Sunday, May 22, 2022

'Prehistoric Planet' previews explore extinct biodiversity on International Day for Biological Diversity

I closed Should the American Bumblebee be placed on the Endangered Species List for World Bee Day and Endangered Species Day? with speculation about what I'd write today.
I'm not done with biodiversity, as Sunday is International Day for Biological Diversity. Maybe I can combine my observance with the Sunday entertainment feature. A survey of currently airing nature series, anyone?
I'm still celebrating biodiversity in entertainment today, but it's ancient biodiversity as I revisit Trailers for 'Prehistoric Planet' and 'Jurassic World: Dominion' for Throwback Thursday beginning with Prehistoric Planet — Official Trailer 2 from Apple TV.

An epic true story about majestic dinosaurs and the habitats they roamed. Begin exploring coasts, deserts, freshwater, ice worlds, and forests May 23 on AppleTV +
Experience the world of dinosaurs like never before in this epic five-night event, from Executive Producer Jon Favreau and the producers of Planet Earth. Featuring David Attenborough, Prehistoric Planet streams on Apple TV+ May 23rd.
I was a big fan of "Walking with Dinosaurs," a sequel to which I mentioned in Infidel 753 and I talk fossils and this show looks like it will be a worthy successor to it. It's been 23 years since that aired and both the science and technology have advanced since then, so the depictions of the dinosaurs and other Mesozoic organisms will reflect both. Besides, I think every generation deserves its own dinosaurs, both real and fictional.

Apple TV uploaded five more previews, one for every night of the "epic five-night event." Follow over the jump to see those.

Apple TV uploaded Prehistoric Planet — Mononykus, The Desert Specialist first.

In Mongolia, rare rain gives rise to a beautiful desert bloom and a sudden bounty for the desert specialist Mononykus. With its owl-like hearing and anteater-like tongue it extracts termites from within a fallen tree.
One of the points I make to my students is that birds are dinosaurs and it's difficult to tell the nearest non-bird dinosaur relatives and birds apart. This reconstruction of Mononykus demonstrates both parts of this point.

Apple TV uploaded Prehistoric Planet — Tuarangisaurus Dive for Pebbles next.

In the waters of Zealandia, mother Tuarangisaurus lead their calves to a special estuary to pick through pebbles, selecting perfect ones to swallow. The stones grind up meals in their stomach, but for the youngsters, swallowing stones isn’t easy.
I'd long known that birds and non-avian dinosaurs used gastroliths, but this is the first time I'd seen plesiosaurs depicted as having them as well. It turns out that the first image in the Wikipedia entry for gastroliths is of plesiosaur gastroliths and representatives of all classes of tetrapods have them, including seals and sea lions among mammals. I didn't know that, either. It's a good day when I learn something new.

Now some pathos in Prehistoric Planet — The Lone Triceratops, Lost in the Darkness.

In North America a herd of Triceratops go deep within a cave system. The journey is perilous — a mother and baby become separated in the darkness.
Now I'm rooting for the calf to find its herd.

Apple TV returns to late Cretaceous Mongolia in Prehistoric Planet — The Deinocheirus Hunts for the Perfect Back Scratcher.

In Asia, a bizarre dinosaur wades through the wetlands. Taller than T. rex but fully feathered, its body is the perfect feeding ground for blood-sucking flies. His claws may be long, but they can’t scratch every itch...
That's probably the funniest moment in the previews, making for a comedic contrast to the clip before it.

I conclude with some standard predator-prey drama in Prehistoric Planet — The Pachyrhinosaur’s Last Stand.

A herd of the Arctic’s largest herbivores are stalked by the Ice World’s most powerful predator —Nanuqsaurus. A tense stand-off develops between these ancient rivals and a defiant old bull makes one last desperate stand.
This is a late Cretaceous version of a standoff between musk ox and wolves in the modern Arctic. I'm not surprised, as geology runs off uniformitarianism, the idea that the present is the key to the past.

By the way, all of these scenes are from the latest Cretaceous, indicating that this show is looking at different biomes on the Earth at the same time, unlike "Walking with Dinosaurs," which proceeded through the entire Mesozoic to show how the planet and is organisms changed over time. This makes it more like Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II, which examine different environments on the modern Earth. That's an interesting conceit and one I'm looking forward to watching.

I close by repeating what I wrote last month.
I fully expect multiple Emmy nominations. It, along with "Ted Lasso," might just be enough to get me to subscribe to Apple TV+, especially if I can do so without buying an Apple product.
Since I wrote that, our Internet provider sent my wife and me an offer for a free year of Apple TV+, so we took it. We got frustrated when we could only watch it on our desktops and laptop and cast it to our smart TV, so we bought a brand new Samsung smart TV with the Apple TV app on it. It cost us money to enjoy our free subscription, but we're enjoying our brighter, clearer picture and easier user interface with all of the streaming services we subscribe to and we didn't have to purchase an Apple product to do so. That makes me happy.

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