Dinosaur Planet (TV series)

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Dinosaur Planet
Starring Scott D. Sampson
Narrated by Christian Slater
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 4
Executive producer(s) Jean Raymond Bourque
Tomi Bednar Landis
Pierre de Lespinois
Fran LoCascio
Frances LoCascio
Paul Nightingale
Producer(s) John Copeland
Running time 50 minutes
Original channel Discovery Channel
Original release December 14, 2003

Dinosaur Planet, not to be confused with Planet Dinosaur, is a four-part American nature documentary first aired on Discovery Channel in 2003. It was hosted by Scott Sampson, narrated by Christian Slater and art directed by Mark Walters.

Dinosaur Planet depicts dinosaurs living in various parts of the world (Asia, North America, South America and Europe) 80 million years ago, using CGI (just like Discovery Channel's earlier When Dinosaurs Roamed America and BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs).

White Tip's Journey[edit]

In the vast deserts of Prehistoric Mongolia during the Cretaceous time zone, a lone female Velociraptor, White Tip, is walking across the barren dunes. She once lived with other raptors in a group but another pack of raptors attacked her group and all her fellow pack members were massacred by the rival Velociraptor. Only White Tip escaped alive, and she must find a new group. She tries to hunt a small pachycephalosaurid dinosaur called Prenocephale, but fails, as she cannot efficiently hunt without other raptors to back her up. She then turns to hunt smaller prey such as a lizard.

During one of her hunts, White Tip hears the screams of an Oviraptor flock and heads to the location. When she gets there, the Oviraptor turn out to be in a mating ritual, where a young male tries to seduce the female with its brilliant plumage, but his tactics fail and the female leaves. Then an older male arrives and drives it away. The enraged Oviraptor then takes its anger out on White Tip, who runs away.

A moment later, White Tip stumbles into a shallow valley of Protoceratops nest where she is chased away by an old male ceratopsian guarding his mate and clutch of eggs. Luckily, the bull chases her into the territory of another male Protoceratops, who challenges, and duels the intruder. The old bull is outclassed by the other bull Protoceratops in a head-butting match, and is driven off. The older Protoceratops limps away, bleeding and disorientated. White Tip finishes the bull off and begins its meal. While she eats, the smell of blood attracts a small pack of other Velociraptor, led by an alpha male, Broken Hand, who had injured one of his arms in an earlier battle. White Tip realizes the pack is strong, and tries to joins them. However, the other male in the pack, Blue Brow, shows curiosity first, and, taking it as a sign of an attempt to change authority, Broken Hand suddenly shows aggression towards the Blue Brow, knocking White Tip out of the way. A fight ensues with Blue Brow winning, and Broken Hand flees. Blue Brow is the new raptor alpha and allows White Tip to join the pack as his mate.

White Tip pounces on one and tries to wound it, but gets thrown off and onto the ground by the bucking ceratopsian. Blue Brow takes on another Protoceratops, a strong male. The male raptor lunges and tries to wrestle the male to the ground, but his wrist is crushed by the Protoceratops's beak but not before Blue Brow buries one of his large foot claws into the dinosaur's stomach. The raptor pulls free the and the dinosaurs prepare to battle again but the heavy rain from the storm has weakened the dunes above them and as the dune collapses in on itself, a landslide buries Blue Brow and the Protoceratops, along with the two female raptors, whilst White Tip and the other Protoceratops watch as their fellows die. White Tip, once again, is left without a pack, but this time, she returns to her offspring, and raises her young as new additions to form her own pack. Later on, Blue Brow and the Protoceratops he died with, will become the famous Fighting Dinosaurs fossil.

Pod's Travels[edit]

In prehistoric southern Europe, lush forest covers a large island where several dinosaur species live out their existence,. One of them is Pod, a male Pyroraptor, and his two pack members, his two siblings. Their species relies on their brain power and intelligence to survive as they are lithe and fairly small but agile. The island has recently been hit by a series of seismic shockwaves that triggered minor earthquakes, suddenly one hits. The earth shakes and some debris falls down. The forest trembles and grazing sauropods pause their feasting to wait for the end of the tremors. The shaking startles Pod and his sisters, but the earthquake soon stops without causing injury to any of the inhabitant dinosaurs.

Agitated, the leader defeats the intruder by knocking him to the ground. The wounded male flounders on the ground but then a pack of Allodaposuchus emerge from the depths. The prehistoric crocodiles kill the wounded dinosaur and begin to feast. Attracted by the scent of fresh blood Pod walks over, scares the crocodiles off and begins to eat. While Pod is resting after his meal, the Allodaposuchus attempt to snag the leftovers, only to squabble over it with a flock of trodons. Pod wakes up, devours his last piece of meat and heads off to resume his mission.

Later, in an attempt to find members of his own kind, Pod climbs to the top of a towering cliff and shrieks, trying to get a response. He then hear his own echo, and believes it is another Pyroraptor. A pack of Bradycneme hear the cries, and respond. Pod approaches the group and displays the killing claws on his hind feet. To his shock, they show signs of submission. He walks away, and the curious troodontids follow. They later join him as a pack and he is their leader.

As Pod walks through the forest with the Bradycneme following him, he finds a trio of dwarf Tarascosaurus - 2 females and a male - feeding on a dead Magyarosaurus. Pod realize that the reason he was not the apex predator on his home island was because he was the smallest hunter on that island, here through, he is the largest and most savage dinosaur of all. So he confronts the male Tarascosaur. Pod makes a leap, kills the male Tarascosaurus with his sickle claw and he and his troodontid companions scare the females away, and realize that they have become the apex predators on the island. He returns to the beach and finds the log that saved him, scaring some birds off as well. He stays on the island for good, claiming it as his empire.

Little Das' Hunt[edit]

In prehistoric Montana in the Late Cretaceous era, huge grasslands and patches of forest cover the region and the area is bordered by active volcanoes. The Rocky Mountains are being formed with numerous, minor volcanic eruptions.

In the highlands, a herd of Orodromeus are grazing on the long grasses sprouting from the nutrient-rich volcanic soil. As they graze, a trio of hunting Troodon watch from behind the trees and ready themselves to lunge at the herd. But before they can do so, the lookout dinosaur spots them and wails a distress call. The dinosaurs flee in terror and move incredibly fast as the Troodon chase after them. However, the predators are forced to slow down on a rocky hill covered in small boulders because they can't afford to break their foot claws in such a reckless race. Suddenly, the ground shakes as a deadly blast of superheated water smashes through the ground as a geyser, propelling one of the Troodons into the air. It then crashes down dead, having died instantly upon impact. Their hunt ends with disastrous results, and the remaining Troodon turn and retreat as other gesyers punch up through the air everywhere.

Meanwhile, in the lowlands, a herd of Maiasaura are walking across the plains. Two younger animals, Buck and Blaze, decide to wander away from their herd to forage on the slopes. Suddenly, they are confronted by Little Das, a young Daspletosaurus, who begins to chase them further away from the herd, who occasionally watch as they move along. Das's older sisters then chase Buck and Blaze towards their mother, who appears from the trees and bites Buck deep on his right back leg. Because of his boundless excitement, Little Das accidentally slams into its mother; she stumbles and her jaws lose their hold on the struggling dinosaur, allowing the Maiasaura to return to their herd. Das gets to his feet, and his mother bites him in anger. The other Daspletosaurus also growl at him.

The next day, worrying that Das will ruin the hunt, Das' mother and sisters leave him in a grove of trees. When Das can't find them he goes searching and finds a herd of Einiosaurus, horned dinosaurs, grazing on the plains. Thinking he is a scout for an older Daspletosaurus, the Einiosaurs stampede, alerting the Maiasaura to the danger, and Little Das yet again ruins the hunt as she had been just about to ambush the herd. Meanwhile, the highland animals – Orodromeus, Troodon and flying pterosaurs such as Quetzalcoatlus – are beginning to see signs of the inevitable volcanic explosion. The water inside the lake the Orodromeus herd drink from is boiling, and one of the Quetzalcoatlus nesting grounds are demolished by geysers that erupt out of the ground as the cliffside collapses. The pterosaurs all launch off and fly away to get to new nesting grounds. Only the pterosaurs will escape and survive the approaching fiery eruption as they will until the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

We then shift 7 million years forward in time. Most of life is sustained again as the eruptions have ceased. Most dinosaurs have evolved. Maiasaura has evolved into Edmontosaurus, and Daspletosaurus has evolved into Tyrannosaurus rex. The story then ends as a young Tyrannosaurus rex and its mother look down upon on a herd of Edmontosaurus, including an immature one. The conflict between them continues the stories of their ancient ancestors: Buck and Das.

Alpha's Egg[edit]

The episode starts with a herd of Saltasaurus, all of them female, heading for their nesting grounds. Alpha, a young heifer, is making the trip for the first time since she was born. The narrator explains that their only protection is their numbers and size. Saltasaurus aren't the only dinosaurs in the area, however: Aucasaurus lurk in the forests as well. Dragonfly, a teenage male, and his mate have been drawn by a corpse of a dead saltasaur. Knowing that no one's around, they walk over and eat. However, a pair of Carcharodontosaurus appear from the shadows and ruin their lunch, much to Dragonfly's dismay.

Approaching the hatching period, the nesting ground is still guarded by a couple of female Saltasaurus, keeping some potential plunderers off the nests. One of these, an Alvarezsaurus, pecks at an egg while pushing Alpha's away. However, a crocodile, Notosuchus, scares the plunderer off, and pokes a hole in Alpha's egg, only to be fended off by an adult Saltasaurus. Alpha is the first of her nest to hatch.

Meanwhile in the forest, a young Aucasaurus, Dragonfly, is also born. His mother hears some rustling from the bushes, and a male Aucasaurus appears. She bares her teeth and hisses at him. The male is her mate, and he soothes her by inflating his throat pouch. While the parents takes a nap, her babies have some fun. Dragonfly, the oldest, is goofing off with a dragonfly. He tries to grab it, but misses. Dragonfly will become a main enemy to Alpha.

Some time later, the mating season ensues, and Alpha is in heat. One young bull attempts to try his luck, but the older bull, who is the leader of the herd, challenges him to a duel: this involves shouting, followed by necking (a la modern Giraffes) and headbutting. The younger bull wins the duel and mates with Alpha. After the mating season ends, the herd heads toward the grasslands. On the way, Alpha, watching a stalking Dragonfly rather than the ground in front of her, nearly trips on a log and sprains her wrist. Soon after, the heard passes through the grasslands, but watching them from the shadows are a pair of Carcharadontosaurus. In spite of her sprained wrist, Alpha manages to outpace a sick, older female, who is mauled and devoured by the Carcharadontosaurs. Meanwhile, Dragonfly finds a female Aucasaur around his age and attempts to seduce her by inflating his throat pouch, but she at first refuses. However, his persistence and inflatings of his throat pouch finally win her heart, and they become mates.

Soon, the herd reaches the nesting ground where the story began, and lay their eggs. But, after their nests are complete, a thunderstorm brews over the plain, and the nesting ground is in ruins. Following the deluge, the unborn Saltasaurus babies drown.

Later, as Alpha looks for a spot to eat, she senses Dragonfly and his mate nearby and readies herself for a duel with them. Dragonfly bares his teeth and goes for an attack. Alpha headbutts him, whips the female Aucasaurus with her tail, knocking the Aucasaurus off her feet and rendering her unable to get up, and then rams Dragonfly, disorienting him for a short time. He wakes up from his disorientation and clamps his jaws on Alpha's left shoulder, but Alpha loses her balance and falls, crushing Dragonfly's skull under her weight. Alpha then rises to her feet, stares at Dragonfly's lifeless corpse and walks away, having won the duel. The Aucasaur female rises to her feet, having just witnessed the whole thing, and tries to wake Dragonfly up. To her horror, her attempts to awaken Dragonfly fail miserably, and this causes her to throw her head backwards and let loose a loud, mournful howl.

Alpha returns to her herd, and soon makes a full recovery despite her injury. The program ends on a happy note for Alpha, claiming that she will have hundreds of offspring during her hundred-year lifetime.

Related programs[edit]



Primetime Emmy Awards

  • 2004Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) - Patrick Cusack, David Esparza, Sean Rowe, Lisa Varetakis, Michael Payne, Dean Grinsfelder, Stephen P. Robinson, Nancy Nugent and Gregg Barbanell
  • 2004Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) - Mike Olman and Ken Kobett

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