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PLANET OF THE APES
MOVIE REVIEW
PLANET OF THE APES
SEQUELS, PREQUELS, REMAKES
The Planet of the ApesPLANET OF THE APES - 1968
THE SCIENCE MOMENT
Kelly Parks
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
KELLY PARKS

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PARALLEL EVOLUTION!
(Read anything by Stephen Jay Gould, but especially The Burgess Shale). Of all the reasons why they should have known where they were, the most obvious is life.

Every person, every oak tree, every blade of grass should have been a clue.* And let's not even get into the fact that the apes spoke perfect, 20th century English! At the very least they could have made mention of the idea that perhaps after they left Earth some one invented faster than light space travel and colonized this world a thousand years before they got there.

Icarus Sinks
TAYLOR: "GUYS! THINK ABOUT IT! BREATHABLE EARTHLIKE ATMOSPHERE! DRINKABLE EARTHLIKE WATER! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?"
LANDON & DODGE: "WHAT?"
TAYLOR: "THIS COULD BE AN EARTH-LIKE PLANET!"

*Not at all.

Eddie McMullen Jr.
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
E.C.MCMULLEN JR.

Until you look at the gene sequence it doesn't matter how much a person, tree, or blade of grass resembles something you are used to seeing. There are many examples of one type of lifeform looking remarkably like another type of creature or at the very least, belonging to the same family (banana trees are not real trees, but herbaceous).

Of the six main classes of animals in the world, there are arachnids that look like insects (there are over 300 species of ant spider [Myrmarachne plataleoides]), insects that look almost exactly like plants (Leaf Insect, Dead Leaf Mantis, Stick Insect), and reptiles that look like insects which look like plants (Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko).

ant spider
COUNT THE LEGS

There are insects that, while in flight, are nearly identical to birds both in appearance and behavior. What's more, they even fill the same ecological niche. The North American Hummingbird Moth is often confused for an actual Hummingbird.

Mimicry is widespread in both the plant and animal kingdom and until we actually meet xenoforms, all assumptions about their make-up or what they will look or behave like is 100% hypothetical with zero supporting evidence behind it.

As for Parallel Evolution, that would be trees, amphibians, etc., which are considered classic examples of parallel evolution.
Detection of Convergent and Parallel Evolution at the Amino Acid Sequence Level
- Jianzhi Zhang and Sudhir Kumar, Institute of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics and Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University

The biological reality of species: gene flow, selection, and collective evolution
- Loren H. Rieseberg & John M. Burke

But yeah, English speaking apes are a dead give-away. Why would anyone believe that? Why would the end be such a big surprise?

This is why.

In the 1960s, audiences got used to a few unrealistic gaffs that Hollywood could not stop making. Foolishness like Sound In Space, dodging bullets, dodging lightbeams, ancient Greeks and Romans who spoke with non-rhotic British accents, ancient pre-17th century Brits speaking with non-rhotic British accents, and aliens that spoke English. Examples of this still exist from episodes of the original TWILIGHT ZONE to episodes of the original STAR TREK.

So when the apes first appear and speak English, audiences weren't being stupid, it was the art of stage logic that all aliens spoke English. Audiences just charitably thought, 'Artistic license', so they could be entertained by the rest of the movie.


This review copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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