Dragons? Dinosaurs? David Attenborough? If any one of those D-words piques your interest, I urge you not to miss Attenborough and the Sea Dragon.
This fascinating, new hour-long documentary opens the 2019 season of Nature on PBS, tonight, Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET. (Check local listings for air times and repeat broadcasts in your region.)
Naturalist Sir David Attenborough’s passion for the prehistoric is infectious as he timelines and assists in the discovery and reconstruction of a new species of Ichthyosaur, an air-breathing fish lizard. While dinosaurs foraged on land, this “sea dragon” ruled the ocean for more than 150 million years and died out around 90 million years ago.
Zeroing in on the fossil rich beaches and limestone cliffs lining the southeast coast of England (aka the Jurassic Coast), Sir David tags along with British archaeologist and fossil hunter Chris Moore and his associates as they meticulously excavate and reassemble the skeleton and rare fossilized skin fragments of their exciting new find.
Moore’s team determines, via forensic evidence and 3D reconstruction, that this new species of Ichthyosaur was approximately 15 feet long and shared evolutionary roots and physical attributes with such present-day sea mammals and reptiles as dolphins, sharks and crocodiles.
There is also a murder most foul to solve as Sir David and Chris Moore question the sea dragon’s decapitation and violent bone crushing cause of death. Sir David introduces us to the probable culprit, the Temnodontosaurus, one of the largest Ichthyosaurs known to have grown up to 33 feet long. Its huge size, enormous eyes and razor-sharp teeth made it a formidable predator and threat to more diminutive sea creatures, including those within its own species.
Even if you’ve aged out of the Dinotopia and Jurassic Park film franchises, it’s impossible to resist Sir David Attenborough’s enthusiasm for the origins and attributes of prehistoric creatures that once prevailed on land and sea. Produced and directed by Sally Thomson, and hosted by the ageless Sir David, Attenborough and the Sea Dragon is a BBC Studios production for PBS and BBC with THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC.
The hour-long documentary debuts on the PBS Nature series tonight, Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET. (Check local listings for air times and repeat broadcasts in your region and http://www.pbs.org/nature for online streaming, DVD and Blu-Ray availability.) –Judith Trojan