Arizona, USA- 220 million years B.C. In the blazing Pangaean deserts of the Late Triassic, the first dinosaurs appear. The episode chronicles the fate of a predatory Postosuchus driven from her territory, a herd of Placerias struggling to survive the drought and a couple of cynodonts- early ancestors to modern mammals- trying to protect their young from opportunistic Coelophysis. The dinosaurs have not yet grown into the dominant animals of Earth's ecosystems, but the giant Plateosaurus offers a glimpse of things to come. Written by
Did You Know?
Recent scientific studies reveal that many statements ("facts" and theories alike) described in this episode had been false all along. These new discoveries include:
- The Postosuchus was indeed capable of walking on its hind legs. The program states it could only rear up for a short amount of time.
- For decades, the small dinosaur Coelophysis has been famous of its cannibalistic traits. Newer studies indicate it didn't eat its own kind, and the bone fragments found inside their fossils came from other kind of reptiles, or were simply the remains of smaller Coelophysis that had been crushed by larger ones.
- Plateosaurus could not in fact walk on all fours as the episode tells us. Furthermore, it held its "hands" with the palms facing inward.
Real life Postosuchus most likely did not excrete urine as shown in the program. Rather than releasing a stream of fluid, they got rid of unwanted minerals during defecation. See more
[about the mammal-like reptiles
One day in the future, this strategy of investing in their young will pay off for their mammalian descendants. But as mammals evolve over the next one hundred sixty million years, they will only survive as a few small species, clinging on at the edge of a world dominated by dinosaurs.