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 relatively than a sort of habitat, within the closing 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 bought 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 truthful sufficient, and fairly welcome, however did typically go away me clamouring to see extra of ‘the same old’. The second sequence actually scratched that peculiar itch of mine, and – naturally – in type.
Swamps featured a Tyrannosaurus pair looking Edmontosaurus below the duvet of darkness, transferring stealthily due to cushioned toe pads and having fun with wonderful evening imaginative and prescient owing to their exceptionally giant eyes (the point out of which felt like a rebuke to sure palaeontologists). There’s been some controversy lately over the probability of co-ordinated looking in numerous theropod teams, together with tyrannosaurs, which had relatively reptilian-looking brains; the exhausting proof in favour has additionally been criticised as being slightly flimsy. Nonetheless, and as I’m certain the consultants for Prehistoric Planet would level out, modern-day reptiles are able to surprisingly refined behaviours that had been missed 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 shortly 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 fun of seeing these animals delivered to life on this present is the results of the superlative efforts of varied artists in numerous fields, however within the case of the Tyrannosaurus I’d prefer to notably reward the animators. Every 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.
A lot of very good 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 fantastically achieved. Tyrannosaurus is proven standing its floor towards a single large pterosaur, however skulking away when mobbed by two of them, relatively than danger severe harm. You already know, like an actual animal would.
That’s most likely sufficient about Tyrannosaurus, although. I used to be pleased 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 residing 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, relatively than the pseudo-cheeks seen on different ornisthiscian dinosaurs. I do ponder whether there was any explicit motive for this, past merely ‘why not?’ (And why not certainly? Dinosaurs had 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 usually, the dialogue on the perform of such anatomical peculiarities is boiled right 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 could most likely be Oceans. Which isn’t to say that it was dangerous by any means, but it surely positively held my consideration the least. Maybe a results of my private disinterest in marine reptiles in comparison with dinosaurs (sorry Adam), however there we go. As with the terrestrially stalking azhdarchids, it felt like we’d seen lots 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 relatively ‘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 Useless, however nature’s messy and sometimes relatively merciless.
Regardless, it was great 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 indicate up, but it surely didn’t – solely to seem within the North America episode, as an alternative. Not that it mattered – truly, I used to be pleased to see it seem as I’d assumed it had merely been seemed over. (Silly of me!)
That the sequence ended with the North America episode could also be vital. It was nearly a Best Hits summation of Prehistoric Planet thus far – that includes the very best Tyrannosaurus seen on display, large pterosaurs, spectacular Triceratops clashes, and visually placing snowy scenes through which Nanuqsaurus raced after its prey (Ornithomimus, this time). Oh, and loads of beautiful feathered dinosaurs too. Might 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 superb normal thus far that the considered the group’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 out a T. rex in sight.