Little Das' Hunt: A young and eager Daspletosaurus tries to aid his family on the hunt, but constantly gets in the way, much to the annoyance of his sisters and mother. Has a soul-crushing Downer Ending.
Alpha's Egg: We follow the life of Alpha, a young female Saltasaurus, and her carnivorous adversary, Dragonfly, a male Aucasaurus.
As the above descriptions may tell, the stories seem much more fantasy-like, as opposed to being strictly scientific reenactments of prehistoric life on Earth. The "humanizing" of the dinosaurs doesn't stop at giving them names. The Narrator gives us an insight into their thoughts and feelings, and a large number of plot elements seem to have been lifted straight out of an adventure novel. Does this make the documentary more engaging or rather laughably implausible? That's for the viewer to decide.Not to be confused with the very similarly titled Planet Dinosaur, which is a BBC production or the cancelled Nintendo 64 game of the same name which later became Star Fox Adventures.
The show contains examples of the following tropes:
Bittersweet Ending: Almost every episode has one. White Tip ends up back where she started but with a group of youngsters that need to be taken care of, Alpha survives to adulthood and defeats Dragonfly but all her eggs drown in a flood, while Pod arguably has the happiest ending where he ends up as an apex predator and gets a new pack, but his former pack is still killed off and he'll never be able to interact with his own kind.
Bloodier and Gorier: Than many previous dino-docs. The animators must have been really proud of their blood effects.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: During the Oviraptor mating dance, the narrator says this about the older male: "I gotta give him credit for trying."
Bullet Time: The scene turns to slow-motion as the volcanic eruption obliterates Little Das and his family.
Chekhov's Gunman: Prenocephale first show up when White Tip is trying to survive as a loner and fails to kill one. Later, Broken Hand is killed by some when he attacks them out of desperation after being evicted from the pack.
Expy: T. rex and Edmontosaurus to Daspletosaurus and Maiasaura respectively (as stated in the program), as well as animals that use the same animation models: Alvarezsaurus to Shuvuuia, Notosuchus to Allodaposuchus, Saltasaurus to Magyarosaurus, Aucasaurus to Tarascosaurus, and the island-dwelling dwarf dinosaurs to their mainland counterparts.
Feathered Fiend: Many dinosaurs, including Velociraptor, Oviraptor, Pyroraptor, Troodon, Ichthyornis, Alvarezsaurus and Elopteryx (called "Troodon" in the episode). The Velociraptor and Pyroraptor are portrayed as sympathetic characters, however, and the Elopteryx are also benevolent towards the main character in the episode they're shown in.
Averted by Shuvuuia, which only serves to get eaten by an Oviraptor.
Good Bad Translation: Some dubs, like the Hungarian, got many animal names wrong. Most embarrassingly, the narrator pronounced Magyarosaurus (the word "magyar" being Hungarian for, well, Hungarian) as "Magiasaurus". Moreover, he constantly called the Aucasaurus "Arcosaurus" (which, ironically, would sort of become the name of another genus of abelisaur; Arcovenator), Prenocephale "Prenocephalus" and "Prenocephal", Maiasaura "Mayasaurus", and in one instance referred to White Tip as "White Nose" (the official title of the episode also calls her by this erroneous name).
The Hunter Becomes The Hunted: The Tarascosaurus stand no chance against a pissed-off Pod. Also counts as a slight aversion, since the Tarascosaurus in question are dwarf specimens, not the great mainland predators Pod once feared.
Specifically: some Oviraptor chicks are killed by Velociraptor, Some of White Tip's eggs are eaten by Broken Hand, Little Das and presumably Buck and Blaze are killed by a volcanic eruption, many baby Saltasaurus are killed by Notosuchus, Alvarezsaurus, and Aucasaurus, and Alpha's first clutch of eggs drowns.
Know When To Fold Them: The Daspletosaurus finally ends their grueling hunt of Buck at the end of their program... because they've finally regarded the volcanic apocalypse only miles away as a threat.
Leeroy Jenkins: Doesn't Little Das seem like one in "Little Das' Hunt"?
Mama Bear: The father Aucasaurus has to flash his red throat to keep his mate from going Mama Bear on his tail.
White Tip also qualifies.
Minor Injury Overreaction: Alpha's leg gently brushes against a fallen twig. And she limps throughout the rest of the episode. This is supposed to be realistic.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Little Das ends up chasing the Einiosaurus and Maiasaura herds far out of the lowlands basically for fun. The herds end up combining into one larger herd, which ends up making it even more difficult to get to Buck later on. His mother is not pleased.
No Pronunciation Guide: Slater mispronounces Shuvuuia as "Shuvia" (Dr. Scott Sampson later pronounces it correctly).
Noisy Nature: There are scenes of dinosaurs roaring at each other that just won't end.
Science Marches On: While it was very up-to-date (some might even say ahead of its time) with its dinosaur portrayals, modern paleontology has made a few discoveries since its debut:
We now know Aucasaurus had even less developed arms, and lacked claws altogether.
Raptors should have actual clawed wings.
Quetzalcoatlus didn't look nor live like that.
Oviraptor was probably not nearly the Bad Ass the show portrays it as. And the ones in the show should be called Citipati.
The plesiosaur shouldn't have been able to eat Pod's sister, nor would it probably be interested.
Male deinonychosaurs were probably the ones responsible for brooding nests, and young deinonychosaurs were likely capable of foraging on their own instead of being fed.
Pterosaurs were probably not outcompeted by birds, as the two coexisted for 85 million years.
Velociraptors probably didn't need to live in packs to survive.
Pod wouldn't have been at the top of Hateg island's food chain, the much larger Hatzegopteryx would have been (not mention the stiff competition he would face from similar sized dromaeosaurs like Balaur).
Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: The Maiasaura herd and the Daspletosaurus pack haul ass once they see the pyroclastic flow heading right for them.
Stock Dinosaurs: T. rex, Edmontosaurus, Velociraptor, Oviraptor, Troodon, Protoceratops, Maiasaura and Quetzalcoatlus.
Tail Slap: Alpha does this in her final battle with the Aucasaurus pair.
Truth in Television: The scene in which a dueling Protoceratops and Velociraptor get crushed under an avalanche of sand has been based on the actual fossil of the actual event.
A possibly unintentional example, unmentioned in the show: Dragonfly the Aucasaurus dies by having his skull crushed by Alpha. Fast-forward 80 million years, and the first discovered specimen of Aucasaurus has a crushed skull.
Tyrannosaurus rex: Has only a cameo. But the Daspletosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus and Tarascosaurus fill in much the same role.