Walking with Dinosaurs

I have recently watched the six-part documentary television seriesWalking with Dinosaurs. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh the program uses computer -generated imagery and animatronics in order to explore ancient life of the Mesozoic Era, portraying dinosaurs and their contemporaries in the style of a traditional nature documentary. The series received critical acclaim, winning two BAFTA Awards, three Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award in 2000. A feature film of the same name, inspired by the series, was released in 2013.

The first episode is set 220 million years ago, during the Late Triassic (Arizona) it features a bipedal Coelophysis hunting among a herd of dicynodonts called Placerias. Downstream, a male Thrinaxodon resides in a burrow with his family. A female Postosuchus, a rauisuchian and one of the largest carnivores alive in the Triassic, attacks the Placerias herd, and wounds one individual. Meanwhile Early pterosaurs called Peteinosaurus fly overhead hunting winged insects. The Coelophysis has a run in with Thrinaxodon The female Postosuchus is wounded by a Placarias and eventually dies and is eaten by a pack of Coelophysis. As the dry season continues, food becomes scarce. The Placerias herd embarks on a journey in search of water and the male Thrinaxodon resorts to hunting baby Coelophysis at night. Then a migrating herd of Plateosaurus, arrive foreshadowing the dominance of the sauropods after the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event.

The second episode is set 152 million years ago, Late Jurassic and follows the life of a female Diplodocus, beginning at the moment when her mother lays a clutch of eggs at the edge of a conifer forest. Months later, some of the eggs hatch; the young sauropods are preyed upon by Ornitholestes. After hatching, the hatchlings retreat to the safety of the denser trees. They face many dangers as they grow, including predation by Ornitholestes, Allosaurus and confrontations with Stegosaurs. Esewhere, adult herds of Diplodocus are feeding on Cycads Sadly the creche of Diplodocus are nearly killed by a huge forest fire, only three survivors emerge onto the open plains, including the young female. They encounter several Brachiosaurus before two reach safety to a herd of adult Diplodocus. Unfortunately the female Diplodocus is attacked by a fearsome Allosaurus.

Episode three begins with, hundreds of ocean going Ophthalmosaurus arrive from the open ocean to give birth. Meanwhile Hybodus sharks and a Liopleurodon are on the hunt for food. Then when a mother Ophthalmosaurus has trouble giving birth, a pair of Hybodus pursue her until a giant marine reptile Liopleurodon shows up. Meanwhile a bipedal Eustreptospondylus swims to an island and encounters another Eustreptospondylus. Later, during the full Moon a group of horseshoe crabs gather at the shore to lay their eggs, which attracts a flock of Rhamphorhynchus in the morning to eat the eggs. However, a few of the pterosaurs are caught and eaten by a Eustreptospondylus. While the Ophthalmosaurus juveniles are growing up, they are hunted by Hybodus, which in turn, are prey for the Liopleurodon. While the male Liopleurodon is hunting, he confronts a female Liopleurodon. Sadly A cyclone strikes the islands, killing many animals, including several Rhamphorhynchus and the Liopleurodon, who is washed ashore and discovered by A group of carnivorous Eustreptospondylus.

The next episode Giant of the Skies” takes place 127 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous. The episode features an enormous flying reptile ornithocheirus resting among a colony of breeding Tupandactylus in Brazil, who flies off for Cantabria for the Mating Season. he flies past a migrating group of the iguanodont Dakotadon and the a Polacanthus. On reaching the southern tip of North America, storm weather forces him to shelter. He then sets off across the Atlantic, which was then only 300 kilometers wide, and eventually reaches the westernmost of the European islands where he encounters Utah Raptors hunting Iguanadon. So Ornithocheirus flies to the outskirts of a forest to rest after stealing a fish from another pterosaur, but is driven away by Iberomesornis. The Ornithocheirus reaches Cantabria but sadly the delays, exhaustion, and old age have taken their toll on his health.

The fifth episode Spirits of the Ice Forest” takes place 106 million years ago during the Middle Cretaceous in Antarctica/Australia. It features a clan of small bipedal Leaellynasaura who emerge during spring after several months of total darkness. They feed on the fresh plant growth, and build nests to lay their eggs; Meanwhile a large amphibian Koolasuchus also wakes and heads to a river, where he will stay during the summer. Out on the banks of the river, migrating herds of Muttaburrasaurus have also arrived to feed and lay their eggs. However a carnivorous Australovenator is hunting both the Leaellynasaura and the Muttaburrasaurus. As autumn arrives, the Muttaburrasaurus herd begins to migrate, and the Koolasuchus leaves the river to find a pool for hibernation. Sadly the matriarch of the Leaellynasaura clan is killed by the Australovenator. However as
spring returns, and two Leaellynasaura males challenge each other for the right to mate, and the clan establishes a new dominant pair.

The last episode Death of a Dynasty takes place Several months before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, the last dinosaurs are living under intense environmental stress due to excessive volcanic activity. A female Tyrannosaurus mates with a smaller male, who kills a young Triceratops to appease her. Three days later, after repeated copulation, she drives him off. She spends her time Protecting her nest from raiding Bipedal Dromaeosaurus and small mammalian Didelphodon. Meanwhile, herds of Edmontosaurus wander between islands of vegetation among the volcanic ash, and Torosaurus rut for the right to mate. Unfortunately while hunting for food and defending her two surviving offspring, the mother is fatally injured confronting an Ankylosaurus. Unfortunately a cataclysmic event then makes matters much worse and most of the Dinosaurs are wiped out…

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