Whereas the primary two episodes of Prehistoric Planet 2 took us to the Islands and Badlands, the ultimate three transport the viewer to Swamps, Oceans and, er, North America. Why the sudden change of theme, to a continental locale slightly than a kind of habitat, within the last episode? It hardly issues, I suppose, if it means we get to see extra of Prehistoric Planet‘s completely incredible T. rex. What’s extra, on this sequence, I lastly obtained what I actually needed…
…That’s, an enormous tyrannosaur looking and taking down its prey. Hooray! There appeared to be a concerted effort within the first sequence to depict dinosaurs (andotherprehistoricanimals) exhibiting uncommon, speculative (however believable) behaviours, the likes of which hadn’t actually been seen earlier than. Which was honest sufficient, and fairly welcome, however did typically depart me clamouring to see extra of ‘the standard’. The second sequence actually scratched that peculiar itch of mine, and – naturally – in model.
Swamps featured a Tyrannosaurus pair looking Edmontosaurus beneath the duvet of darkness, transferring stealthily due to cushioned toe pads and having fun with wonderful night time imaginative and prescient owing to their exceptionally massive eyes (the point out of which felt like a rebuke to sure palaeontologists). There’s been some controversy in recent times over the chance of co-ordinated looking in numerous theropod teams, together with tyrannosaurs, which had slightly reptilian-looking brains; the arduous proof in favour has additionally been criticised as being a bit of flimsy. Nevertheless, and as I’m positive the consultants for Prehistoric Planet would level out, modern-day reptiles are able to surprisingly refined behaviours that have been ignored by researchers for a very long time.
In any case, one tyrannosaur driving prey into the trail of one other doesn’t appear in any respect implausible. I loved the best way the predators moved rapidly to dispatch the prey with their big jaws; as soon as a T. rex has sunk its tooth into your neck, you’re just about completed. As ever, a lot of the joys of seeing these animals dropped at life on this present is the results of the superlative efforts of assorted artists in numerous fields, however within the case of the Tyrannosaurus I’d prefer to notably reward the animators. Each time a T. rex takes a step, swings its head ahead or snaps its jaws on this present, one completely believes it – believes on this animal as an actual creature. It seems heavy and considerably stiff and ponderous, however highly effective.
Quite a lot of excellent touches are additionally utilized to the characterisation of the T. rex, from the best way one particular person nudges one other to get it transferring, to the grumpy snapping of jaws at undesirable troodontids hanging round an Alamosaurus carcass. A confrontation with Quetzalcoatlus, which featured within the North America episode, was superbly finished. Tyrannosaurus is proven standing its floor towards a single large pterosaur, however skulking away when mobbed by two of them, slightly than threat severe damage. , like an actual animal would.
That’s in all probability sufficient about Tyrannosaurus, although. I used to be joyful to see the return of Beelzebufo in Swamps in a very entertaining sequence, in addition to a pair of newcomers, Austroraptor and Pachycephalosaurus. The latter is depicted dwelling in an arid setting and never a swamp, however by no means thoughts. What most intrigued me about its design was that it featured lizardy lips, slightly than the pseudo-cheeks seen on different ornisthiscian dinosaurs. I do wonder if there was any explicit purpose for this, past merely ‘why not?’ (And why not certainly? Dinosaurs have been a various bunch, you already know.) Pachycephalosaurus domes are depicted as show options in addition to weapons, a precept that can also be utilized to the horns of Triceratops within the North America episode, which I actually like. Too typically, the dialogue on the perform of such anatomical peculiarities is boiled all the way down to what looks like a false dichotomy. Why can’t they be used as weapons and used for wooing mates?
If this season had a very weak episode for me, it might in all probability be Oceans. Which isn’t to say that it was dangerous by any means, but it surely undoubtedly held my consideration the least. Maybe a results of my private disinterest in marine reptiles compared with dinosaurs (sorry Adam), however there we go. As with the terrestrially stalking azhdarchids, it felt like we’d seen a variety of it earlier than, even when that breaching Mosasaurus did look actually cool. Oceans additionally made me lastly realise what precisely it was that had appeared to be lacking in different episodes – blood. A bloody nice Xiphactinus was proven chomping on a Hesperornis with not a lot as a drop of blood to be seen within the water. All of it appeared slightly ‘clear’. A really minor criticism, particularly because it was such a incredible sequence, however one which may be utilized to the present extra broadly. Nobody’s anticipating Evil Lifeless, however nature’s messy and sometimes slightly merciless.
Regardless, it was fantastic that ammonites had their time within the highlight, and there was an emphasis on the range of ammonites that hasn’t actually been seen earlier than in palaeo-documentaries. These paperclip-looking ones (Diplomoceras) even featured, bless ’em. Given the emphasis on ammonites, I used to be very a lot anticipating the mosasaur Globidens to point out up, but it surely didn’t – solely to look within the North America episode, as a substitute. Not that it mattered – really, I used to be joyful to see it seem as I’d assumed it had merely been appeared over. (Silly of me!)
That the sequence ended with the North America episode could also be vital. It was nearly a Biggest Hits summation of Prehistoric Planet thus far – that includes the perfect Tyrannosaurus seen on display screen, large pterosaurs, spectacular Triceratops clashes, and visually placing snowy scenes wherein Nanuqsaurus raced after its prey (Ornithomimus, this time). Oh, and loads of beautiful feathered dinosaurs too. May it maybe be an indication that, ought to it return, Prehistoric Planet will transfer on from Very Late Cretaceous ecosystems? I can solely hope so. The present has been of such a wonderful commonplace thus far that the considered the crew’s consideration being turned to different Mesozoic – and even non-Mesozoic – settings is very tantalising, to say the least. Right here’s to a 3rd season – with no T. rex in sight.