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History Channel: Clash of the Cavemen

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

It was an epic battle of brains versus brawn that determined the course of human history. In this scenario, based on scientific theories, witness our prehistoric ancestors as they clash with a completely different species of humans, the Neanderthals, some 30,000 years ago in Ice Age Europe.

In CLASH OF THE CAVEMEN, cinematic re-creations and state-of-the-art CGI bring to life the Neanderthals--stocky, powerful and able to tolerate intense pain--and their foes, the Cro-Magnons--weaker and more fragile but with a superior brain capable of complex thought. This cinema-quality documentary from HISTORY uses the latest science to re-create the surroundings and dangers they endured: massive four-legged predators, punishing temperatures, and the unrelenting threat of starvation.

Cutting-edge archaeological and anthropological research, including data from the ongoing Neanderthal genome mapping project at Germany s Max Planck Institute, lends up-to-the- minute realism and accuracy to this cataclysmic fight to the finish.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Clash of Cavemen
  • Directors: not available
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016OKR2U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,029 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Houston Mark William on September 30, 2008
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Clash of the Caveman was a B Grade Documentary, with a credible narrative that gives a simple case story of 65kya to 30kya when Neanderthals engaged with the new kids on the block, Homo sapiens. The producers could have done a better job with Neanderthal morphology, especially leg length, and facial features, especially the females (I am very sure both Neanderthal and Homo sapiens females would have been much hairier than the silk skin beauties presented). Overall I think the description of tool technology was well done, but no unique features of modern art was introduced, especially the possibility of the Neanderthal flute. Also, language was without doubt the defining skill which produced us (modern humans), but the subject is just skimmed over with little explanation of the relationship between the basal ganglia and hand use in technology construct, art, or even sign language. Also, use of fire is only touched on, and this would have been an interesting discussion, as there is no proof that Neanderthals actually cooked food. Overall the documentary is pleasant, but I am still waiting for a producer that can give a complete narrative with Neanderthals properly introduced as possibly the most successful hominids of all time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Shepherd on November 8, 2009
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As with most "docunentaries" on the prehistoric world, this one is more than a little speculative.
But keeping that in mind, I do recomend it. It is interesting, entertaining, and filled with thought provoking (if unproven) ideas.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ron Braithwaite on July 21, 2010
I am fascinated by Neanderthal science but am appalled by much Neanderthal speculation. I thought this program was better than most in this regard but still 'proved'[by showing it happen] that there was Cro-Magnon-Neanderthal hybridization. There may have been and, although there is some suggestive DNA evidence, nothing yet approaches absolute proof.

The problem is that Modern man and Neanderthals are closely related, indeed, probably sharing a common ancestor less than 800,000 years ago. We have all been treated to the less-than-fascinating information that human and chimp DNA is an approximately 98.5% match--and--our genetic lineage separated from chimp lineage at least 7 million years ago. Therefore, simple extrapolation would strongly suggest that our genetic 'identity' with Neanderthals must have been in the high 99%, WITHOUT [or before, depending on your preference] hybridization of 'pure' Neanderthals with 'pure' modern humans. To separate the tiny amount of DNA that may have been added SINCE [hybridization] our last common ancestor is far more ticklish than the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack.

It may have occurred but, at the present time, it is still speculative. What isn't speculative is that we shared the vast majority of our genes with Neanderthal but were quite different anatomically and probably culturally. Neanderthal technology, as indicated by stone tools and weapons, barely changed in 250,000 years. It almost makes us wonder whether stone chipping could have been genetic rather than learned behavior. Allmost certainly, however, it was 'learned' because we, as Neanderthal's closest ancestors, aren't driven to chip stones.

I also take issue with dressing up modern people to 'look' like Neanderthals.
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CLASH OF THE CAVEMEN (a/k/a HISTORY CHANNEL: CLASH OF THE CAVEMEN, 2008, 110 minutes, for The History Channel) is a truly fascinating and educational documentary following a band of Neanderthals as they play a sort of cat-and-mouse game with a nearby Cro-Magnon tribe. Most of this is actors portraying it all, cinema-style, which I usually can't stand. In this case it is well done and quite accurate--as much as we can be accurate with this roughly 90,000-year-old scenario. And just about the best you can expect from the likes of The History Channel.

The documentary tries to lay out for us the way scientists think the displacement and disappearance of Neanderthals may have occurred. I must criticize this for some blatant stupidity: the same scientists who argued that neither of the human species had language also argue that they had religion and rituals. Everyone coming out of Anthropology 101 knows you can't have religion or ritual without language. And even monkeys talk to each other, though not the way humans do. This documentary seems terribly conflicted about the mental levels of our super-ancient ancestors.

Also, in the style of National Geographic's Birth of Civilization there is a lot of sheer speculation embodied in mocked-up situations, such as Neanderthals hiding in a cave from the Cro-Magnon hunters and the stories of the fates of various Neanderthals of this little wandering tribe. That sort of acting and silly speculation always angers me. And as one reviewer famously said, " 'But my kids enjoyed it' just doesn't wash." Exactly: my kids enjoyed it, indeed. Some recommendation!
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"Clash of the Cavemen" is a History Channel documentary about the Neanderthals, with particular emphasis on their mysterious disappearance. The documentary makes a good job summarizing the relevant facts, as they looked like at the time the documentary was produced. Today, a breakthrough in DNA research suggests that the Neanderthals interbred with modern humans, and that Europeans in particular have some Neanderthal genes. This was unknown when "Clash of the Cavemen" was aired.

Unfortunately but inevitably, the hard facts have been combined with sensationalist speculations. Thus, the Cro Magnon are supposed to have ambushed and killed Neanderthals, abducted their women and raped them! Evidence? None. This is a fantasy projection based on the European conquest of America (not to mention silly patriarchal fantasies about cavemen gender relations). One of the scientists admits that he is projecting modern history onto the Stone Age: since we are violent and kill each other, surely the Cro Magnon can't have been much different when encountering the Neanderthals? It's this kind of thinking that makes archaeologists and historians deny the existence of peaceful, egalitarian and matrifocal societies, even when the evidence stares them in the face.

"Clash of the Cavemen" points out that Neanderthals and Homo sapiens co-existed for 5,000 years. No direct evidence for Sapiens-on-Neanderthal violence exists. Conversely, there is some tantalizing evidence that the Neanderthals might have mimicked the symbolic culture and tools of the Cro Magnon, which could suggest peaceful contact and trade. So what's all this stuff about genocide?

The truth is that nobody really knows why our evolutionary cousins gradually disappeared from Old Europe.
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