Science  -   47 Comments
Ratings: 7.37/10 from 27 users.

EvolutionsUsing CGI and fossil evidence, Evolutions demonstrates nature’s survival of the fittest in action.

This three-part series illuminates unique and bizarre evolutionary journeys that have brought forth some of the world’s most impressive animals.

We unearth a 50-million-year-old mystery mammal, discover the missing link between the velociraptor and modern day birds, and find out if a new bear species could be about to evolve before our very eyes.

The Walking Whale. 50 million years ago, a hungry land animal waded in shallow sea water. Four million years later, it lived permanently in the oceans and seas of planet earth. Using cutting edge CGI, this film follows the extraordinary evolution of a land animal into the modern whale.

Bear Necessities. This is the story of how a small dog-like animal descended from the trees 30 million years ago to become the most diverse and dispersed family of wild animals on earth today.

Dino Turkey. Great Transformations focuses on some of evolution's most important changes-among them the development of the four-limbed body plan, the journey of animal life from water to land, the return of mammals to the sea, and the emergence of humans.

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47 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rodrgo

    Anthony Pirtle
    And you know it how? Clearly bull

  2. nessus_the_ninth

    i dont know what you guys watched but the link is now a series of 3 videos totaling 10 minutes and nothing at all is explained

  3. flinktor flinktor

    good doc..i liked it. would have been better if it was a bit detailed otherwise its watchable.

  4. rogereb50

    Thats why its called the missing link, its missing because it isnt there. The cambrian record of fossils appears in a moment in comparison to the age of the earth and not a single fossil has been found prior to that strata of rock. That speaks volumes about the sudden appearance of life and leaves no room for evolution at all. This statement in no way speaks for creationism however I'm sick of having Darwins ideas shoved down the pipe. It has became a religion in and of its self, as though its a fact when everyone should know its just another idea and a bad one at that. Its about time for science to let go of the OLD OLD OLD story of Darwin and come up with something a bit more creative. At least an "Alien Theory" cant be disproved as easily as DARWINISM.

    1. Scott Williams

      It may seem surprising that bacteria can leave fossils at all. However, one particular group of bacteria, the cyanobacteria or "blue-green algae," have left a fossil record that extends far back into the Precambrian - the oldest cyanobacteria-like fossils known are nearly 3.5 billion years old, among the oldest fossils currently known. When sectioned very thinly, fossil stromatolites may be found to contain exquisitely preserved fossil cyanobacteria and algae.

  5. rogereb50

    I'm an engineer by trade and I havent even seen a sidewalk appear on its own much less something as complex as life. Evolution takes more faith to believe in than any of the world religions. I can throw all the parts to a tonka toy in a mud hole and they wont come together in a billion years. Our most brilliant doctors cant even make a single cell from scratch. So complex life just happened along. What a crock of bull.

    1. over the edge

      first off you are confusing evolution with abiogenesis.next what does being an engineer have to do with evolution? if you don't mind google fossils before the Cambrian explosion, you will find that there are fossils prior to the cambrian. with so much information available at our fingertips i always find it odd that people would rather be wrong in public instead of double checking their fact in private first.

    2. Scott Williams

      Well then why don't you present your well thought out argument to the global scientific community and have it peer reviewed and published. Who knows, you could get the Nobel Price in stupid, and a million bucks! Until then, why don't you keep your eyes and ears open and learn something so one day you can join the conversation and people will actually give a damn about what you have to say...

  6. Amy Amie

    The animations in this documentary were just terrible to the point i could not watch it..

  7. koopaatroopa

    This is so over-dramatized i'm not going to watch it. can people make documentaries without the Hanz Zimmer score or the narrator yelling at me??

  8. granny

    The doc in and of itself is interesting. I learned a lot about the whale's evolution.

    That said I have to agree with the remarks made previously about explaining just how - why - evolution takes place. That mutations are unevenly spread and only a very small amount of them lead to a positive adaptation of the animal allowing it to propagate is unclear in this presentation.

    In addition I really strongly agree that the "many annoying sound effects, dramatic cuts and sensationalist editing can you cram into a film about animals?"

    A good video ruined by the "artistic" presentation - pity about that.

  9. zahid

    @some guy
    I, too, feel exactly the same. This American way of narration sounds artificial and dramatic to the point that I feel really annoyed. Whenever I find out that the documentary is made by BBC, it is almost guaranteed that it is worth watching. Furthermore, if it is narrated by David Attenborough, to me, it is another incentive to watch. You are right, they have to learn from BBC.

  10. Eric T

    Thanks for the tip, m_dog!

    This is a great doc!

  11. Rebecca

    Very interesting documentary, but whoever designed the cover art may want to go back to the drawing board because at first glance that creature looks exactly like a flaccid male appendage. I'm sorry, it had to be said.

  12. riley

    whale, bird & bear evolution - great stuff!

    the phraseology in the script is a little off, but it's probably just a dramatic device to describe the massive transformations undertaken by these classes, which are amongst the greatest observed in evolutionary history:

    land -> sea (pakicetus -> whales & dolphins)
    land -> air (theropod dinos -> birds)
    trees -> everywhere (bears)

    i thought the whale segment was the most informative & substantive. for example, you have likely pondered the difficulty archaic whale species would have faced against pre-existing highly-adapted water predators such as sharks and crocodilians. this is dealt with pretty well.

    highly recommended - make sure your flash player is up-to-date.

  13. daniel

    this doco has a nice subject matter. but everything about the presentation from the music to the narrator is completely annoying.. cant watch it sorry.

  14. Dan

    @Martin - Apologies, I interpreted the "Please do share your thoughts with the rest of us." at the top as permissing sharing thoughts/understanding/questions about the documentary's core topics. One of my first times writing here.

    @over the edge - Thanks, it seems there was a faulty premise in the argument, nice to confirm my current understandings. :)

  15. Epicurus

    a VERY VERY VERY small amount of every organism that lives becomes a fossil. the steps it takes to make a dead thing become a fossil is not common.

    and that all ignores the amounts of fossils we DO have. people seem to think we have a couple bones here and there. we have universities and museums ALL OVER THE WORLD packed full of fossils of all kinds.

    hope that helps.

    1. Jack1952

      On the farm where I grew up there are thousands of fossils. They are mostly shells and coral. I have found only one really unique fossil of a dew worm and I spent hours looking as a kid. It demonstrates how difficult it is to find those special fossils that help fill the holes in information in the fossil record.

  16. over the edge

    fossils with mutations have been found nearly all fossils aren't exactly as the animal appears today or how it was in earlier or later fossils. any mutations that took place outside of the skeleton will be very unlikely if not impossible to find because those parts of the body don't fossilize well if at all. when am animal dies the sheer amount of things that have to go right in order for it to be fossilized are staggering and according to the us bureau of land management less than 1% ever become fossilized and out of that 1% we have to find them buried somewhere on the whole planet. i hope this helps in a small way

  17. Martin

    Hey Dan,

    Actually, this page is about the documentary above and the comments to discuss it. Not for general discussions about broadly related topics. There are numerous other places on the Internet specifically for discussing the topic you brought up.


  18. Dan

    Hi guys,

    I was watching a religious debate last night (Hitchens vs some Rabbi) and the Rabbi said that natural evolution couldn't be responsible for humans as there should be an UNTOLD number of fossils left from over millions & millions of years from creatures with poor genetic mutations who die shortly after birth. A number to the extent where we should be virtually swimming in them.

    I'm quite sure the guy is wrong, as he demonstrated some very elementary cases of mathematical fallacy ("for a horse to come about, it must take [large number] mutations exactly as it has. The probability of this is tiny, it must be Intelligent Design!"). Obviously the guy doesn't realise the impact that hindsight has on probability theory. But if anyone could shed any light on the initial argument above that he presented, that would be awesome.


    1. Anthony Pirtle

      Yes, the guy is wrong. Only the tiniest fraction of creatures are actually fossilized, as very specific circumstances have to occur in order for fossilization to take place. The vast majority of creatures who live and die aren't mutated to the point that they die shortly after birth because DNA is very good at copying itself. Evolution isn't something that happens in giant leaps, as if a child gets born with extra limbs all the time just to see if they're handy. The evolutionary change from one generation to the next is imperceptible. Exceedingly rare, exceedingly detrimental mutations do occur, as you can see today, but those fossils would (1) be even more exceedingly rare, since fossilization is exceedingly rare, and (2) shed no light on evolution,which is change over time by natural selection, not just random mutation.

  19. Atrophy

    @ some guy
    Haha, I agree, we don't need woosh and grinding boulder sounds when ppl open sample drawers to make it interesting :P

  20. some guy

    Man, how many annoying sound effects, dramatic cuts and sensationalist editing can you cram into a film about animals? Besides that, the narration pretty often uses scientific terms in the wrong way, and when they show the different whale species near the end, the names that are mentioned don't correspond to the whales on screen half of the time.
    Overall it's nice to see a doc on such special aspects of evolution, but seriously, American edutainment, go watch some BBC and learn how to do that properly, will you?

  21. Waldo

    @ Epicurus

    No worries man, I was really aiming that "chill out" reference at hedwerx, as I thought he was referring to me with his "creationist baggage" comment. I have never been a creationist, or even religious for that matter. Well if you count when I was a kid and too young to make up my own mind, I was forced at that point into going to church and acting out the whole scenario. I will say that I have recently seen and realized that spirituality can add a deeper meaning to life, and is useful to some people. Though I can't say I really feel very spitirual most of the time, I have had a few trancendant like moments when experimenting with hallucinogens or meditating, but thats way different than religion to me. Anyway, I better shut up, people have gotten so tired of any religiouse discussion on this site that they get hostile if you bring it up any more- whether you defend or support it.

    I do agree with hedwerx on one point though, this doc. needs to be clearer on the fact that mutation is random and follows no logical pattern nor is it influenced by any consciouse or subconsciouse thoughts of the creature. I haven't seen any one comment in a way that would make me think they believed otherwise though. Oh, and i suppose to say that it was coincedental that this creature recieved a chance mutation that worked to its benefit is kind of ridiculus, all mutations that have survived have come about in this fashion. Thats why they survived cause they benefitted the animal in its instinctually chosen environment. I should have just been literal and pointed out what i didn't like in the doc, that would have reduced confusion.

  22. Epicurus


    dont worry man i have read your comments and know you aren't a creationist.
    I was slightly puzzled seeing you ask that question, but now i see what you mean. you were complaining that the doc kind of insinuated it was the will of the creature. gotcha!

  23. Waldo

    @ Epicurus

    I understand how eveolution takes place, I have studied it thoroughly. And, I might add, I completely believe in it and find it much more intellectually rewarding than silly creation theology. I was just making a point of how the doc seems to insinuate it was a process that came about through some sort of subconsciouse wish from the creature, when in fact mutations are completely random and follow no predescribed or logical prosess, only natural selection does this. Geez, chill out guys.

  24. Martin

    Sensationalist and repetitive. It's evident that this is made for market TV with plenty of commercials and a need to keep the audience past the next one with debatably warranted cliffhangers.

    The ideas are interesting, but the presentation lacking.

  25. hedwerx

    Some of you guys seem to have a little bit of creationist dogma stuck in your baggage, I see some of the badly thought out anti-evolution arguements being touted around.

    Animals evolve because their environment changes, or they are pushed out by competition.

    If the changes are slight and slow, they evolve, if they are fast and wide ranging they die out.
    Those who cannot cope with the change die, those that can go on to breed. So slight advantages become major changes over millions of years. there is no concious decision to "become a fish" slight biological differences within a species are normal, these differences are what powers evolution.

    Unfortunately these programs word it as though the animal went through a R&D process to decide what path to take next, when its entirely chance whether it adapts successfully (or even if it can) or not.

  26. Angel R.

    im in Mexico and because the darn documentary has images from natgeo, im not permitted to see it. no education for me :(

  27. Tipsy

    @Waldo: I get what you're saying, but I still find it easier to think of it the other way. Instead of it's buddies playing by the watering hole and it realizing it's awesome, I think of it as it's favourite restaurant has closed down, and now has to learn to like Mexican food from the new restaurant if it's going to keep eating.
    It was just a matter of the ones that liked Mexican food were more likely to eat more, and therefore be stronger and healthier and more able to survive than those who refused it outright.

    Anyhow. I really enjoyed this doc. It gave a nice outline of a long, complicated series of events. I would have loved to watch the others, but unfortunately the 2nd and 3rd are blocked for me(and I can't download any shields, as I listen to these while at work. Boo.)

  28. Atrophy

    Adaptation to survival choices.
    It started spending more and more time in the water and eventually sea water so lung capacity and swimming would become stronger as well as adaptation to deal with excess salt in the system. Non beneficial mutations are lost (survival of the fittest) or become recessive traits before they become recognizable as transitions. And none of these transitions were sudden, it took millions of years between each stage.

    In less words, the successful variations were carried into the next generations more than the negative and it became what it is today.

  29. Waldo

    @ 1perspctive

    True, but it still seems awfully coincedental that any of the mutations fit the life style it had so recently and unexpetedly chosen. Especially since that life style was such an odd choice for a four legged land animal. I still like the idea of the mutation coming first and then the choice to live in water second.

    Think about it, you're a four legged meat eating land dwelling thingy (I can't remember what they called the creature before it mutated) and you were borned all squat legged and fat tailed. None of the other four legged meat eating land dwelling thingies will let you play in the reindeer games. But one day all the gang is at the water hole and playing, and all of the sudden you have found your groove. You can swim faster and catch all the other guys at tag, catch fish for everyone, etc. As a result you catch the eye of the prettiest meat eating land dwelling thingy of the bunch, bada-boom bada-bing yall do the wild thing. And now there are two of you squat legged fat tailed meat eating thingies, but now you dwell in the water so you can strut your stuff. All the ladies love the new guys in town, as they always have some good fish to eat, so before long- well you get the picture. Makes sense, no?

  30. Waldo

    @ jk

    I just finished part two, now I get your comment. I like my dinosaur with plenty of stuffing and cranberry sauce. I was under the impression that all the dinos died in the impact. I suppose I was wrong, some evolved into turkeys. I wonder what we would eat at Grandma's house every Novemeber if I had of been right.

  31. 1perspctive

    it wouldve mutated in lots of ways the mutation that suited water is the 1 that survived i guess.

  32. Waldo

    Great doc, though I feel something is a little amiss about whale evolution. I can't put my finger on it but something seems odd to me about the whole process. I think it is the way they play it off. They say that the land creature was looking for more food and thus entered shallow water to hunt. Then his body started adapting to the water. That sequence of events makes me feel as if mutation followed some logical thought out course, when in reality mutation is purely random.

    I would like the story better if the land animal had a random mutation and then found that it suited the water, then natural selection kicks in and boom- we have a whale starting to evolve. It seems to big of a coincedence for the mutations for water dwelling to strike an animal that has sure enough recently decided to start hunting in the water. Makes more sense for the mutation to come about and then the animal finds a use for it. This makes sense as the animals that figured this out, that the mutation they possessed worked well in the water, would have more food and thus procreate more easily passing on the mutation to the next generation. This process repeating itself over thousands of generations to create a whole new animal. Oh well, its probably just me. Great doc like I said earlier.

  33. Waldo

    @ Galloway Grumblefield

    I love that name man, any way. I really didn't understand your statement. What do you mean by, "catching evolution in the act.” Its probably me but I don't get the connotation of that phrase. Sorry if I am being thick.

  34. Waldo

    @ Dr. Dunkleosteus

    Its not you man, I have the same issue with it changing to 720p after every segment. I have also seen many others complain on this site about it. I have found however that if you let it chnage over to the next segment at 720p then change the resolution back to 360 it won't skip like you are talking about. If you change it to 360 before it changes over, you know while it is sitting thier buffering struggling to pull up the next segment in 720p, it will skip to the end everytime. It is aggravating to have to get up and change the res every time the segment changes. I have tried everything I know to remedy it, no go. The only solution I have found is to get a wireless track ball mouse, so you can manipulate it from where ever you are sitting. They are not easy to find though, at least not here where I live. I had to have it ordered, good luck.

  35. Dr. Dunkleosteus


    I was refering to the fact that whales did not exist during the time of the Tethys Sea, only creatures like Rodhocetus.
    I'm not sure if that's what lone_wolf was trying to say, but that's how I interpreted it.

    I find the evolutionary path of whales facinating. You'd never guess such a creature originated on land.

    Nice doc.

  36. Dr. Dunkleosteus

    Why does youtube switch to 720p after every section?! Even after I tell it to play in 360p! It also skips sections and I have to go back manually. Either youtube is skrewing up or I'm dumb and cant make it work correctly.

  37. JK

    So, I just ate a dinosaur :(

  38. coyote03

    @ lone_wolf

    I'm not sure I understand your comment. The area where they discovered most of these bones used to be completely covered by an ancient sea known as the Tethys, before that it was the Tethys Ocean; tectonic plates shift, rearranging landmasses, creating new oceans, seas, etc. We've even found fossils of sea creatures at the top of the peaks in the Himalayas. Geology is a wonderful thing, as is Evolution, and even whales haha If I'm misunderstanding something about your comment that both you and Dr. Dunkleosteus seemed to get, please share :)

  39. m_dog

    Samusakis - download & install 'hotspot shield'. It will bypass the country filter.

  40. Dr. Dunkleosteus


    I think the same thing.

  41. lone_wolf

    great doc, whale bones are only found on continents and none are found in the tethys sea, interesting, is it not?

  42. Galloway Grumblefield

    This is a fantastic doc, learned a lot about "catching evolution in the act." Thank you.