The Mysterious Origins of Man argues that mankind has lived on the Earth for tens of millions of years, and that mainstream scientists have suppressed the fossil evidence for this. Some material included was based on the controversial Forbidden Archeology, a book written by Hindu creationists Michael Cremo and Richard L. Thompson about Klerksdorp spheres and other alleged out-of-place artifacts.
The film also includes interviews with the following people: creationist Carl Baugh on the Paluxy tracks; Richard Milton, author of Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, on Lucy; Neil Steede on Incan ruins; and Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods, on Atlantis. It was produced by B. C. Video Inc.
The film was widely criticized by the scientific community. Donald Johanson said it was “absolutely shameful, and it sort of sets us back 100 years”. Jim Foley of TalkOrigins called it a “pseudo-scientific mishmash of discredited claims and crackpot ideas”. However, the criticism did not prevent NBC from re-broadcasting the special on June 8, 1996.
In response, John Carman wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, “You’d think the NBC brass would be a touch embarrassed by the program, and eager to let the little furor fritter away into oblivion. But then you really would be a simpleton. NBC, a subsidiary of the science giant General Electric, does not exist to sharpen minds. Science, schmience.
If there was money to be made from it, NBC would tell you the Earth is flat because of repeated indentations from space aliens on pogo sticks.”
Dave Thomas wrote in Skeptical Briefs that “quality science was nowhere to be found” in the program, as it had people of questionable credentials interviewed and failed to interview the leading researchers in their respective fields. Thomas further explained the show failed to challenge the extraordinary claims