Reviewbr> "Sauropods dominate the late Jurassic, and it will be millions of years before new dinosaur herbivores evolve to replace them. With their passing, life will never again be this large.“ - Kenneth Branagh
It's 150 million years BC and we are in the Triassic. The early dinosaurs, seen last episode, have been replaced by supersized ones. It's the age of the titans and the largest land animals to ever walk the planet dominate the forests and plains of Pangaea.
We are in modern day "Colorado", which sort of looks like both Tasmania and New Zealand, and it's the wet season. Pangaea is in the process of breaking apart to form multiple continents, trapping vast inland seas.
Kenneth introduces us to Diplodocus, the longest land animal to ever evolve on the planet. We spend about half the episode with the first year in the life of a Diplodocus female, and follow her trials and tribulations as she hides deep in the forest. As she grows in size she, and her crache mates, must venture into more open areas that brings them to the notice of the predators of the period.
We also get a brief introduction to a Stegosaur, a large herbivore, and a pair of Allosaur, the lions of the period. The Stegosaur is notable for its lethal spiked tail, small brain capacity, and its ability to flush blood into its back plates to ward off predators. The Allosaur are sort of larger, more clumsy Coelophysis (see last review), and look more related to T-Rex than raptors are.
Interesting enough, for those of us remotely into the whole dino thing, Diplodocus brings to the table its own microenvironment due to the sheer bulk of the animal. The mega herbivores, “talk about your upsizing“, keep the plains clear of trees by knocking them over to get at the ferns growing between tree trunks. So an early example of land felling that possibly has some of our greener members not so happy with Diplodocus. Each animal in the herd is home to a myriad of insects, predatory damselflies, and a small pterosaur called Agnurognathus, who lives, feeds, and breeds on the back and side of Diplodocus. Talk about living off the dino's back!
The sheer scale of things here will amaze, the BBC have kicked a major with this documentary series
Kenneth takes time out of his hectic schedule of keeping up with the sauropod herd activities to spend time with the instantly recognisable dung beetle. Not that I've spent hours of research on them. The beetles spend their lives cleaning up after Diplodocus, one would imagine a laborious and not very pleasant task, but fit themselves out for the role of sanitary worker to the elephants of the African Savannah a few centuries down the track.
Before I forget, our young female Diplodocus has been happy enough growing on the bounty of the forest but is finding it hard to move about freely due to increased body dimensions. See what happens when you have that extra slice of cake ladies. Mother Nature, however, steps in to lend a hand and move our Diplodocus on with her life cycle. A fire has started somewhere to the south in the forest and the flames look to be heading in this direction. The female Diplodocus and two of her crache manage to lumber to the plains in order to escape the firestorm raging in the forest, and are lucky to make it judging by the sounds of other trapped forest dwellers and the burnt carcasses we discover the next morning.
Eventually two of the large juvenile dinos will join a herd and achieve relative safety.
Highlights of episode two include an encounter between a crache of adolescent Diplodocus, a Stegosaur, and a pair of Allosaur in a narrow green canyon, about as much dino porn as you can handle, and the all singing, pooing, and farting adult Diplodocus. That really is a large amount of poo for the poor beetles to be getting through.
Fundo Word on the street
"The six episodes are propaganda pieces for evolution as much as they are a way to present the fascinating topic of dinosaurs. The producers of the programs are certainly aware that in the United States, almost one half of Americans believe in the creation account of origins, and that the creation happened within the last 10,000 years. Because that scenario is so contrary to evolutionary dinosaur history, the Discovery Channel/BBC appears to be intentionally using this series to promote a worldview that is anti-biblical."¯
Okay, let's break this bollocks down into more manageable chunks and try and avoid similar blanket statements to those made in the above paragraph. Once again I would point out this isn't an attack on Christians, some of my best friends etc, but is an open attack on the Fundamentalist movement.
"Propaganda pieces for evolution" Well, in so far as Tim Haines and crew are attempting a natural history explanation of how dinosaurs may have lived based on the available evidence and accepted theory of evolution, as opposed to lose interpretation of a book of vague memories twisted out of all shape by fanatics with closed minds.
"In the United States, almost one half of Americans believe in the creation account of origins" Well there's no stopping ignorance if people don't want to learn. I wonder what the percentage of "Creationists" ¯would be in San Francisco, New York City, and Boston? I would imagine well under 50%. Don't bring statistics into things, specially if you don't cite sources, because they are infinitely malleable to support whatever case you want them to support. Beside, the BBC are a British organisation, so why should they be swayed by the opinions in a foreign market?
"The creation happened within the last 10,000 years" Well not according to carbon dating, the sheer age of the planet, and the fossil record. Is the world flat as well and at the centre of the universe? Do you have any facts to support your case or once again is this blind fanatical distortion of the facts to fit a warped world view.
"The Discovery Channel/BBC appears to be intentionally using this series to promote a worldview that is anti-biblical." Strangely I thought the Fundos were doing this by claiming a world view based on the teachings of one book, in the face of contrary hard scientific data. Once again that ignorance thing, friends and neighbours.
Episode two of this excellent documentary series was perhaps a tad more conservative than the first episode, this could of cause be due to the slow nature of the stars of Time of the Titans. I once again enjoyed myself immensely and found out a whole bunch of stuff I didn't know, the mark of a good documentary end of day. Really looking forward to the next episode, where we spend a day at the beach.
We may be in the position of having to import a few of the other entries in the Walking With series. A number of the stand alones were not released in Australia, and Walking With Beasts appears to be only available as an abridged movie length version. What insanity is going down there! Don't worry your fearless critter hunters will bag the extra goodness and we will bring you a complete episode guide.
Time of the Titans backs up New Blood on the production front and also on the interest side of the fossil. We're talking mega-dinos farting here, who hasn't spent there entire life waiting to hear that happen? Well okay that might be just me, but am highlighting how down and dirty Tim Haines is going to get with this series. Take a walk on the wild side, but be careful you don't step in something nasty!