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Western Animation / Evolution (1971)

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Evolution is a 1971 animated short film (11 minutes) by Michael Mills. It was produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

It is a humorous take on the process of evolution. What starts out as a lifeless world soon has little one-celled organisms, drawn to look like eyes, swimming around in the dark. The little one-celled organisms start mating with each other to produce two-celled organisms. Slowly larger and more complex sea creatures appear; some of them eat each other. One little two-legged critter jumps up onto land, and the process continues from there.

You can see it on the NFB's official Youtube channel here.

Compare "Clay or the Origin of Species", another animated short with a humorous take on the process of evolution.


  • Always a Bigger Fish: The little two-celled things in the ocean are fleeing in terror from a predator fish when a bigger fish comes in and eats the predator. This is followed by a sequence in which each fish in turn is eaten by a bigger one.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Or cartoon creature reproduction, at least. Some of the film's critters give birth in very odd ways, such as opening a hatch on their body to let children out, or blowing in your mate's nose so babies pop out of the tube on their head. Also, since the film takes place on another planet, "alien" reproduction is right after all.
  • Black Comedy: There's some blackness in the process of evolution, but it's played for laughs. One male creature is hatching his wife's eggs. Three little babies hatch out of eggs and zip away. Then one egg hatches, and it's a different-looking creature that sneezes and just sits there instead of zipping away. The father then squashes it.
  • Hemisphere Bias: Of course the Americas are visible when the little creature in the spaceship flies to Earth.
  • Little Green Men: The final product of evolution (as far as we see) on the planet featured in the short.
  • Never Was This Universe: The short is not set on Earth, as we discover at the end.
  • Non-Mammalian Mammaries: The little two-legged thing that is the first creature to leave the ocean and walk on land eventually calls out for a mate. It works, as a female creature comes out of the ocean and joins him. She has breasts.
  • The Reveal: It isn't hard to guess: the bipedal furry creatures that seem to correspond to humans pop babies out of their heads. But in any case, at the end one creature boards a spacecraft and leaves their planet, headed for a destination of—Earth.
  • Silence Is Golden: No dialogue in the short.
  • The Stinger: After the credits roll, the two-legged thing that was the first creature to leave the ocean swims back into frame, and eats the Earth.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Used throughout the short.