Saturday, December 13, 2014

Walking With Dinosaurs - Episode One: "New Blood"

Today on Far Future horizons we begin a time odyssey of sorts to an age before the advent of the human species when monsters ruled the world with a landmark television - Walking With Dinosaurs.

Walking with Dinosaurs is a six-part documentary television mini-series that was produced by the BBC, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, and first aired in the UK in 1999. The series was subsequently aired in North America on the Discovery Channel in 2000, with Branagh's voice replaced with that of Avery Brooks. It is the first entry of the Walking with... series and used computer-generated imagery and animatronics to recreate the life of the Mesozoic, showing dinosaurs in a way that previously had only been seen in feature films. 

The programme's aim was to simulate the style of a nature documentary and therefore does not include "talking head" interviews. The series used palaeontologists such as Peter Dodson, Peter Larson and James Farlow as advisors (their influence in the filming process can be seen in the documentary The Making of Walking with Dinosaurs).

In the first instalment "New Blood" we go back in time two hundred and twenty million years to prehistoric Arizona during the Late Triassic and follow a female Coelophysis as she tried to survive in the dry season. The Coelophysis was shown hunting a herd of Placerias, looking for weak members to prey upon. Early pterosaurs (specifically Peteinosaurus) are featured, depicted in this first episode cooling themselves in what little water was present during the drought.

Map of the Earth During the Late Triassic 220 Million Years Ago

About 20 million years before the appearance of the first dinosaurs, the biggest extinction the world had ever known had occurred. Over ninety per cent of all plant and animal species then alive on land and in the sea had died out at this time. This Mass extinction gives the dinosaurs a chance to establish themselves. Even in the Late Triassic the world was still recovering and there was not the usual variety of life normally found on earth.

Walking With Dinosaurs is available on DVD from Amazon Books

Walking With Dinosaurs Episode One: "New Blood"

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