What Killed the Mega Beasts? (What Killed the Mega Beasts?)
It s one of the most enduring mysteries of modern science. For sixty five million years, a vast array of fantastic creatures had roamed the prehistoric world. They were the Mega Beasts. The Mega Beasts had inherited the Earth from the dinosaurs. And, like the dinosaurs, they were every bit as fearsome and every bit as bizarre. But then the Beasts began to die; and no one knows why. In a brief moment of geological time at the end of the last Ice Age, hundreds of species simply disappeared: seventeen foot tall ground Sloths; giant woolly Mammoths; Madagascan Lemurs the size of gorillas; ferocious predators like Australia s Marsupial Lion. Some scientists say that what killed the Mega Beasts was Man; early human hunters could have made light work of these huge creatures using primitive but deadly weapons. Others disagree. They say that climate was the killer: at the end of the Ice Age, huge floods and devastating droughts could have wiped out an army of giant mammals. Now there s a compelling new theory. According to Professor Ross MacPhee Curator of Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History, what killed the Mega Beasts was a hyper virulent disease. This two hour special will bring to life the Mega Beasts from all over the globe, using the very latest computer graphics to give a real sense of what they were like. We recreate these huge mammals where they fell, and enact the dramatic scenarios of their dying moments against a background of changing landscapes and human predation. We follow the leading scientists from around the globe to the places where these creatures lived and died. Ross MacPhee is joined by eminent palaeontologist Dr Luis Borerro in the ancient ground sloth caves of Patagonia to collect samples of preserved sloth dung. The giant beaver s last stand is exclusively revealed in a cave in Ohio. In New Zealand, Professor Richard Holdaway excavates a newly discovered giant Moa grave beneath a vineyard. And eminent paleo-ecologist Dr David Burney takes us on a journey to Madagascar to uncover the fate of the huge gorilla-sized lemur. Virologists and vets from Africa to Australia also join this global quest to discover What killed the Mega Beasts?
Prehistoric Assassins (Blood in the Water)
Millions of years ago, the earth s vast oceans were home to some of the fiercest and strangest creatures to ever roam the planet. Among them were a giant bone-jawed beast with a bite force three times that of a Great White shark, a monstrous six-foot sea scorpion with as many killing tools as a Swiss Army knife, and a massive marine predator whose neck, several times the length of a giraffe's, let it ambush and pick off whole schools of fish. While these terrifying monsters no longer rule the seas, the weapons they pioneered still show up in unexpected places.
Rise of the Feathered Dragon (Rise of the Feathered Dragon)
Perhaps the most significant paleontological discovery of the last 25 years hails from the famed "feathered dinosaur" quarries of Liaoning, China. This site has produced and abundance of specimens that link the evolution of dinosaurs and birds.