When Dinosaurs Roamed America
|When Dinosaurs Roamed America|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||2|
|Running time||91 minutes|
|Original channel||Discovery Channel|
When Dinosaurs Roamed America (shortened to When Dinosaurs Roamed outside of the U.S.) is a two-hour American television program (produced in the style of a traditional nature documentary) that first aired on Discovery Channel in 2001. It was directed by Pierre de Lespinois and narrated by actor John Goodman (the voice of Rex in We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story and Sulley in "Monsters, inc."). The dinosaurs were designed by Paleo-artist and art director Mark Dubeau, who is also noted for creating dinosaurs on a myriad of other Discovery Channel and National Geographic specials. The dinosaur animation was directed by noted animator Don Waller (RoboCop, King Kong) at Meteor Studios, in Montreal, Canada. The music was composed by Christopher Franke (ex-member from Tangerine Dream).
When Dinosaurs Roamed America premiered to 5 million viewers.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Related programs
- 3 Awards and nominations
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
Late Triassic segment (220 million years ago)
- Mammal (live-acted by an Eastern Quoll)
The program starts in the Late Triassic, near modern-day New York City. The narrator explains how the Permian mass extinction led to new forms of life, including, eventually, the most extraordinary creatures ever to walk the planet, the dinosaurs. The camera tracks a Coelophysis through the woods. The program depicts Coelophysis as preying mainly on small animals, such as insects and Icarosaurus. It encounters other, larger non-dinosaurian archosaurs such as Rutiodon and Desmatosuchus. The quick Coelophysis is portrayed as a very successful inhabitant of this world.
Early Jurassic segment (200 million years ago)
The program moves on to the Early Jurassic of Pennsylvania, showing a pack of Syntarsus.[note 1] These dinosaurs, closely related to Coelophysis, are hunting for the primitive herbivorous dinosaur Anchisaurus, only to be driven away by a Dilophosaurus, which kills the Anchisaurus to feed its young. The narrator then explains Syntarsus and Dilophosaurus will become the gigantic carnivores such as Allosaurus and T. rex, while Anchisaurus will become the sauropods.
Late Jurassic segment (150 million years ago)
The show skips to prehistoric Utah during the Late Jurassic period. The region has been engulfed by a of a severe drought as the season rain has failed to arrive. A predatory Ceratosaurus stalks a family of Dryosaurus, including a mother and two youngsters. The predator eventually breaks cover and charges after the small dinosaurs as they scatter. The Dryosaurs can only flee from the monster but the Ceratosaurus is quicker than they ate and catches up, grabbing and killing one of the juveniles. The ceratosaurus feasts while the others escape into a grove of pine trees and run into a herd of sauropods called Camarasaurus. They will be safe around the gentle giants. A male Stegosaurus fights off the attacking Ceratosaurus, later on using its spiked tail and follows a female stegosaur constantly displaying and flushing blood into its plates. Eventually, the female decides he is a healthy individual and the two mate but have to watch out for the hungry predator Ceratosaurus. The Ceratosaurus is seriously injured in the process. With the onset of the rainy season, a herd of Apatosaurus arrive, followed by a hungry Allosaurus who launches an attack against the herd while the sauropods graze but is unsuccessful due to their size and strength. The allosaur subsequently kills the injured Ceratosaurus and finally is able to feed. Later whilst following its herdmates, one Apatosaurus stumbles over a fallen tree and tumbles off of a sheer, 20 foot high cliff and cripples itself. The sauropod is mortally wounded and its agonized bellowing is picked up by the hungry allosaurs. When the allosaurs arrive they begin to eat the sauropod while it is still alive.
Mid Cretaceous segment (90 million years ago)
The program then shows a forest located in New Mexico during the Middle Cretaceous period. Small predatory coelurosaurs scamper through the foliage and steal pieces of meat from a dead ceratopsian. The smaller cousin of Triceratops had been killed by raptors and the hungry dinosaurs are feasting. The raptors chase off a lone dromaeosaur as it tries to steal some flesh. Thee lone dromaeosaur tries to attack a grazing Nothronychus, only to be slashed by its long claws and knocked over. Uninjured, the raptors retreats An old male Zuniceratops is battling for dominance with a younger but healthier male whilst the herd members look on. The younger dinosaur gores the older herd leader with its right horn, wounding it. The sounds of a battle are picked up by raptors and the hungry creatures follow the sounds to a clearing and watch from the foliage as the battle plays out before attacking.
The injured horned dinosaur is attacked by the pack of dromaeosaurs and is fatally wounded. Another Zuniceratops headbutts the raptor and tosses it off the struggling male. The dromaeosaurs retreat but the old Zuniceratops will not last long in this condition. Weeks later, a thunderstorm blows in and lightning illuminates the darkened skies. Panicked dinosaurs scatter but the old Zuniceratops cannot get up. As it sounds its distress call, the dromaeosaurs return and surround the wounded dinosaur. Just as it is time to finish off the old Zuniceratops, the raptors attack and soon kill it before feasting. Meanwhile, lightning ignites the dry vegetation. Fire springs up, and most of the dinosaurs scatter in all directions. Zuniceratops panic for safety and the nothronychus follows. However, the feasting dromaeosaurs are too distracted by eating and fire surrounds the region. The raptors burn to death along with their prey. But some raptors do flee and make it to safety along with some of the other creatures.
Late Cretaceous segment (65 million years ago)
- Tyrannosaurus rex
- Edmontosaurus (identified as it's synonym Anatotitan)
- Ornithomimus (not identified, revealed on website)
- Purgatorius (live-acted by opossums)
- Turtle (live-acted)
- Bird (live-acted)
- Spider (live-acted)
The program explains that dinosaurs similar to Zuniceratops evolved into the famous Triceratops. In the Late Cretaceous, Anatotitan and Triceratops browse on a rolling grassland bordered by tropical jungle, , while smaller Ornithomimus peck at roots and other plants in the area. Flying pterosaurs such asQuetzalcoatlus soar overhead, looking for carcasses. A young Tyrannosaurus arrives on the scene, and the Triceratops form a defensive circle around the juveniles and display their powerful horns whilst the tyrannosaurus attempts to get through and roars repeatedly but the horned beasts stay to fight instead of fleeing. Unable to get past the horns of the defensive Triceratops, the Tyrannosaurus attacks a Quetzalcoatlus, but the pterosaur launches off and flies away from the hungry dinosaur. The Tyrannosaurus Rex goes back into the trees and the triceratops relax and began to spread out again.
That night, the young tyrannosaurus returns to its parents and the mother Tyrannosaurus bites it for failing to catch its own food. The next day, the young Tyrannosaurus and its four siblings are taught by their mother to hunt. They target a herd of Anatotitan grazing in a forest clearing and after bursting from the trees, the herd scatters and flees, the four tyrannosaurus rex chase after one individual and it runs straight into the forest where the mother emerges from the bushes and grabbing it, kills the hadrosaur by breaking its neck. The tyrannosaurus feast. .
Before they can eat, a huge asteroid, 6 miles across, hurtles towards the planet at 45000 miles an hour and as it enters the atmosphere friction turns it into a blazing missile. The asteroid crosses the ocean in just 4 minutes, crashing into the Gulf of Mexico. The impact gouges out a crater 120 miles wide and sends an incandescent plume of dust, glass and ash into the atmosphere which falls back to earth as fiery debris. The blast wave radiates outward from the impact in a circle and in minutes, everything for hundreds of miles is incinerated by the intense heat or blown apart by the blast wave. Dinosaurs in the region are destroyed in minutes.
in North America, plants and animals suffer a different fate. Some are incinerated by the mounting heat whilst others succumb to shock waves generated by the collision. Fleeing triceratops and anatotitan are caught by the speeding ejecta cloud and destroyed. The feasting Tyrannosaurs watch in horror as a burning blast wave hurtles towards them and flee as pieces of fiery rock rain down. Eventually, all the region's dinosaurs die including the Tyrannosaurus Rex family. A few hours after impact, a heavy cloud of dust and ash settles over America and temperatures drop as sunlight and heat can no longer reach the surface of the planet. Gasses such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide are burned by the heat and are washed out of the atmosphere as acid rain.
Two months after impact, the sun finally reaches the surface as the heavy cloud of ash clears away. The disaster is over, but 90% of all leaf bearing trees, ferns, vines and plants have been obliterated, and 70% of the animals have died out. Most dinosaurs are extinct.
Despite the depressing and traumatic event, life is described as being resilient, and a turtle is shown emerging from the water and a bird flies overhead, explained by the narrator as the only dinosaurs left. Out of the ashes and charred debris, several small possumlike mammals emerge, and the narrator explains that small mammals such as these will eventually evolve into humans and think back in awe to a time "when dinosaurs roamed America".
- Before We Ruled the Earth
- Beyond T-Rex
- Dinosaur Planet (2003)
- Dinosaur Revolution
- Planet Dinosaur (2011)
- The Ultimate Guide: T-Rex
- Valley of the T-Rex
Awards and nominations
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2012)|
- 2002 - Outstanding Sound Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) Michael Payne, David Esparza, Nancy Nugent and Jonathan Wareham (Won)
- 2002 - Outstanding Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or More) Pierre de Lespinois, Fran Lo Cascio, Tomi Bednar Landis, John Copeland, Georgann Kane, and Don Waller (Nominated)
- "THE RATINGS". Entertainment Weekly (607). 3 August 2001. Retrieved 26 December 2011.