18,000 years BC (the film)


Alpha, set 20,000 years ago in Europe, was apparently originally titled “Solutrean.” The change is probably for the best. It will come out next spring. I really hope that this movie is good and does well. It isn’t often that you have something which takes place during the Last Glacial Maximum.

The plot seems to reflect the what you might read in Pat Shipman’s The Invaders, but it’s about 20,000 years too late for her model to work. One of the major criticisms of the idea that dogs and modern humans operated as a team is that it seems way too early. But of late there have been suggestions that the date is earlier than we’d previous thought in relation to when dogs as we understand them arose: Ancient European dog genomes reveal continuity since the Early Neolithic. Here’s the relevant section: “By calibrating the mutation rate using our oldest dog, we narrow the timing of dog domestication to 20,000–40,000 years ago.”

Please note though that the divergence of the dog lineage from the ancestors of modern wolves is a distinct question and process from domestication as such as we understand it. Though it seems likely these events didn’t occur too far apart in time.

8 thoughts on “18,000 years BC (the film)

  1. I was over at Youtube arguing with the nerds over there about whether the #hunterstoowhite.

    I told them the hunters were probably tan enough for the purpose, but that they should have blue eyes. Like the Water Tribe in The Last Airbender. (The series.)

  2. blue eye allele post-dates this period. villabruna.

    otoh, i’m beginning to think that there must have other skin lightening alleles in the past. i don’t know. we need whole genomes and deep annotation of those loci.

    i think these individuals would be most like el miron.

  3. I found the media articles which refer to the Villabruna. I have linked one on my name. Thank you for bringing my knowledge up to May 2016 standards.

    So the Hyborean Age is constrained between 12000 and 4500 BC, then? :^)

  4. Anyone remember the film “Quest for Fire”? That’s what came to my mind when I saw the trailer above.

  5. actually i read the plot summary tonight for random reasons. i watched it 20 years ago on VHS and never really got a lot of the details. main difference is a lot less boning i’m assuming in this film (also, it was set 80,000 BCE and there were like 4 hominin populations over the course of the film).

  6. I am besotted with “Quest for Fire” and have watched it so far 4 times (which is very unusual for me – I rarely watch a film more than once). In part I am irritated by the inaccuracies (wrong timescale; modern African lions with stuck-on sabre teeth; unlikely depiction of H. erectus; etc.) and in part amazed that the author of the book came as close as he did to what we now know about modern human origins and the controlled use of fire, which is known for a certainty to have started with H. erectus, although how far back is still debated. Plus at that age Rae Dawn Chong was a little living doll, and she wasn’t wearing much. Today she would maybe be accused of appearing in the film in ‘black face’, or maybe she’s sufficiently not-white to get away with it, I don’t know. She was her natural colouring and way more pale skinned in “Commando” than she was in the earlier film.

    The much later film “10,000 BC” was just awful, almost hilariously so, and “Quest for Fire” stands up very well in comparison.

    The trailer for “Alpha” seems to depict a manner for the domestication of dogs that seems a lot less likely to me than a couple of ways that seem far more likely: (1) canines becoming camp followers of groups of human HGs, or (2) people finding pups and keeping them as pets. (Both happened with Aboriginal Australians and dingoes, but they were already feral semi-domesticates.) But what would I know? I should reserve judgement until I see the whole film, I guess.

  7. (1) canines becoming camp followers of groups of human HGs, or (2) people finding pups and keeping them as pets.

    Aren’t those two the dominant theories on how dogs were domesticated? And they don’t have to be “either… or” – both could have happened. I am always struck by two things about dogs (I have a pack of dogs and have trained them extensively, including Schutzhund). First, they have an uncanny ability to read human emotion and body language in ways wolves (and other animals) don’t. Second, they are perpetually puppy-like. Both traits fit well with the two theories above.

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