The previous series of the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens was, as the title of this post suggests, as scientifically flawed as the second. But let’s skate over the fact that it prophesied the return of the ancient aliens and the end of the world on 21 December 2012. That’s just an embarassing detail in the catalogue of the series’ historical ignorance.
Tsoukalis and von Daniken (who respecctively have first degrees in Sports Communication and, er, nothing) claim repeatedly that humans were living in caves but built the pyramids “virtually overnight”. They use this ‘fact’ to prove that humans were genetically engineered by aliens from our ancestors, which is why Homo Sapiens is the only member of the human family tree to possess “culture”.
A wild and earth-shattering claim. And it’s based on claims which aren’t true.
We didn’t build the pyramids overnight. Before King Aha who founded the 1st dynasty (the first step pyramid was constructed hundreds of years later and the Giza triad was built only generations later in the 4th dynasty) there was “Dynasty 0”. Dynasty 0 is a term coined for the hitherto undiscovered history of Egypt which includes King Scorpion who unified Egypt. And before Dynasty 0, there were many different kingdoms. It appears that nomadic tribes settled in the Nile valley and formed settlements which eventually grew into states, perhaps from city states like ancient Greece. This took hundreds if not thousands of years.
Secondly, Homo Sapiens is not the only hominid to have culture. Neanderthals made tools which were better than our tools and art while other species took care of their ill and old members. Homo Sapiens differed from Neanderthals by being more sociable.
The fact that ancient alien theorists don’t know this stuff is staggering. This information is available via documentaries on the Discovery channel (which is why I know it and why my understanding is pretty much limited to what I’ve written here.)