Series: Animal Armageddon
is a 2009 Speculative Documentary
series that aired on Animal Planet
. Each episode (there are eight in total, although the DVD only includes the first four) focuses on a different extinction event in Earth's history (although there are two episodes about the end of the Cretaceous, because, you know, dinosaurs
). The basic plot is that several creatures are shown before the extinction occurs, and that only a few of those shown will survive the extinction event. It also features cutaway scenes of paleontologists talking about the extinctions and apocalyptic quotes from The Bible
and other sources.
Provides Examples Of:
- Always a Bigger Fish: After killing a juvenile hadrosaur, two Troodon are driven from their kill by a Tyrannosaurus.
- Anachronism Stew: It's played straight, but only true paleobuffs will notice it.
- More noticeable in "The Great Dying", which somehow put the crocodile-like Proterosuchus and the mammal ancestor Thrinaxodon in the Permian, while they are known only from the later Triassic.
- What's Staurikosaurus doing at the very end of the Triassic?
- Gigantopithecus 74,000 years ago. It went extinct a good 300,000 years ago.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Subverted. Hey, any species will commit cannibalism in the face of extinction.
- Apocalypse How: The basic premise of the series. Generally, the scope is planetary, along with major species extinction. A future with societal disruption or societal collapse is implied, with regards to humanity.
- Artistic License – Paleontology: Their tears might prevent them from getting a clear view at those awful CGI critters. To list some problems besides their hideousness:
- Naked raptors and troodonts. The raptors do have some feathers, but not nearly enough.
- Elephant-legged ceratopsians and sauropods, as well as incorrect hand posture on the carnivorous dinosaurs.
- Sauropods with their nostrils on the top of their head. A widespread image, but science shows it's wrong.
- And "Phobosuchus" should be called Deinosuchus, and it went extinct noticeably before the end of the Cretaceous.
- Not to mention a 20-ton mosasaur?!?
- And a 20,000-ton Dunkleosteus??!!??
- Perhaps they meant 20,000 pound?
- Bad Ass: There's always at least one in each episode, with straight-shelled nautiloids in the Ordovician, Dunkleosteus in the Devonian, gorgonopsians in the Permian, tyrannosaurs and mosasaurs in the Cretaceous, cave lions in the Ice Age and humans in the modern world. And they're typically the ones that go extinct first.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Sea scorpions in the first episode and the giant (1-foot-long) cockroaches in the last episode.
- Camera Abuse: When the gorgonopsian kills a Lystrosaurus, the camera is splattered with blood.
- Crapsack World: Goes hand in hand with the extinction events.
- Documentary Of Lies: Usually averted, but it's played straight in the episode about the Triassic-Jurassic extinction. It claims that the Triassic extinction (which, while bad, wasn't going to do much more than wipe out most of the larger animals) nearly wiped out all life on Earth and turned Earth into a new Mars.
- Downer Ending: A given, seeing that Apocalypse How is the main point of the series.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The survivors of the extinction.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Three of the episodes feature these great reptiles, with cameo appearances in the eighth episode.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Gigantopithecus 226,000 years after they went extinct.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: They survived the Cretaceous extinction event.
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Nautiloids and ammonites.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Quite a number, but the Lystrosaurus and young hadrosaur stand out. In the first case, a gorgonopsian bites down on its neck, spurting blood on the camera. However, the gorgonopsian's jaw structure means that he can only shear off one piece of meat, leaving an enormous pool of blood. What's left of the lystrosaur is scavenged by the protomammal Thrinaxodon. As for the hadrosaur, it is attacked by two Troodon who fail to actually kill it. They are chased away by a Tyrannosaurus rex, who slits the hadrosaur's throat and eats its foot.
- Feathered Fiend: A scantily feathered Velociraptor (with the model also used for Dromaeosaurus) and naked Troodon (with the model also used for Byronosaurus).
- Foregone Conclusion
- From Bad to Worse: Repeatedly at the end of the Permian and Cretaceous.
- Giant Flyer: The ever-popular Quetzalcoatlus.
- Gorn: Mostly averted. This is a noticeably less gory documentary than Jurassic Fight Club and Monsters Resurrected. However, it's played straight in "The Great Dying", when a gorgonopsian rather brutally kills and eats a Lystrosaurus.
- Grand Finale: Mankind nearly goes extinct in the last episode.
- Mega Neko: The cave lion. The "Sumatran leopard" and the pumas may qualify.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Lystrosaurus in Kansas. It's never been found in the Americas.
- Staurikosaurus in North America. It never made it outside South America.
- Eudimorphodon and Megazostrodon, on a related note. Eudimorphodon only lived in Europe and Megazostrodon only lived in South Africa.
- Elasmotherium in the jungles of Sumatra. It lived on the tundra of Asia and Europe.
- Giant leopards are not known from Sumatra.
- Outrun the Fireball: Episodes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, with implied Outrun the Fireballs in episodes 2 (or is it Outswim the Fireball?) and 8.
- Panthera Awesome: The cave lions, pumas and "Sumatran leopard".
- Prehistoric Monster: Not the worst case, but not a realistic portrayal either.
- Ptero Soarer: Almost avoided with their Quetzalcoatlus. They flap their wing membranes a bit too fast. So close!
- Their Eudimorphodon nearly made the cut, too. In one scene, however, it's shown to be bipedal. Damn!!
- Raptor Attack: A half-arsed Velociraptor with the wrong skull shape and a pair of naked Troodon that take down a subadult hadrosaur.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The extinctions all qualify, with the most literal examples ever at the end of the Cretaceous and the hypothetical future.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: In "The Next Extinction", after humanity hides underground to survive an asteroid strike, in cities, rats grow to the size of dogs.
- Rule of Cool: Several less cool and more plausible theories are abandoned in favor of cooler, less likely ones. This is especially noticeable in the Ordovician episode.
- The show definitely has a bias for showing the bigger and more odd looking animals, range and chronology be damned.
- Sea Monster: Straight nautiloids, eurypterids, ''Dunkleosteus'' and mosasaurs.
- Seldom Seen Species: A healthy variety. Astraspis, straight-shelled nautiloids, eurypterids, Tiktaalik, Materpiscis, Bothriolepis, Purgatorius, gorgonopsians, Thrinaxodon, Proterosuchus, Eudimorphodon, Rutiodon, Desmatosuchus, Staurikosaurus, Megazostrodon, and Stegodon.
- Shown Their Work: All of the talking heads. Hey, they even got Mathew Wedel (and unlike in another show, he wasn't quote mined!).
- Small Taxonomy Pools: Gorgeously averted. Astraspis? Materpiscis? Proterosuchus? Desmatosuchus? Purgatorius? Stegodon? What shows have these?
- Speculative Documentary
- Stock Dinosaurs: Not that many, compared to the rest of the cast. Among the great stock dinosaurs, there's Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, and the woolly mammoth. Among the semi-stock dinosaurs, there's hadrosaurs. Among the rare stock dinosaurs, there's mosasaurs.
- Stock Sound Effect: One roar is used for the Triceratops, Velociraptor, Quetzalcoatlus, Dicynodon, and Elasmotherium.
- Tyrannosaurus rex: And its Asian relative Tarbosaurus.
- The Hunter Becomes The Hunted: Before the Ordovician extinction, the eurypterids are easy prey for the straight nautiloids. During the extinction, the latter becomes smaller, turning the tables.
- In the grip of the Great Dying, the wolf-like gorgonopsians, the top predators before the extinction, are easy prey for the aquatic Proterosuchus.
- The Magic Goes Away