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"Palaeontology" Sort by
From small viscous meat eaters to vegetarian giants, dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes. Remarkable new evidence suggests that one dinosaur did not become extinct but evolved into a new animal species we all know today. Discover the missing link between the velociraptor and modern day birds.
The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth
This episode explores the palaeogeography of Earth over millions of years, and its impact on the development of life on the planet. Tyson starts by explaining that the lignin-rich trees evolved in the Carboniferous era about 300 million ago, then explains on the nature of plate tectonics that would shape the landmasses of the world and the asteroid impact that initiated the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, leaving small mammals as the dominate species on earth. Earth's landmasses are expected to change in the future and postulates what may be the next great extinction event.
Last of the Giants
Even after thousands of years of ice crushing the northern hemisphere and temperatures of 20 degrees lower than those of today, many of the great giants of the ice age still walked the earth. It was only when the world had warmed up again that mammoths, woolly rhinos, sabre-toothed cats, giant ground sloths and glyptodonts finally became extinct. Professor Alice Roberts sets off on her last voyage back to the Ice Age to discover why.
Ice Age Giants
In late Cretaceous Canada, in what will be known as Dinosaur Provincial Park, a Daspletosaurus stalks a Chasmosaurus in a forest, but loses the element of surprise and is forced to retreat. The Chasmosaurus comes across a younger Daspletosaurus, before being ambushed by a group of the tyrannosaurids. The episode then cuts to the high Arctic, where Edmontosaurus are hunted by a large species of Troodon. The theropods attack at night, separating a juvenile from the herd and severely wounding it, only to be driven away by an adult. In the morning, they return to eat the carcass of the juvenile, which died during the night. The episode returns to the Daspletosaurus, who chase and bring down the Chasmosaurus. The larger adults bully the youngsters off the carcass, forcing them to wait until they have finished. The episode then cuts to Madagascar, where a mother Majungasaurus (an Abelisaurid) and her two offspring chase a group of Rahonavis off a carcass. However, they are temporarily driven off themselves by a male Majungasaurus. But, after he steals some food from one of the young, the female attacks him, before she and her young cannibalise his body. The episode returns once again to North America, where the Daspletosaurus are waiting for the annual migration of Centrosaurus. They attack during a rainstorm, killing some of the ceratopsians. The Centrosaurus make it to a flooded river and begin to swim across, and although many make it to the other side, some are caught by giant crocodilians or are severely wounded by floating debris and thus drown, or drown for unseen reasons. In the morning, the carcasses attract scavengers, including the Daspletosaurus. A montage is then shown of Daspletosaurus and Majungasaurus, the narrator saying that together, the tyrannosaurids and abelisaurids were the last of the killer dinosaurs.
The Great Survivors
The final episode explores dinosaurs' extraordinary ability to survive. Featured dinosaurs include the bizarre magyarosaurus, which lived in the shadow of the biggest flying animal - hatzegopteryx - and showed an amazing adaptation to island life; and the weird nothronychus, a carnivore that gave up meat eating. This astonishing capacity to evolve into ever more diverse and bizarre forms meant that dinosaurs not only spread throughout the world, but also dominated life upon it for more than 160 million years. It was only an unprecedented extraterrestrial event that finally saw the end of planet dinosaur.
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