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Series: Walking with Dinosaurs

"Imagine you could travel back in time, to a time long before man."
Kenneth Branagh, the show's narrator.

Walking with Dinosaurs (1999) is a BBC Speculative Documentary series focusing on... well... dinosaurs, using state-of-the-art CGI to recreate Mesozoic life. It was narrated by Kenneth Branagh.

It received several equally succesful continuations, specials, and spin-offs:

  • The Ballad of Big Al (2000), which tries to recreate the possible life of a Real Life Allosaurus named Big Al.
  • Walking with Beasts (2001), focusing on mammal evolution which came after the dinosaurs in the Paleogene, Neogene, and Quaternary Periods.
  • Chased by Dinosaurs (2002), two specials focusing on two striking dinosaurs, the gigantic Argentinosaurus and the odd Therizinosaurus. This was the first in the Walking with... series to feature a visible presenter (in this case, Nigel Marven).
  • Prehistoric Planet (2002), a revised version of Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Beasts, aimed at a younger audience and narrated by Ben Stiller.
  • Sea Monsters (2003), focusing on dangerous prehistoric marine wildlife, from "the seventh most dangerous sea ever" up to "the first" one. This also featured Nigel Marven.
  • Walking with Cavemen (2003), focusing on... guess. Also went for the "presenter" format (in this case, Robert Winston).
  • Walking with Monsters (2005), this time focusing on what came before the dinosaurs. Returned to the presenter-less format favoured by WWD and WWB.
  • The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life (2006), a book that producer Tim Haines and consultant Paul Chambers wrote featuring creatures from throughout the series.
  • Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular (opened in 2007), a touring live arena show featuring life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and performers in costume.
  • Walking With Dinosaurs 3D (2013), a theatrical movie, but with a different team behind it. Tells the story of the life of a Pachyrhinosaurus runt of the litter. It has more conventional storytelling mechanics akin to Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and The Land Before Time sequels, down to Black and White Morality and traditional heroism.

Prehistoric Park (2006) and Planet Dinosaur (2011) can be regarded either as spiritual successors to the later Nigel Marven specials and the original WWD, respectively, or as actual spin offs.

See also:

General tropes used throughout the franchise:

  • Anachronism Stew: Some of the animals shown had either gone extinct or not evolved by the time they're shown, mostly in Dinosaurs and Beasts.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: The narrator describes quite a lot of things as "lethal."
    • And every predator is an "ambush predator," even if they're shown chasing their prey.
  • Bad Ass: Where to begin? There's at least one per setting!
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: The ocean-based episodes make copious use of this, most memorably the Liopleurodon snapping the Ichthyosaur in half in "A Cruel Sea".
  • Camera Abuse: Almost Once an Episode, especially in Beasts.
  • Carnivore Confusion: The "predation is just a fact of life" approach, as most predators are treated as any documentary animals should be treated, not as villains. There are a few exceptions though, mainly in the two spinoffs ending with "Monsters".
    • However, the large carnivores tend to not survive the episode and often become food for smaller carnivores.
    • Inverted in the last episode of Dinosaurs, where a mother T. rex is the protagonist and Ankylosaurus gets a mild villian treatment.
  • The Cretaceous Is Always Doomed: Played straight with the Cretaceous extinction in the last episode of Walking with Dinosaurs and largely played straight in Walking with Monsters for the Permian extinction (it does not show any single event, but shows the world right around the time of the extinction, with conditions that imply it is in progress). Averted for other mass extinctions.
  • Downer Ending: A given, since every animal featured in the program goes extinct eventually.
  • Good Bad Translation: The Italian and Spanish versions. For example, the Spanish changes Utahraptor to Velociraptor, Diplodocus to Saurolophus, Postosuchus to a postosuchid,note  and Megaloceras to Megalosaurus!
    • The Hungarian translation, too.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Postosuchus and Deinosuchus in Walking with Dinosaurs and Sarcosuchus in Chased by Dinosaurs. Phytosaurs and Proterosuchus are not a close crocodile relatives, but fill the same role in the accompanying book Walking with Dinosaurs: A Natural History and in the TV series Walking with Monsters, respectively.
    • Deinosuchus gets only a cameo appearance in Walking with Dinosaurs the TV series, but its badassery is emphasized in the accompanying book, where it's stated that it's even capable of killing a Tyrannosaurus getting too close to the water and later a group of them scares the female Tyrannosaurus away from freshly killed Anatotitan.
  • Noisy Nature: And HOW! All animals in the whole series make continuously sounds of every kind from roars to bellows, screechs, and so on (a major example of the strong Rule of Cool that characterize this series). The most incredible example is perhaps the early "amphibian" Hynerpeton which makes belch-like sounds without a pause and apparently without any good reason.... despite being a very archaic vertebrate, and thus very unlikely to utter any loud cry.
    • Another example: giant arthropods like the scorpion Brontoscorpio and the millipede Arthropleura making creaking sounds when walking and even when they're moulting their exoskeleton. This kind of sound is heard also during the "Evolution takes over" moments in WWM (just like a horror movie...)
    • Averted to a greater extent in the original Walking with Dinosaurs, where most of the predators are realistically silent when doing things such as stalking prey, instead of screaming like Godzilla while attacking animals 30 times their size.
    • In the arena show, all the dinosaur animatronics have speakers in their throats, so all the resonant roars you hear are genuinely coming from their mouths.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Averted, with the exception of Walking with Monsters and Sea Monsters. Prehistoric animals behave like real animals, although a few (like Liopleurodon and the entelodonts) are shown in a sinister light. Particularly notable is Big Al in The Ballad of Big Al, whose fate left many viewers sad. Also notable is T. rex in the original series, which were shown more as playful youngsters and good mothers than scary killers.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Some CGI animals share a scene or two with live-acted ones (including ancient humans), but this is used more greatly for comedic effect in all the various Making of specials.
  • Rule of Cool: Several examples throughout the series, especially about speculative animal behaviour. Another example is the fact that only the most spectacular animals of each taxonomic group are usually portrayed in almost all the shows of the series, despite they were probably less common in their environments that their smaller relatives (like what happens among modern animals as well). However, we can see many small-sized prehistoric animals too. Still another example is that many animals are more or less oversized in the program: the two most striking examples are the swimming Liopleurodon and the flying Ornithocheirus.
    • Since the list of examples from this trope is really large, please go here to see them.
  • Scenery Porn: The shows, by necessity of course, take us to some of the planet's most spectacular-looking, exotic places, and the creators weren't shy in showing them off.
  • Science Marches On: Many new discoveries have been made after this series, which changed our perception about prehistoric wildlife. These discoveries regard animal behaviour, taxonomy, or other issues. See here for examples.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: No way, oh no. You get a clear view of everything, including the giant paleo-penises.
  • Small Taxonomy Pools: Averted - the series did feature several creatures that weren't well-known among the general public before.
  • Speculative Documentary: Maybe a bit too much on the speculative side.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Lots, but a few new additions and subversion as well. For every stock dinosaur used, there's one or more creatures that have never been heard of in mass media before—or, substitution for an appropriate relative. Again, see here for a exhaustive list of examples.
  • Threatening Shark: Subverted mostly, as sharks in the series can't hold a candle to larger predators like Dunkleosteus, Liopleurodon, Hyneria and Basilosaurus.
    • Played straight with the Megalodon from Sea Monsters. Even Nigel starts to sound a bit shaky when the big adult shark approaches his cage, and this is a man who is usually perfectly fine, often even Too Dumb to Live, in the presence of dangerous animals.

Walking with Dinosaurs provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The accompanying book Walking with Dinosaurs: A Natural History contains a lot of additional information about geography of the world dinosaurs lived in, elaborates on some speculative concepts only briefly mentioned in the TV series, and introduces new ones. The book even introduced some creatures that weren't shown in the TV series.
  • All There in the Manual: More than a few species not named in the TV show appear in the aforementioned book.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Happens on several occasions. Perhaps the most memorable of which was the huge marine reptile Liopleurodon snatching the medium-sized carnivorous dinosaur Eustreptospondylus from the shore. Also an example of another trope since Liopleurodon was probably closer to 4.5-6.5 meters rather than the absurd 25 meters noted in the episode.
    • In the companion book, a lungfish eats a crayfish, only to be caught by a Coelophysis.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Averted, quite a few species kill members of their own kind. The small carnivorous dinosaur Coelophysis is an excellent example. The cynodonts (the ancestors of mammals) make another example.
    • The Coelophysis example is due to the classic (but now mostly discredited) interpretation of what appeared to be remains of young Coelophysis in the ribcage of some adults of the same species, it's not an invention of the show; while the Cynodont one is invented.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The meteor impact scene in "Death of a Dynasty" is pretty awesome, and much more realistically shown than most other portraits in other documentaries, with the correct sequence of events: first the light, then the earth tremor, then the dust cloud and wind-storms, finally the melted rocks from the sky.
  • Art Evolution: If you count the two shows as being related, then compare the T. rex in the original series and the ones in Prehistoric Park (the same thing about the "sabretooth cat").
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: There are plenty of mess-ups.
    • Apparently some paleontologists strongly criticized the scene from the first episode of Walking with Dinosaurs where Postosuchus was shown urinating in a way more similar to that of mammals than that of reptiles and birds, despite it was an ancient relative of both crocs and dinos - so strongly in fact, that one of the series' scientific consultants, Prof. Michael Benton, decided to address their criticism. The relevant bit: "Another category of WWD-haters, the fact checkers, began compiling lists of errors in the first week. These were gleefully circulated on the e-mail lists. For example, in the first programme, Postosuchus urinates copiously. There is no doubt that it does so in the programme, and this was a moment that my children relished. However, of course, birds and crocodiles, the closest living relatives of the dinosaurs, do not urinate; they shed their waste chemicals as more solid uric acid. Equally, though, we can’t prove that Postosuchus did not urinate like this: copious urination is the primitive state for tetrapods (seen in fishes, amphibians, turtles, and mammals), and it might have been retained by some basal archosaurs."
    • Also, Dr. Darren Naish is known to strongly dislike the WWD reconstruction of Tyrannosaurus.
    • Scaly raptors weren't to the paleontologists' liking even back then.
    • Reusing models meant that some correct anatomical details that got carried over from one animal to the other suddenly turned erroneous. Case in point: the thumbs on hadrosaurs.
    • The book accompanying the series implies that birds are no more related to theropods than ceratopsians are to pachycephalosaurs.
    • The Complete Guide to Prehistoris Life claims that megalosaurs are carnosaurs, when they're more likely a more primitive branch.
  • Australian Wildlife: One Walking with Dinosaurs episode centers on Australian wildlife during the Late Cretaceous, the small plant-eating dinosaur Leaellynasaura, the larger plant-eating dinosaur Muttaburrasaurus, the large Temnospondyl Labyrinthodont Koolasuchus, the monotreme mammal Steropodon, an unnamed pterosaur and carnosaur (known only from fragmentary remains), and a weta (a large flightless insect, representatives of which are still alive today).
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In Walking with Dinosaurs, the young Diplodocus is attacked by an Allosaurus and is saved when another Diplodocus knocks the Allosaurus down with its tail.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Several scenes of mild or implied violence and death from the TV series were described in rather graphic detail in the accompanying book Walking with Dinosaurs: A Natural History. Compare, for example, the scene of fight between female Tyrannosaurus and the armoured herbivore Ankylosaurus from the TV series with their fight in the book. Meanwhile, the poor Ornithocheirus—as if he hadn't suffered enough—dies not just of exhaustion, but of more or less getting torn apart by the rival males!
  • Book Ends: The ending to the last episode of Walking With Monsters echoes the end of the first episode of Walking With Dinosaurs. It even has the same music.
  • Colony Drop: At the end of "Death of a Dynasty," naturally.
  • Darker and Edgier: The book is far more brutal than the television series.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Tupandactylus navigans (the pterosaur that the Tapejara was based on) was not formally described until several years after the series aired (it was described as a species of Tapejara in 2003 and moved to its own genus in 2007). The large Ornithocheirus (now Tropeognathus) specimen that provided the basis for the (still exaggerated) giant size stated in the show wasn't described until 2012.
  • Eats Babies: The Coelophysis, cynodonts, Allosaurus, Didelphodon, andcHell Creek dromaeosaurids all get to feed on babies and juveniles. In some cases, those of their own kind. (Or even their own.)
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The developers originally wanted to do a show about prehistoric mammals. They only got money for one about dinosaurs. Once the dinosaurs series was finished (and a success) they could accomplish their original goal.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The ammonites from Cruel Sea.
  • Feathered Fiend: The primitive bird Iberomesornis in Giant of the Skies fit the Zerg Rush type of this.
  • Follow the Leader: After Walking With Dinosaurs, there came a whole onslaught of documentaries with CGI dinosaurs. When Dinosaurs Roamed America, Dinosaur Planet, and Jurassic Fight Club, to name a few.note 
    • Every post-WWD toy of Liopleurodon has been given the colour scheme it had in WWD.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The dinosaurs did go extinct and the episode is called "Death of a Dynasty" after all.
  • Gasshole: One of the Diplodocus is heard farting during the digestion of plant matter, while the narrator says "The activity in its gut produces a lot of excess gas".
  • Giant Flyer: Several giant pterosaurs (the correct name instead of "pterodactyl"). From the first series, both Ornithocheirus (oversized) and Quetzalcoatlus (not oversized) had a wingspan of 45 feet.
  • Graceful in Their Element:
    • The Cryptoclidus is clumsy on land, but graceful in the water.
    • All of the featured pterosaurs (now debunked due to Science Marches On); cumbersome and ungainly on the ground, expert flyers in the air.
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: The meteor at the end of the Cretaceous. It explodes with a power of 300.000.000 Hiroshima bombs.
  • Hemisphere Bias: The end of Dinosaurs, where Montana somehow transforms into the African savanna.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted on a grand scale.
    • New Blood contained the deaths of all the cynodont young (one by being eaten by the Coelophysis, the rest eaten by their own parents in the uncut UK Broadcast/DVD). The Coelophysis themselves are also cannibals.
    • "Time of the Titans", obviously, with all the Diplodocus youngsters (called "sauropodlets" in the show), very few of whom reach adulthood. Even more so in the book, where only one survives.
    • "Cruel Sea" focuses on a generation of young Opthalmosaurus, a fish-like marine reptile belonging to the ichthyosaur group. The one we mostly follow manages to avoid death by storms, sharks, and drowning, but it's implied that most of his fellows aren't so lucky. There's also the very, very graphic instance of Death by Childbirth, in which neither mother nor baby Opthalmosaurus are left alive.
    • "Spirits of the Ice Forest" implies an aversion, mentioning that although many of the Leaellynasaura clan mate and lay eggs, usually the only young that will survive is the dominant pair's children. Leaellynasaura was a tiny bipedal herbivorous dinosaur from Cretaceous Australia and Antarctica.
    • "Death of a Dynasty" has, (besides the Tyrannosaurus young killed by the meteor at the end) the Triceratops-like Torosaurus young killed by dromaeosaurids (commonly known as "raptors") and an implied death of a picked on Tyrannosaurus. And if it counts: the small mammal Didelphodon eating the eggs.
  • Kill 'em All: The series ends with the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, killing 75% of life on Earth.
  • Land Down Under: Cretaceous Australia spends half the year frozen solid, with no sunlight whatsoever during that period.
  • Leitmotif: The Utahraptor pack is accompanied by tribal drums during their ambush on the Iguanodon herd.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Death of a Dynasty.
  • Mama Bear: The female Tyrannosaurus. Deconstructed, as her valiant attempt to scare an Ankylosaurus away from her infants ends up killing her, and it's implied that her babies would have starved to death without her to protect them. Only implied, because they're soon killed by the meteorite anyway.
    • The female Tyrannosaurus also displays the trait in the live arena show, when she scares away a Torosaurus and an Ankylosaurus that are harassing her baby.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: European dinosaurs Plateosaurus, and Polacanthus and the equally European pterosaurs Peteinosaurus and Anurognathus, all placed in North America in the show, not to mention Utahraptor, of all things, in Europe. The Peteinosaurus and Plateosaurus examples may be justified, since they lived at the time of Pangaea. They could easily have migrated from Europe into North America or vice versa, although no fossil evidence of this has been found. Polacanthus in North America may be based on the genus Hoplitosaurus, an ankylosaur often referred to by the European genus. The American narration refers to the ankylosaur as Gastonia, a similar animal from the proper time and place.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the arena show, the mother Tyrannosaurus scares away the Torosaurus and Ankylosaurus harassing her baby. The mother and her baby then share a cute little moment where she goes around roaring at the audience and he tries to mimic her, with underwhelming results. They nuzzle a bit, and then the comet hits.
  • Narrator: Kenneth Branagh. He was dubbed over for some releases. In the American dub, Avery Brooks takes over.
  • No Fourth Wall: Nigel Marven repeatedly addresses the audience.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The fight between female Tyrannosaurus'' and ''Ankylosaurus ends up this way in the book that accompanied the TV series.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in "Time of the Titans". Not only do they show a full view of a Diplodocus defecating twice, but they also show the pile of shit and the dung beetles crawling all over it.
  • Palette Swap: Similar looking animals (like Utahraptor and Dromaeosaurus, various ornithopods) were just these. Certain animals (like large theropods and ornithopods) only got new heads. You can tell, because many creatures have the exact same folds and blood vessels on their skin. Then, there is Plesiopleurodon, which is just Stock Footage of Liopleurodon from the previous episode, only tinted lighter.
    • Quetzalcoatlus is the worst offender, as in its case it's obvious that the animators didn't have much time; it's just the Ornithocheirus from "Giant of the Skies" with a few minor tweaks. They didn't even edit out the teeth!
  • Papa Wolf: The male cynodont. Until the Coelophysis discover the burrow and he decides that the young aren't worth defending anymore, at least...
  • Raptor Attack: Scaly raptors appear.
  • Real Is Brown: Averted. Much like modern fauna, these dinos are pretty vibrant-looking.
  • Red Herring: Eustreptospondylus being shown during the opening narration of Cruel Sea, with Kenneth Branagh talking about "the most fearsome predator of the Jurassic" that "is watching his prey". Only a few moments later it becomes obvious that this narration wasn't about Eustreptospondylus, but instead about Liopleurodon
    • This is ruined in Italian dub: here the narrator says "Eustreptospondylus, the most fearsome predator of the Jurassic..." (sigh)
  • Sea Monster: The entire third episode, Cruel Sea, though a giant Plesiopleurodon also appears in Giant of the Skies for one shot.
  • Seldom Seen Species:
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The episode "Giant of the Skies" was about an Ornithocheirus traveling halfway across the globe enduring various hardships in order to reach the mating grounds only to have it driven away and eventually dying from starvation and exhaustion, and it never got to mate a single time.
  • Shown Their Work: The production team went on great lengths to avoid grasses during the shooting of Walking with Dinosaurs. Then we found out it first appeared in the Cretaceous, although it may not have been very widespread at the time.
  • Tail Slap: An adult Diplodocus saves a younger one from an Allosaurus this way.
  • Taxonomic Term Confusion: Branagh refers to the sauropods as "a great family of dinosaurs" in the original WWD. "Infraorder" would be more appropriate.
    • Still better than in some of the dubbed versions, which call sauropods a species.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex
  • The Worf Effect: A good way to show that an animal is a Bad Ass is have it drive off, beat up, or kill the top predator of the episode, as was the case with Stegosaurus (to Allosaurus) and Ankylosaurus (to Tyrannosaurus).
    • If the animal is another predator, another way is to have it prey on or scare away another stereotypically dangerous predator such as a theropod or shark. Most famously done with Liopleurodon; and then the several Threatening Shark examples of course (see above).
  • Zerg Rush: The Coelophysis against the dying Postosuchus.

The Ballad of Big Al provides examples of:

Walking with Beasts provides examples of:

  • An Aesop: Kenneth Branagh's delivery of the final line in the series is potent.
    Narrator: We have since built museums to celebrate the past, and spend decades studying prehistoric lives. And if all this has taught us anything, it is this: no species lasts forever.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Averted again, as an invading Smilodon kills another Smilodon's cubs, behaviour based on modern lions.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Doedicurus.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A Smilodon cub is chased by a pair of Phorushracos at the beginning of the Saber Tooth episode, but then Half-Tooth appears out of nowhere and scares the Terror Birds away just when they're about to eat the cub.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Giant sloth, meet Smilodon. One slap later, Smilodon meets the Grim Reaper.
  • Dark Reprise: A double one. When the neanderthals begin their plan to drive the mammoths off a cliff, the music shifts from the usual "travel" theme used in the episode to a more suspenseful version with rather ominous tribal chanting and drums. The chants are similar to, but slightly more sinister than the ones during the humans' Megaloceros hunt, leaving it sounding like the unholy fusion of both tracks.
  • Eats Babies: Young animals are very vulnerable, and convenient targets. The giant ants and Basilosaurus. The Hyaenodon, Phorusrhacos, and cave lion try to, but fail.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Godinotia'' and ''Apidium may be subversions, as they either serve to get killed or only have very minor roles that don't influence the plot. Australopithecus fare better, as they get a full episode devoted to them.
  • Feathered Fiend: Phorusrhacos and Gastornis.
  • Full Boar Action: The entelodonts, even though strictly speaking they aren't pigs.
  • Hemisphere Bias: The last episode ends with a pull-out from the United Kingdom (due to the last scene being a pull-out from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.)
  • Infant Immortality: Averted again. The Gastornis chick gets eaten by giant ants, some Smilodon cubs are killed by other Smilodons, a good many Dorudon calves are eaten by Basilosaurus, a brontothere calf is shown dead, some baby bear dogs are killed in a flood, and a baby Macrauchenia gets downed by a terror bird. In the book, the latter is replaced by a Hippidion calf. Also, while it doesn't happen in the program or the book, there exists a promo image which shows a Hyaenodon dragging a dead indricothere calf.
  • Killer Rabbit: It turns out, the elephant-sized sloth Megatherium can kill a Smilodon with a swipe of its claws. Then again, it is the size of an elephant, has armour-plated skin, stands 3 metres high, and has huge claws.
  • Mama Bear: The brontothere and indricothere.
  • Mega Neko: Smilodon and Dinofelis.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The only example is the Indian Ambulocetus being put in Germany, though it gets a weak Handwave.
  • Rhino Rampage: The woolly rhino.
  • Scavengers Are Mean: One example in Beasts: The pig-relatives entelodonts are portrayed as scary as possible, with enormously wide mouths, always-screeching behaviour, and described as "the Hogs from Hell" which do nothing else but bullying other animals; while true WWB predators like Smilodon tend to receive a more neutral, sometimes even heroic, portrait.
  • Sea Monster: Basilosaurus.
  • Seldom Seen Species:
    • New Dawn: Leptictidium, Gastornis, Ambulocetus, Propalaeotherium, Godinotia, Titanomyrma
    • Whale Killer: Basilosaurus, Andrewsarchus, Embolotherium, Dorudon, Moeritherium, Apidium, Physogaleus
    • Land of Giants: Paraceratherium, Hyaenodon, Chalicotherium, Entelodon, Cynodictis
    • Next of Kin: Australopithecus, Dinofelis, Ancylotherium, Deinotherium
    • Saber Tooth: Macrauchenia, Phorusrhacos, Doedicurus, Megatherium
    • Mammoth Journey: Irish Elk, European Lion
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The scene of the mating Australopithecus even had to be censored with a huge blur for the American release (but strangely did't cut it entirely, like in Australia), because it looked exactly like the way humans do it.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The second Smilodon brother is fatally wounded in the original episode, but in the corresponding chapter of the book, he just runs away.
  • The Worf Effect: In Land of Giants, a mob of entelodonts have this on a lone Hyaenodon, but a lone entelodont is then scared away by the indricothere calf. Meanwhile in the book, it's a pair of Hyaenodon that drive off a single entelodont.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: 'Next Of Kin' focuses on the human ancestors Australopithecus.
    • Averted in 'Mammoth Journey', where the humans (neanderthals and modern humans) are treated like any other predator, and the mammoths are the clear protagonists.
      • Just to be clear how much this is averted, in "Mammoth Journey" a mammoth bull casually finds two cave lions feeding on a dead man. We don't even see how he died, only the mammoth scaring the lions away because they are on his path.
  • Zerg Rush: Most gruesomely, giant ants against the Gastornis chick.

Chased by Dinosaurs provides examples of:

  • Circling Vultures: Subverted; a flock of Azhdarcho (which are referred to as scavengers on the official website) circles over Nigel at one point, but nothing sinister comes of it. Nigel actually seems to like their presence, in fact.
  • Feathered Fiend: Velociraptor, Mononykus, and Therizinosaurus, though in the program, only Mononykus is depicted with feathers.
  • Giant Flyer: Pteranodon. And, while they're not focused on or mentioned by name, Azhdarcho.
  • Killer Rabbit: The herbivorous theropod Therizinosaurus, which honestly looks like a giant goose-but, as Tarbosaurus finds out, this giant goose has giant claws.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Velociraptor being put in the rainforest instead of the desert. It can, however, be justified or handwaved, as the forest is located right next to the desert.
    • Pteranodon in South America? Could be migrating, but then, we've never found any pteranodon fossils there.
  • Palette Swap: Thankfully averted by the iguanodonts and the Tarbosaurus, as these received new animation models (or at least new details) instead of being straight reuses of almost identical models from the original series.
  • Seldom Seen Species:
    • Land of Giants: Argentinosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Ornithocheirus, Macrogryphosaurus (provided that the unspecified iguanodont is this)
    • The Giant Claw: Saurolophus, Protoceratops, Mononykus, Tarbosarus, Therizinosaurus, Azdarcho
  • The Worf Effect: To Tarbosaurus, and again, courtesy of another animal (Therizinosaurus).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Nigel Marven is practically the embodiment of this trope. He lives, though.

Sea Monsters provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: T. rex appearing in a Cameo role 75 million years ago, whereas the oldest known rex dates from "only" about 68 million years ago. And it's clearly confirmed to be a real T. rex in the book, not one of its ancestors.note  This is especially weird, since some of their earlier material has shown that the creators knew when the T. rex actually lived.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: During the credits of the last episode, a pod of mosasaurs is shown surrounding and approaching the crew's boat.
  • Death World: While nearly all the seas could counts, the Creataceous Western Interior Seaway, which is actually called Hell's Aquarium to signify its dangers, particularly stands out.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Orthocones.
  • Feathered Fiend: Subverted with Hesperornis, which look aggressive but only serve to get eaten by other predators. Played straight in the book, which lists dromaeosaurs as Cretaceous land menaces.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Nigel and his crew manage to get a Pteranodon to hang out on their boat. It seems to grow fond of them, given the fact that it appears to be genuinely shocked when it seems that Nigel's about to be eaten.
  • Giant Flyer: The Pteranodons.
  • Goddamn Bats: invoked Nigel's opinion of the sea scorpions.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: Subverted by the Arsinoitherium, which charges Nigel when he gets too close.
  • Megalodon: The third most dangerous Sea Monster.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Played straight, but that's kind of the point. Of course, they're also treated as simply animals, albeit dangerous ones, with Nigel going shark-cage diving with the Megalodon.
  • Schmuck Bait: Nigel repeatedly states that there's no way he would go into "Hell's Aquarium" - but decides to dive in anyway to ride a giant sea turtle.
  • Sea Monster: The title should tell you something.
  • Seldom Seen Species:
    • The Seventh Most Dangerous Sea: Cameroceras, Megalograptus, Astraspis, Isotelus
    • Sixth: Peteinosaurus, Nothosaurus, Cymbospondylus
    • Fifth: Bothriolepis, Stethacanthus, Dunkleosteus
    • Fourth: Arsinotherium, Dorudon, Basilosaurus
    • Third: Odobenocetops, Cetotherium
    • Second: Leedsicthys, Metriorhyncus, Hybodus
    • First: Hesperornis, Squalicorax, Xiphactinus, Halisaurus
  • The Stinger: A pod of mosasaurs attacks the boat after the credits for the last episode.
  • Threatening Shark: C. megalodon; unusual given how often the series subverts this.

Walking With Cavemen provides examples of:

  • Frazetta Man: This being a well-researched scientific documentary, it's mostly avoided. But it doesn't stop the protohumans from looking terrifying.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: In the British version, at least. An odd case in that only pre-humans are nude, but Homo erectus and Homo ergaster are basically Homo sapiens from the neck down, so there's no functional difference.
  • People in Rubber Suits
  • Seldom Seen Species:
    • First Ancestors: Australopithecus afarensis, Ancylotherium, Deinotherium
    • Blood Brothers: Paranthropus boisei, Homo habilis, Dinofelis, Deinotherium, Ancylotherium, Homo rudolfensis
    • Savage Family: Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Gigantopithecus
    • The Survivors: Homo heidelbergensis, Irish Elk

Walking With Monsters provides examples of:

  • After the End: The last half of the third episode takes place shortly after the Permian extinction.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The huge eurypterid Pterygotus killing the alleged Big Bad of the episode, Brontoscorpio.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The mistakes about ancestor -> descendant relationship: the jawless, armoured Cephalaspis becoming a primitive amphibian missing two passages (jawed armoured fish and and non-armoured lobe-finned fish), and the early lizard-like Petrolacosaurus (portrayed as the "first reptile") wrongly becoming an Edaphosaurus (a Dimetrodon relative, thus a mammal ancestor). Another example is Euparkeria mentioned as the ancestor of all the dinosaurs (it was only a distant relative). And chasmatosaurs were not the ancestors of crocodiles and alligators, and perhaps they weren't even aquatic as shown in the program.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Meganeura, Brontoscorpio, Arthropleura, Mesothelae, and all the other arthropods in this spinoff.
  • Book Ends: The final section of the third episode, covering the early Triassic, has similar creatures to the first Walking with Dinosaurs episode, which covered the late Triassic. It has a Lystrosaurus to WWDs Placerias, Euparkeria to WWDs Coelophysis, and the chasmatosaur and therocephalian resemble the Postosuchus and cynodonts in appearance, if not behavior. Euparkeria even has a similar color pattern to the Coelophysis seen in the first episode.
  • Crapsack World: The late Permian.
  • Darker and Edgier: Has a scarier edge to the fight for survival than Dinosaurs and Beasts.
  • Death by Sex: The male Hynerpeton gets eaten by a Hyneria right after it mates. In an interesting subversion, this only happens because it failed to mate the previous night, so in a way, it's a case of "death by belated sex".
  • Eats Babies: The Dimetrodons.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The orthocones.
  • Eye Scream: A female Dimetrodon's eye is knocked out of her head while defending her nest.
  • Infant Immortality: Yet more aversions. A juvenile Edaphosaurus gets eaten by a Dimetrodon, a bunch of baby Dimetrodon get eaten by the adults, and a mesothelae spider butchers an entire nest of Petrolacosaurus, save for the few that got away.
  • Leitmotif: Hyneria is accompanied by a Jaws-esque theme.
  • Mama Bear: The mother Dimetrodon.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • Carboniferous Period: Proterogyrinus was likely extinct by the time chronicled in this segment.
    • Early Permian Period: Edaphosaurus is unknown from Europe, including the Bromacker Quarry.
    • Late Permian Period: Rhinesuchus and Gorgonops are unknown from Russia and probably were restricted to the Southern hemisphere.
    • Early Triassic Period: Euchambersia, Proterosuchus, and Euparkeria are all unknown from Antarctica.
  • Prehistoric Monster: It's even titled Walking With Monsters! Predators here are represented in a scarier way than the original Dinosaurs and Beasts.
    • The idea is kind of that this is before the Earth had a ruling class, so different groups of animals were ferociously and graphically battling it out to be the dominant species. Things become more relaxed by the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, as seen in WWD and WWB.
  • Prequel: Can be seen as one to WWD.
  • Seldom Seen Species:
    • Cambrian Period: Haikouichthys, Anomalocaris
    • Silurian Period: Cephalaspis, Brontoscorpio, Pterygotus, Cameroceras
    • Devonian Period: Hynerpeton, Hyneria, Stethacanthus
    • Carboniferous Period: Mesothelae, Petrolacosaurus, Meganeura, Arthropleura, Proterogyrinus
    • Early Permian Period: Edaphosaurus, Seymouria
    • Late Permian Period: Gorgonops, Diictodon, Rhinesuchus, Scutosaurus
    • Early Triassic Period: Lystrosaurus, Euparkeria, Proterosuchus, Euchambersia
  • Zerg Rush: Haikouichthys against the injured Anomalocaris.

Walking With Dinosaurs 3D provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The Edmontonia and Parksosaurus are not identified by name in the film, but their identity is confirmed on the official website.
  • Animal Talk: An unusual variant. While the four protagonist animals are voiced, they never move their lips or make any sort of human-like facial expression. It would appear that the voiceovers are simply the dinosaurs' thoughts being translated into human speech.
  • Babies Ever After
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Edmontonia
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite containing several rather clearly shown scenes of death and violence, never at any point in the movie is a drop of blood shed.
  • Book Ends: The opening and ending scenes of the film are set in the present day, with a dinosaur paleontologist taking his niece and nephew to a dig.
  • Break the Haughty: Happens to Scowler when he gets attacked by Gorgon and his pack after leading the herd into Ambush Alley.
  • Buffy Speak: Patchi refers to the Chirostenotes as "Skinny-necked Pecky Things".
  • Butt Monkey: The Alphadons tend to get this treatment, as well as Patchi in his juvenile years.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Pick a scene that demands tension. With a few fleeting exceptions, this trope will be present.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Because of the hole in Patchi's head, he is the only pachyrhinosaur in the movie who is able to defeat Gorgon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alex can be this at times.
    • Juniper too.
    Scowler: Remember, they can smell fear!
    Patchi: Sorry, that's not fear...
    Juniper: (deadpan) I think I just stepped in some "fear".
  • Driven to Suicide: Patchi after Scowler leaves him to die. He gets better, though.
  • Drunk with Power: Scowler after he takes control of the herd.
  • Eaten Alive: Nearly happens to Patchi at the hands of a pack of Troodon and a pair of azhdarchids, after his disagreement with Scowler, in which he was shoved into a ditch and had a tree fall on top of him. His despair is so great at this point that he's willing to let it happen.
  • Eats Babies: Troodon.
  • Feathered Fiend: Troodon, Hesperonychus, and Chirostenotes.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Forgot About His Powers: One of the Azhdarchids forgets he can fly at one point. He almost falls off of a cliff as a result.
  • Giant Flyer: The azhdarchid pterosaurs.
  • Heroic BSOD: Patchi suffers this after Scowler kicks him out of the herd and leaves him to die. In fact, he was willing to be dinner to scavengers...but gets back to his feet after some pep talk from Alex.
  • Idiot Hero: Patchi is, for much of the movie, a chronic complainer with abysmal survival skills. He starts to shape up after Scowler nearly loses the herd in an icy lake.
  • In Name Only: Overall, the film really doesn't have much to do with its namesake documentary miniseries.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Patchi (a Pachyrhinosaurus) and Alex (an Alexornis bird), justified since the two genera are implied to have a symbiotic relationship.
  • Kick the Dog: After the fight between Patchi and Scowler (which end up with Patchi getting shoved into a ditch), Scowler nastily kicks him out of the herd and leaves him to die. When Juniper scolds him for this and says that brothers are supposed to help one another, he coldly tells her "I don't have a brother".
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Gorgon attacks Scowler and mauls him to near death at the climax of the film. Considering what a Jerk Ass Scowler is and this is just after he had kicked his own brother out of the herd and left him to die, it's hard to not think he deserved it.
  • Killer Rabbit: Hesperonychus.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the other Walking with... installments, very much so.
  • Narrator: Alex the Alexornis (voiced by John Leguizamo), though he also has dialogue in-story and interacts with the main cast.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers made it seem as though the movie would center around Patchi leading his herd on a journey to a new home. In reality, we see very few of his leadership skills and even less of him as leader of the herd.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted by the Edmontonia, who defecates right on top of a curious Patchi.
  • No Sense of Personal Space/Hates Being Touched: On two seperate occasions, one of the Azhdarchids tries to get close to another. The other responds by pecking at it and screeching in its face. The third one doesn't seem to want to get involved and always scoots away before it gets ugly.
  • Oh, Crap: The Troodon gets this twice at the beginning and end of the film when Bulldust and later Patchi catch it intruding in the nesting grounds.
  • Papa Wolf: Bulldust, the patriarch of the Pachyrhinosaurus herd for the first half of the film, is shown to be very protective of his hatchlings (which include Patchi and his older brother Scowler). Near the beginning of the film he chases away a Troodon that had been menacing Patchi, and later he sacrifices himself to save Patchi and Scowler from a pack of Gorgosaurus.
  • Predators Are Mean: Subverted with Gorgon the Gorgosaurus and his pack. Since the protagonists are large herbivorous dinosaurs, naturally the gorgosaurs are the Villains By Default and do get a comeuppance near the film's end. However, for the most part they're just hungry rather than malicious and sadistic. The other theropods are portrayed in a similar manner, though the Troodon, at least, has an edge of mischief and cowardice to it.
  • Ptero Soarer: The film features a species of azhdarchid pterosaur. While not bad in terms of accuracy: correctly covered in fuzz and quadrupedal on the ground, it also has pointed wings (pterosaurs had rounded wings in Real Life) and feeds on fish and carrion instead of stalking small vertebrates on land like real azhdarchids.
  • Raptor Attack: The maniraptorans, while by far some of the better depictions in the media, still suffer from having their wing feathers incorrectly attaching to the wrist instead of the second finger of each hand.
  • Real Is Brown: Averted, the dinosaurs in the film are depicted in a wide range of bright colours and markings. The Gorgosaurus, for example, has a covering of bright blue, iridescent scales.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Earlier models for the azhdarchids were more correctly proportioned (i.e.: had larger heads) and the ceratopsians had more accurate forefeet, but ended up being changed for this reason.
  • Scenery Porn: The film's visuals have been widely praised by critics, and rightfully so.
  • Seldom Seen Species: Pachyrhinosaurus, Alexornis, Gorgosaurus, Hesperonychus, Chirostenotes, Alphadon, Edmontonia, and Parksosaurus.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Troodon and Edmontosaurus.
  • Terrible Trio: The Azhdarchids are a textbook example of the comedic variant.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Alex scolds Patchi for willing to die out of despair and says that he should live. If not...then he should die fighting for something worth living for like Bulldust did.

Valley Of The T RexDinosaur MediaWhen Dinosaurs Roamed America
VixenAnimal Title IndexWalking With Beasts
The Wild ThornberrysNature DocumentaryPlanet Of Dinosaurs
Waking the DeadBritish SeriesWallander

alternative title(s): Walking With Dinosaurs; Walking With Monsters; Walking With Beasts; The Ballad Of Big Al; The Ballad Of Big Al; Chased By Dinosaurs; Chased By Dinosaurs; Sea Monsters
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