It was last year that the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) announced plans to collaborate with a number of other broadcasters and partners to produce a new documentary series focusing on dinosaurs. In 1997, the BBC produced the seminal "Walking with Dinosaurs" television series and this six-part documentary series went on to become the most commercially successful of all BBC programmes to date. Over the last two years or so, the BBC and its partners have been working on a follow-up television series, one that builds on the "Walking with Dinosaurs" legacy and shows some of the latest findings and research into the Dinosauria by palaeontologists.
The new documentary series entitled "Planet Dinosaur" utilises the very latest computer generated images and graphics plus some of the techniques that were pioneered by the early dinosaur themed programmes. But why a new television show devoted to dinosaurs? The answer is quite simple, the huge sums generated by the first series has had a lot to do with it, as have the new dinosaur discoveries that have taken place over the thirteen or so years after "Walking with Dinosaurs". Interestingly, with the development of new research methods, the revision of dinosaur cladistics and the opening up of new parts of the world to explore such as eastern Europe, northern China and Angola, more discoveries about dinosaurs have been made in the last decade than in the preceding one hundred years.
Planet Dinosaur will take the same format as the previous BBC dinosaur series. It will consist of six half hour programmes and it will be supported by a book release and a DVD. We have received a request to review the book when it comes out, the front cover features our old friend Spinosaurus and the DVD will also have a similar cover.
Planet Dinosaur - Programme Details
This new television series focuses on prehistoric animals that lived during the Jurassic and the Cretaceous geological periods. The Triassic Period does not really get a look in. The opening episode is called "Lost World" and takes viewers to North Africa in the early part of the Cretaceous. This programme explores the coastal ecosystem that was dominated by two apex predators, namely the huge meat-eater Carcharodontosaurus, a relative of the better-known predator Allosaurus from the Late Jurassic. The second apex predator is Spinosaurus, arguably the largest Theropod known to science, with an estimated length in excess of seventeen metres. Scientists have postulated that this particular dinosaur was a specialist fish-eater, filling the niche that is filled today by the extant Grizzly Bear.
The second episode, due to air a week after the first is entitled "Feathered Dinosaurs" and focuses on the amazing feathered dinosaur discoveries from Liaoning Province in northern China. Episode three concerns the emergence of the super-predators during the last years of the Cretaceous. This is the part of the documentary series that features the Tyrannosaurs along with their southern hemisphere cousins the Abelisaurids - bizarre, light-skulled predators.
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