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A Review of 'Unnatural Selection'

Unnatural Selection offers a compelling look at the impact of human activities on evolution, illustrating how we are accelerating the natural selection process.

Keywords: Evolution, Unnatural Selection, Climate Change, Human Impact, Animal Adaptation, Natural Selection. Three words: 'Insightful', 'Intriguing', 'Scientific'.


In the 2013 documentary 'Unnatural Selection', director Alex Tate delves into the fascinating world of evolution, highlighting the surprising impact humans have on the natural selection process. This riveting documentary provides a unique perspective on how human-induced changes to the environment are altering the evolutionary pathways of various species.


The wings of cliff swallows in Nebraska are getting shorter, while female turtles in Chesapeake Bay are growing larger. On the Galapagos Islands, two species of finches are evolving back into one. In urban areas, more peregrine falcons are adapting to hunting at night under city lights. These unexpected changes in animal adaptations pose a simple question: What has happened to evolution? 'Unnatural Selection' offers a compelling answer: Humans have happened.

More Film Analysis


Unnatural Selection is a comprehensive exploration of the concept of evolution, portraying it as a dynamic, constantly changing process. Tate's approach to the subject matter is both scientific and accessible, making the documentary engaging for audiences of varying backgrounds. The film's depth of research and subject exploration is commendable, presenting audiences with a multifaceted view of evolution and the ways in which human activity is accelerating its pace.

Historical and Factual Context

The film draws on the foundations laid by Charles Darwin in the theory of natural selection, demonstrating how this natural process has been influenced and manipulated by human actions. From habitat destruction to pollution, the documentary provides a rich factual backdrop that enhances viewer understanding of the subject matter.

Key themes in the film

  • The impact of human activity on natural selection.
  • The adaptability of wildlife to changing environments.
  • The role of evolution in species survival.

Film Comparisons

Comparisons can be drawn to other documentaries such as 'The 11th Hour' and 'An Inconvenient Truth', which also discuss the effects of human activities on the natural world. However, 'Unnatural Selection' distinguishes itself by its focus on evolution and natural selection.

Noteworthy Moments

A significant revelation in the documentary is the adaptation of peregrine falcons to urban environments, demonstrating that evolution is not limited to the wilderness but is happening right in our cities.


This documentary has been praised for its insightful exploration of evolution and the impact of human activities on it. Critics have lauded the film for its depth of research and engaging narrative.


'Unnatural Selection' is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the intricate workings of evolution and the role we play in it. It's particularly relevant for those interested in environmental science, biology, and ecology.

More film information:


  • IMDB score: 7.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
  • Metacritic score: 77
  • Film festival awards: N/A



  • Alex Tate: Director
  • Charles Darwin: Referenced Scientist



  • Nebraska
  • Chesapeake Bay
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Urban areas

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

  1. How is human activity influencing the course of evolution?
  2. How are different species adapting to changes in their environment?
  3. What can we do to minimize our impact on natural selection?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. If this film was a famous book, it would be 'The Origin of Species' by Charles Darwin due to its exploration of evolution.
  2. If this film was a famous song, it would be 'Changes' by David Bowie because of its theme of change and adaptation.
  3. If this film was a famous piece of art, it would be 'The Persistence of Memory' by Salvador Dali, symbolising the constant change and fluidity of time.
  4. If this film was a famous celebrity, it would be David Attenborough, known for his dedication to understanding and preserving the natural world.
  5. If this film was a color, it would be green, symbolising nature and the environment.
  6. If this film was a music style, it would be classical music, reflecting the film's scientific and intellectual approach.