Is it just me or is the History Channel mutating? I guess they’ve covered just about everything there is to cover in human history as I keep seeing more announcements for programs about natural history, particularly involving extinct creatures. On July 29 the new series Evolve will premiere along with Jurassic Fight Club and Prehistoric Monsters Revealed; it seems like the whole day will be full of prehistory-themed documentaries. (And I hasten to add that Darren recently appeared on an episode of MonsterQuest, too.)
As I promised I’m holding back on the crankiness, but the History Channel really needs to run their program synopses past scientists (or at least someone who knows the research) before putting them out. Part of the summary for Prehistoric Monsters Revealed reads “Meet the nothronychus (a strange amalgam of bird and sloth) [and] the anomalocarus (a 7-foot shrimp).” The description of the therizinosaur Nothronychus is just confusing (if you have to make a comparison, why not call it a sloth-like dinosaur?) and Anomalocaris is misspelled, cited as being two times too big, and unfortunately called a jumbo prawn. These sort of errors seem to be a recurring theme with summaries put out by the channel, the mistake-laden pieces being ripped apart and then changed, and this is unfortunate because it gives the impression that the programmers don’t care about accuracy. It’s entirely possible to be accurate without turning a synopsis into a journal abstract and I hope that the History Channel does a better job summarizing its programming in the future.