Depot ape lusting for tools) to homo sapiens (the current ape of less hair, bi-pedal transport and enlarged brains which we use rarely but keep in reserve as plots for sci-fi social satire, as in the recent Limitless where a writer takes drugs to use all of his brain).

Darwin as Hollywood Screenwriter

He was a writer, and if he had a real brain in his head he would have seen the evolution of the book to the silver screen and pitched the high-concept plot of The Planet of the Apes! No, instead he wrote a dry, academic book with the snappy title, "On the Origin of Species". Yawn. Even when shortened to "The Origin of Species", it wasn't ready for Hollywood.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Trailer

From Beagle to Boffo Box Office

Poor Charles Darwin had a major hit on his hands but he was too egghead to see it. Man and ape, missing link, role reversal, what if apes evolved from man? Work with me here, Chuck! As his father once remarked to the young Charles Darwin, "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat-catching." And screenwriting, but of course Edison wouldn't invent the motion pictures for a while. However, if Hollywood existed in the time of the development of natural selection and the theory of evolution, one wonders what career path lay ahead of poor, vomiting Charles Darwin as he disembarked from the Beagle after his long voyage of discovery.

Our Natural Evolution to Digital Media

In some ways, the evolution of our species and our ability to adapt to environmental changes is directly related to the growth of media in the last one hundred years. Hollywood has embraced the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne and Charles Darwin, adapting scientific ideas into compelling stories for the silver screen. It is our natural evolution from homo erectus to homo digitalis, using our opposable thumbs to remote control our virtual world, just as Charles Darwin predicted.

Are we evolving into apes?

Which statement about homo sapiens is not true?

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