Original Series (1999 - 2000)
- Action Girl: The one we most frequently see and who appears to be the pack's leader is female.
- Action Survivor: The one animal along with the cynodonts, Peteinosaurus and Plateosaurus that survived the trials and tribulations of the Triassic. Placerias and Postosuchus, to put it bluntly, weren't so lucky.
- Adapted Out: One of the four protagonist animals along with Diplodocus, Liopleurodon and Leallynasaura to be absent from the Arena Spectacular, apparently to avert Misplaced Wildlife on the part of Plateosaurus (who was native to Europe, as opposed to North America like Coelophysis). It's noteworthy in that it's the only one of the four to be replaced by another dinosaur—in this case, Liliensternus, a similar theropod that actually did coexist with Plateosaurus.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Mercilessly averted. See I Am A Humanitarian.
- Big Eater: It is constantly seen eating or trying to eat, and everything is game to it.
- Call It Karma: A Coelophysis eats a baby cynodont, the cynodont father later hunts a baby Coelophysis. Not that the Coelophysis would care much, because they also eat their own young.
- Eats Babies: Of their own kind! And the cynodonts...
- Explosive Breeder: We don't see them laying eggs, but they keep breeding even during the dry season until there is nothing left to eat but themselves.
- Extreme Omnigoat: If it got meat, it is eaten by Coelophysis.
- Follow the Leader: Zigzagged. It is impossible to see this green swarm and not think of the Compsognathus swarm in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. However, this was based on a Procompsognathus swarm in the original novel, Jurassic Park, which was likely based in turn in the great numbers of Coelophysis skeletons found together in Arizona and New Mexico, since both Compsognathus and Procompsognathus are known from single, isolated skeletons. Same goes for the Explosive Breeder plot, which is reminiscent of the book's Velociraptor plot.
- Fragile Speedster: It's faster and more agile than any other reptile of the time, but it's also more fragile than the other reptiles.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Thought introduced as potential predators of Placerias right away, it is hard to picture them as such until they become The Swarm, and by that point even Postosuchus is in their sight. Doubles as one for Theropod dinosaurs, who will soon become the dominant predators on Earth, and remain such for 140 million years.
- I Am A Humanitarian: When all other resources disappear during the dry season, they resort to eating members of their own species.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: It is not notable for anything in particular (except perhaps explosive breeding) yet it is thanks to that lack of specialization that it is so adaptable and has become the most common resident vertebrate in the area.
- Science Marches On: The evidence of cannibalism has been reinterpreted as an artifact of Coelophysis fossilizing on top of each other.
- The Swarm: At the end of the episode it gangs up to kill a dying Postosuchus.
- Villain Protagonist: Not exactly the most sympathetic main character of the series.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Despite being small and fragile, at the end of the episode they eat the resident top predator (Postosuchus) and meet with their gigantic relative, Plateosaurus. Both scenes herald the true beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs.
- Zerg Rush: Not at first, but they eventually use this on Postosuchus.
- Action Survivor: Represents the future of the mammals.
- All Animals Are Dogs: They are decidedly dog-like in their behavior.
- All There in the Manual: The only cynodont remains from Arizona are isolated teeth. The aspect was based on South Africa's Thrinaxodon.
- Always Someone Better: They are related to the gorgonopsians that were the dominant predators before the archosaurs, and also to the mammals that became dominant after the dinosaurs. But right now, they are completely overshadowed by the archosaurs and limited to play a marginal role - both plot-wise and ecologically.
- Anachronism Stew and Misplaced Wildlife: They are canonically based on Thrinaxodon, a cynodont that lived in South Africa around 30 million years before the episode is set.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Averted when they eat their own young to save them from an even worse fate.
- Battle Couple: Males and females stay together while raising their young.
- Eats Babies: Their own babies.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: They look like a lizard and dog hybrid.
- Offing the Offspring: When they have to move out because of the Coelophysis.
- Papa Wolf: Until the Coelophysis discover the burrow and he decides the young aren't worth defending anymore.
- Prehistoric Monster: It looks like a dog on first glance, but at the same time it's clear something's not quite right with it.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The cubs. And then they had to die
- Rule of Cool: They are larger than the local fossils imply, and there is no fossil evidence for the eating of young as a defensive measure.
- Shoot the Dog: The narration acknowledges that the cynodonts eating their babies was a necessary evil; if they are to move out and start anew, they won't be able to bring their young with them. It was likely a choice between killing the young quickly or leaving them to slowly starve to death...
- Butt-Monkey: Representing all the species that can't survive the Triassic, and basically serves the episode simply as prey for Postosuchus and Coelophysis. However, it must be noted that no single species dominated the entire face of the Earth as they did, and none since save humans.
- Dumb Muscle: Not too bright, but definitely brawny and armed with sharp tusks.
- Mighty Glacier: Between its size, strength, and sharp tusks, it's too much for most of the local predators to tackle, but it's also desperately slow.
- Monster Munch: The Establishing Character Moment of the Postosuchus is predating on them.
- Adaptation Expansion: The cause of the Postosuchus' injury is never clearly explained; the narrator only said it was injured during its last hunt. In the book, however, it is stated the Postosuchus fights a Plateosaurus and was defeated and injured by it. Furthermore, it tries to give one last fight against the Coelophysis pack and manage to kill one before succumbing to its wound.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Technically it is no villain and just a predator, but its death nonetheless is one of the most depressing scenes in the series.
- Armor Is Useless: Its tough osteoderms are no hindrance to the Coelophysis in the end.
- Artistic License Paleontology: Its marking behaviour drew some criticism from scientists, as no evidence suggested such behavior. It was also far too slow and clumsy, and should have been at least facultatively bipedal.
- Badass in Distress: It was injured in the middle of the episode, the injury ultimately lead to its agonizing death near the end of the episode.
- Big Bad: Main predator in "New Blood" (besides the Coelophysis, but they're sort of the protagonists).
- Cool vs. Awesome: In the book it fights a Plateosaurus.
- Cruel Mercy: When the prey is too big, the Postosuchus will bite once and retire... to wait for the prey to bleed out or die from exhaustion.
- Establishing Character Moment: Eating a Placerias alive.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Not a true crocodile, but still.
- Prehistoric Monster: Played with. While it's portrayed as a villainous creature for much of the episode, it's also shown as a real animal with weaknesses and vulnerabilities towards the end of the episode.
- Starter Villain: It's the biggest threat to the earliest dinosaurs, before evolution takes hold and the dinosaurs come to dominate the land.
- Starts with Their Funeral: The Triassic segment first flashes the situation during the worst of the drought, including a shot of the Postosuchus skull on the ground.
- Stock Sound Effects: Its roars are, of all things, modified versions of the Howie scream.
- Villain Protagonist: Shares this role with Coelophysis.
- Action Survivor: Along with Coelophysis, Peteinosaurus and the cynodonts, though more blatantly as it represents the future success of the dinosaurs.
- Adaptation Expansion: In the book it fights a Postosuchus.
- Adaptational Badass: In the book it manages to win against the Postosuchus in a one on one battle.
- Advertised Extra: It is always mentioned as one of the characters in the first episode, yet the only thing they do is showing up at the end and being noted for being big.
- Cool vs. Awesome: Its adaptational fight with the Postosuchus.
- Foreshadowing: Their presence, according to the narration, is meant to represent the future success of the dinosaurs. When they show up, they scare away the Coelophysis!"This is the shape of things to come..."
- Giant Equals Invincible: To quote the narrator, they are simply too big to be threatened.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Actually came from Germany.
- Action Survivor: Implied, seeing as it represents the future success of the pterosaurs (who would one day rule the Mesozoic skies).
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Like Coelophysis, its main role is to show the humble origins of a group of (future) large archosaurs, in this case pterosaurs.
- Hero of Another Story: Has a lot of scenes, but never interacts with the other animals.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Actually came from Germany and Italy. Hand waved by the narrator, who states that it and its kind arrived "from far and wide" because it was attracted to the insects at the water hole.
- Ptero Soarer: Not too inaccurate, but still suffers from several issues. Most notably, it's depicted as a specialized insect hawker; while pterosaurs like Peteinosaurus were likely insect eaters, they don't have any adaptations that suggest that they would be at all good at hawking insects out of the air (that was more the below mentioned Anurognathus' forte).
- Adapted Out: Absent from the Arena Spectacular, presumably for staging reasons; One of the four protagonists to suffer this fate. However, the even bigger Brachiosaurus is still present.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The old female is the leader of the herd, and she will whip anyone who dares to mess with her herd.
- Big Damn Heroes: The adult herd, when assisting the main female.
- Big Eater: They must eat constantly to keep those massive bodies healthy.
- Coming-of-Age Story: The episode follows a female Diplodocus from the time it is laid as an egg to her first mating.
- Cool vs. Awesome: The climax featuring it battling an Allosaurus.
- Explosive Breeder: A subversion. The main Diplodocus's mother lays dozens of eggs, but only two live to join an adult herd.
- Free-Range Children: They don't take care of their newborns, which is justified by the babies being quite precocious.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The adults always have three feet on the ground to sustain their massive weight properly.
- Gasshole: In a moment of Toilet Humor, it farts on the camera.
- Gentle Giant: They don't voluntarily hurt other animals unless threatened.
- Giant Equals Invincible: Such a huge animal that very few predators ever try to attack them.
- Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: A young adult is as tall as a two-story house. An egg is as big as a football.
- Kill It with Fire: At one point, the Diplodocus siblings must flee a devastating forest fire that kills all but three of them.
- MayDecember Romance: The young Diplodocus's first "fling" is a gigantic male around 100 years old.
- Mighty Glacier: As an adult, it is too large and heavy to move particularly fast, but given their great strength and power, they don't really need it.
- Never Mess with Granny: The eldest female is the herd's leader.
- Perspective Flip: "Time of the Titans" is the Coming-of-Age Story of a female Diplodocus, with the failed attack of an Allosaurus as a climatic scene. The special "The Ballad of Big Al", set in the same formation and featuring the same fauna, is the Coming-of-Age Story of a male Allosaurus, with the successful attack on a Diplodocus as a climatic scene.
- Really 700 Years Old: They only vary in size and it is never elaborated, but the large ones are apparently centenarian.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: As young they are very neotenous, with large round eyes, small bodies and high pitched voices.
- Series Mascot: Though not to the extent of the three theropods (Allosaurus, Utahraptor, and Tyrannosaurus) it is often featured in promotional material and related media, and has become a Trope Codifier for the show's depiction of diplodocids.
- Tail Slap: Its only means of defense against large predators like Allosaurus, other than its size.
- Team Mom: The herd's matriarch.
- Trope Codifier: This restoration helped popularize the idea that diplodocids marched with their tails and necks straight at all times.
- Turtle Island: A land version. Each gigantic Diplodocus has the power of changing the landscape through feeding and defecating alone, and carries its own flock of Anurognathus with it.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Three survive the forest fire, two join the adult herd some days later. The shot of an Allosaurus interested in the siblings in the middle leave little doubt about what happened to the missing sibling, however.
- Agony of the Feet: The injury that ultimately does Al in is a broken toe. Said toe becomes infected and later undergoes necrosis - that is, the tissue inside the toe dies and starts rotting while Al is still alive. Deified.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: "The Ballad of Big Al" follows an actual, named, individual dinosaur, instead of an unnamed, generic protagonist.
- Art Evolution: The Allosaurus model gets better in the special The Ballad of Big Al.
- Artistic License Paleontology: It was four times its actual size. This mistake is largely thanks to a close relative Epanterias, which did reach such sizes (and in fact probably exceeded them) and there was a lot of confusion between the two. However, Epanterias may, in fact, simply be a large specimen of Allosaurus.
- Ascended Extra: Starts as the main antagonist of "Time of the Titans" and becomes the protagonist of "The Ballad of Big Al". It even personifies the arrival of the Age of the Dinosaurs in a small cameo at Walking With Monsters.
- Badass in Distress: Poor Al... With over 44 skeletal injuries in his fossil, he had a tough life and died young due to a foot injury.
- Big Bad: The main antagonists of "Time of the Titans" and the only predators that really pose a threat against the Diplodocus.
- Body Horror: Al's toe injury doesn't look that bad with flesh over it, but what an absolute horror it is in his skeleton!
- Book-Ends: After Al dies, his body is inspected by two infant Allosaurus.
- Coming-of-Age Story: "The Ballad of Big Al" follows a male Allosaurus from birth to early adulthood. Unfortunately, this also includes his death.
- Cool vs. Awesome: The climax featuring it battling the Diplodocus. Later in the special "The Ballad of the Big Al", a pack of Allosaurus hunts a herd of Diplodocus, making it the biggest epic of the entire series.
- Cruel Mercy: After isolating a sick Diplodocus from its herd, Big Al and the other Allosaurus prefer to wait until it collapses from sunstroke, rather than attacking it outright.
- Death by Irony:
- Big Al is "saved" from being trapped in quicksand when a larger Allosaurus scares him away from a trapped Stegosaurus. The larger Allosaurus proceeds to become trapped and die there in his place.
- Big Al's fatal injury is produced when he trips while hunting Dryosaurus, among the less challenging game of his lifetime.
- Downer Ending/"Shaggy Dog" Story: In the special, Big Al the young Allosaurus dies of starvation and injury.
- Foregone Conclusion: We are shown Big Al's skeleton at the start of the episode.
- Eats Babies: Of Diplodocus and of its own kind, if given the chance.
- Establishing Character Moment: First seen attacking the young Diplodocus.
- Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: As shown in "The Ballad of Big Al". Although not as dramatic as Diplodocus, the change in sizes from newborn to adult is still comparable to large crocodiles.
- Historical-Domain Character: Big Al is the first creature in the franchise that is based on a particular individual.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Older Allosaurus can predate over the younger ones. That includes their own mother after her maternal instincts fade.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Sex between Allosaurus is not gentle, as Big Al learns when he hits puberty.
- Lightning Bruiser: It is the largest and strongest predator of its episode(s), and it is also built for speed.
- Likes Older Women: At one point, Al encounters the excrements of an adult female Allosaurus whose smell shows she is in heat, and he promptly begins uttering some mating calls to lure her. When she appears, she rejects Al, because, even though he has achieved sexual maturity, he's still too young for her. Al has none of it and begins making advances at her, only to get violently injured by the older female.
- Mama Bear: Chronologically, the first dinosaur species we see caring for its young.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Though it applies to most theropod dinosaurs, the making-of of "The Ballad of Big Al" highlights that it is like a large flightless bird in some aspects, and like an alligator in others.
- Non-Human Undead: Big Al's ghost visits his own skeleton at a museum exhibit.
- Red Baron: The narrator calls it "the lion of the Jurassic".
- Series Mascot: The most used in advertising along with Tyrannosaurus and Utahraptor. It even personifies dinosaurs at the end of Walking With Monsters, where it is shown to evolve from the humble archosaur Euparkeria.
- Starts with Their Funeral: The episode opens with the skeleton of Big Al in a museum exhibit, which is then visited by his ghost.
- Stock Sound Effects: Their adult roars seem to be lower-pitched screeches and caws from the Jurassic Park Velociraptors as well as chimpanzee screams, while the babies croak like baby alligators.
- The Swarm: In "The Ballad of Big Al", several Allosaurus gather after the trail of a sick Diplodocus and succeed in bringing it down. They don't do this in a concerted manner, however, as they're not exactly social animals.
- Would Hurt a Child: It kills a young Diplodocus, and later in the special The Ballad of Big Al it's shown to be cannibalistic.
- Eats Babies: Kills a baby Diplodocus. They also stalk the Allosaurus babies in "The Ballad of Big Al".
- Feathered Fiend: Oddly the only theropod besides Iberomesornis shown with feathers in the series.
- Fragile Speedster: Small and swift, but not very tough.
- Science Marches On: The idea that Ornitholestes had a nasal crest was based on the fact that post-mortem damage to the type fossil had warped the bones of the snout upwards. In Real Life, their noses were almost certainly unadorned.
- Starter Villain: The antagonist in the early days of the Diplodocus' youth, but by the time they're grown, he's no longer a threat.
- Who's Laughing Now?: When it sees that its former prey is too big to tackle, it is compelled to flee.
- Accidental Hero: Saves the young Diplodocus from the Allosaurus accidentally - it walks into the scene when they are being attacked by Allosaurus and reacts defensively against the Allosaurus without paying attention to the Diplodocus. Unfortunately, this extends to also killing one of the Diplodocus by accident.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: Its spiky tail is its main weapon of defense.
- Cool vs. Awesome: Almost happens between it and the Allosaurus, but the predators decide to retreat before fighting it.
- Covers Always Lie: Appears in the opening credits of Chased by Dinosaurs despite being completely absent from the series. It perhaps replaces Therizinosaurus as a way to not spoil the surprise, since all other animals in the shot are from the episode "The Giant Claw".
- Dumb Muscle: Had the smallest brain of all the dinosaurs of its size. Still, it's not an easy target.
- Rule of Cool: The flushing of blood into its plates as a way to scare predators was merely conjectural at the time...
- Science Marches On: ...and is now disproven that we know stegosaur plates were covered in horn. Stegosaurs are now also believed to have been longer-necked, more social, and living in the plains rather than closed forests.
- Writer Cop Out: In "The Ballad of Big Al", two stegosaurs start to get "intimate" while the narrator tells us that mating is a difficult process for them. So difficult, in fact, that scientists don't know yet how it happened. However, instead of engaging in speculation, the ritual is cut when Al walks by and the stegosaurs switch to defensive mode.
- Animals Not to Scale: In "The Ballad of Big Al", the model seems to have been recycled for a much larger generic pterosaur. At one point, the nearly adult Al catches one that looks half as long as an Allosaurus head.
- Expy: Plays the part of an oxpecker, which had not evolved yet. In Real Life, it was most likely the expy of a bat (or rather, bats are expies of it).
- Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: The real animal has since been found to be nocturnal.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A literal example. Just as the narrator says that they make everything on the Diplodocus, an Anurognathus answers every viewer's potential question by defecating on camera.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Shown in North America despite only being known from Europe. Lampshaded in the companion book. Anurognathus did have a relative (called Mesadactylus) that lived in North America, however.
- Noisy Nature: Makes helluva lot of noise for such a small animal....
- Ptero Soarer: No evidence exists that Anurognathus or any pterosaur related to it had symbiotic relationships with any dinosaur (granted fossils can't tell us that). In fact, research done since the documentary's release suggests that anurognathid pterosaurs were actually nocturnal, swift-like creatures that spent the nights hawking insects out of the sky and hiding in the trees during the day. Oddly, they're the only pterosaurs in the series with visible pycnofibres.
- Rule of Cool: The speculative symbiotic relationship between them and the Diplodocus.
- The Swarm: Though non-malicious, they journey in large groups.
Dryosaurus and Othnielia
- All There in the Manual: Othnielia gets its name dropped in "The Ballad of Big Al", Dryosaurus only in accompanying material.
- Art Evolution: Othnielia was first restored as a Palette Swap version of Dryosaurus, but later got its own model.
- Fragile Speedster: Their only defense is numbers and running away.
- Kill It with Fire: One is burned to a crisp in the aftermath of the forest fire.
- Living Prop: They aren't paid attention in "Time of the Titans" and are used to show the diversification of dinosaurs and how many niches they occupy, both large and small. They gain a little more importance in "The Ballad of Big Al", since they're vulnerable to Allosaurus before sauropods become so.
- Monster Munch: Surprisingly averted, and due to a Deus ex Machina, no less. See Unwitting Instigator of Doom.
- Palette Swap: They shared model in "Time of the Titans" but hung around separately and had their color patterns already established, so they were clearly intended to be different species. They get different models in "The Ballad of Big Al".
- Those Two Guys: Those two species in this case. They barely have an impact in the plot, and the narrator almost pays them no attention.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Big Al receives its fatal injury while hunting Dryosaurus. Ironically, they're among the less dangerous creature he faced in his life.
- Advertised Extra: Despite being featured in many trailers and accompanying material, when they appear they are just noted for their size and leave the show soon after.
- Ascended Extra: Has a more important part in the Arena Spectacular, where it is upgraded to resident sauropod in place of Adapted Out Diplodocus.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Despite their size, it is easy to forget they were in the original series.
- Gentle Giant: They are never seen getting violent.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: It is easy to mistake them for a recolor of Diplodocus, but they actually have different proportions.
- Prop Recycling: Still obvious that the model was modified from Diplodocus.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Zig-zagged. They replace Diplodocus as the most common, "smaller" sauropod in "The Ballad of Big Al". However, they hold their necks somewhat taller and seem to prefer more wooden environments along with Brachiosaurus. Diplodocus still appears as a prey for Allosaurus, living in a larger herd in a more open area.
- Action Survivor: It is hard to imagine a dinosaur surviving in a small island arch surrounded by sea monsters, let alone a decent-sized theropod. And yet Eustreptospondylus manages.
- Always a Bigger Fish: One is eaten by Liopleurodon.
- Anachronism Stew: The only Eustreptospondylus skeleton is around 162 million years old; the episode is set 13 million years later.
- Art Evolution: Restored first as an awful green, lizard-looking animal in the test footage of the original, unreleased pilot.
- Big Eater: Always shown either eating or trying to eat.
- Circling Vultures: Plays this role when the Liopleurodon is stranded and dying on the beach.
- The Constant: As the only actual dinosaur in the episode, it serves as a reminder that the Age of Dinosaurs is still going on despite their irrelevance in the aquatic medium.
- Cruel Mercy: They don't attack the stranded Liopleurodon while it is alive... because they prefer to wait for it to suffocate to death.
- Decoy Protagonist: Used deliberately in the prologue to establish Liopleurodon.
- Hidden Depths: A surprisingly good swimmer despite not appearing to be built for it.
- Monster Munch: Although it does other things in the episode, the prologue where it serves as this is the most memorable.
- Scavengers Are Scum: Depicted as a scavenger, presumably as a contrast to Liopleurodon.
- Who's Laughing Now?: At the end of the episode, several Eustreptospondylus gather to eat the stranded Liopleurodon who had eaten a Eustreptospondylus at the beginning.
- The Worf Effect: Somewhat similar to the top predator in the previous episode, Allosaurus, and introduced stalking a fish while the narrator speaks of how "the largest predator of the Jurassic stalks its prey". That largest predator is revealed to be Liopleurodon, and its prey is Eustreptospondylus itself.
- Adapted Out: Absent from the Arena Spectacular, most likely because an underwater scene would be too hard to stage. One of the four protagonist animals to suffer this.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Mirroring Postosuchus, it becomes a victim of the environment (a sea tempest that disorients it and leaves it stranded on a beach) and ends eaten by dinosaurs he would have barely paid attention to, while in his prime.
- Always a Bigger Fish: The trope made flesh. It preys on everything found in the area, including sharks, other sea reptiles and even shore dinosaurs. Is now the official deity of this trope.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: Despite the series name "Walking with Dinosaurs", Liopleurodon is not one, but a member of a group of reptiles not even hinted at in the series before its appearance, and it rules over a place where dinosaurs are marginal despite being at the peak of their fame (the episode is set only 3 million years after "Time of the Titans", so it is roughly contemporary). Liopleurodon doesn't walk, either.
- Artistic License Paleontology: It's much larger than its real life counterpart was.
- Art Evolution: Has a dolphin-like grey coat in the test footage of the unreleased pilot.
- Badass Grandpa: The one appearing in the episode is over 100 years old. That's why it presumably grew to be so large, since reptiles grow during their whole lifetime.
- Big Bad: In all the sense of both words.
- Blood Is Squicker in Water: The result of any encounter with Liopleurodon.
- Creator Provincialism: Its appearance and Historical Badass Upgrade probably owes a lot to the fact that it is known mostly from England and France.
- Death by Irony: After being stranded, it suffocates under its own massive weight and it is powerless to stop the Eustreptospondylus (like the one it killed in the beginning of the episode) from eating it.
- The Dreaded: It's the most feared creature of its environment, and the most powerful carnivore featured in the entire series.
- Establishing Character Moment: Killing a predatory dinosaur (Eustreptospondylus) in one bite. It happens right at the beginning of the episode and it's one of the most memorable scenes in the entire series.
- Expy: Works as one of the Killer Whale, excluding its solitary nature and absurdly large size.
- Hazardous Water: Pretty much the reason you wouldn't wanna swim in this ocean.
- Handwave: We are told that the featured Liopleurodon is really, really old - a centenarian or close to it, actually. That's why it's also really, really big compared to even the wildest estimates of this animal's size at the time the show came out.
- Historical Badass Upgrade: It was certainly not the size of a blue whale in reality, which would make it a contender for largest animal ever at almost 30 meters long; nor is there any reason to think it came near the shore to hunt land animals like a crocodile or a killer whale. The size was exaggerated from a controversial top estimated size of "merely" 20 meters. And since the show came out, it's been determined that Liopleurodon didn't reach even 10.
- Horrifying the Horror: The sharks threatening the Ophthalmosaurus mother scatter when it gets near.
- Lightning Bruiser: A fast swimmer despite its huge size, and the most powerful predator on the planet.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Crocodile and Killer Whale have a baby, it grows to the size of a blue whale.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Not a crocodile itself, but it lunges out of the water to ambush a Eustreptospondylus like a crocodile attacking a wildebeest.
- One-Hit Kill: Apparently fond of this, as both Eustreptospondylus and Ophthalmosaurus learn first hand.
- Prehistoric Monster: Easily one of the most monstrous beasts in the series.
- Rule of Cool:
- At the time of production, Liopleurodon was estimated at most at 20 meters in length, not 30 as in the show. And even that was a controversial maximum estimate.
- The entire introduction scene (epic as it may have been), wherein the Liopleurodon eats a Eustreptospondylus by leaping out of the water and grabbing it by the tail. Granted it's not impossible, but there is no fossil evidence of anything similar and it requires so many unlikely conditions (Liopleurodon coming to the shore despite the risk to strand itself, Eustreptospondylus to stand right on a cliff deep enough for Liopleurodon to appear right next to it, Liopleurodon somehow detecting Eustreptospondylus outside the water without making itself obvious, etc) as to render it practically impossible. Word of God is that it was based on attacks by killer whales.
- Science Marches On:
- Liopleurodon size estimates went down to 10 meters before estabilizing at a meager 6.8 meters. Non-filter oceanic predators seem to consistently top at 16-18 meters, regardless if they are reptiles, sharks or whales.
- It now seems all sea reptiles including pliosaurs had tail flukes and not just ichthyosaurs.
- Sea Monster: It lives at sea, and it's certainly portrayed as a terrifying monster. The only thing keeping it from qualifying as a kaiju is the fact that it can't come onto land.
- Series Mascot: It appeared in the opening credits and was used to promote the show when it came out, but seems to have been quietly cast aside as Science Marched On.
- Shrouded in Myth: Not in the actual plot, as it came before humans, but in the way it's presented to the audience. It comes, feasts on its prey, and goes about its merry way.
- Slasher Smile: The restoration of the head looks as though it's constantly sporting one. It noticeably fades when it's beached.
- Trope Codifier: The series made Liopleurodon and pliosaurs in general a lot more popular than they were before.
- Villainous Rescue: Scares off a group of sharks stalking the birthing Ophthalmosaurus... only to attack it itself.
- Villain Protagonist: It's arguably the actual main character of the episode. Way more memorable than any other creature in it, at least. At the same time, it does nothing but killing and scaring animals before dying, solidifying its "villain" status.
- Action Survivor: You have to be to survive in these waters. And they do it on their own since they are born.
- Anachronism Stew: A contemporary of Eustreptospondylus and therefore too old to appear in the episode's setting, which was obviously chosen because of Liopleurodon. Several close relatives are known from the episode's time, although only from Norway and Russia.
- Coming-of-Age Story: A particular Ophthalmosaurus pup is followed from birth to the aftermath of its first storm.
- Death by Childbirth: After a brutal fashion. A female has complications giving birth, which attracts sharks, and eventually also the Liopleurodon.
- Eats Babies/I Am A Humanitarian: It's isn' shown, but it's stated that the adults would eat the young of other Ophthalmosaurus.
- Fragile Speedster: They rely on speed to get away from sharks and larger sea reptiles.
- Free-Range Children: They are on their own the moment they leave their mother's cloaca.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: One is cut in half by a Liopleurodon bite.
- Heroic Dolphin: How they're portrayed.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: A four-finned reptile masquerading as a dolphin.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: It is probably not a coincidence that they have comically large eyes and were chosen as the "heart" of the episode, which is one of the darkest in the series.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The little baby Ophthalmosaurus.
- Science Marches On:
- Ichthyosaurs could give birth to five pups or more at once, and the fossils of ichthyosaurs purportedly showing mothers that died giving birth actually showed females that died while pregnant, then expelled a fetus during decomposition.
- Ichthyosaurs weren't rare sea reptiles for giving living birth. Most others did too rather than going back to land as claimed in the episode.
- Supporting Protagonist: They take over the plot several times, but it remains an ensemble.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: It's as much a predatory reptile as any other, but it receives a lot more sympathy.
- Anachronism Stew: Also contemporary of Eustreptospondylus and Ophthalmosaurus. The genus Kimmerosaurus (seen in Planet Dinosaur) would have been more accurate.
- Artistic License Paleontology: Between their weight and nonfunctional wrists and elbows, it was already unlikely that plesiosaurs could come onto land. Even with the knowledge of the time when the episode came out.
- Black Bead Eyes: The model got this despite being a sea reptile.
- Eat Dirt, Cheap: Swallows stones to keep from being too buoyant.
- Expy: Besides coming onto land, it's depicted as rather curious and playful, not unlike a seal.
- Graceful in Their Element: Large and clumsy on land, fast and beautiful in the sea.
- Hero of Another Story: Not focused on, but present in the cast.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: A bit like a mix of a seal and a sea turtle.
- Noisy Nature: Makes bellowing noises on land.
- The Producer Thinks of Everything: The animators found nothing alive that swam like a plesiosaur, so they came up with an entirely new four-flipper system for it.
- Science Marches On:
- The rocks may have been swallowed to help grind bones and shells, rather than regulate buoyancy.
- Plesiosaurs gave birth in the water, much like ichthyosaurs, which eliminates the main reason for them to move on land at all.
- Plesiosaurs also had tail flukes.
- Stock Ness Monster: It closely resembles Nessie.
- All There in the Manual: Only called "sharks" in the episode.
- Always Someone Better: They used to be top predators before sea reptiles came about. Now they are permanently outclassed.
- Black Bead Eyes: As expected from a shark.
- Circling Vultures: They start swimming around the moment an animal has trouble.
- Eats Babies: They eat baby Ophthalmosaurus.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: They start to gather around a mother Ophthalmosaurus that has trouble giving birth. But it's subverted when a Liopleurodon arrives and makes them flee.
- Monster Munch: We're told that the Liopleurodon oftenly preys on sharks.
- Spikes of Villainy: Subverted. They're defensive spines, and they need them to protect themselves from the Liopleurodon.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: It's only advantage over the sea reptiles is that it doesn't have to hold its breath.
- The Nose Knows: They can smell blood. They're sharks. It comes with the territory.
- Threatening Shark: They are the apparent main predator of Ophthalmosaurus, or at least their young.
- You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: One patrols the reef, waiting for a hiding baby Ophthalmosaurus to return to the surface to breath. As the narrator reminds us, the advantage of being a shark is that you don't need to do that.
- Who's Laughing Now?: They follow a wounded Liopleurodon's trail. Also qualify in a meta sense, giving that sharks will survive to the present unlike non-turtle sea reptiles.
- The Worf Effect: Also a victim of this in order to shill Liopleurodon as the top predator, this time in the water.
- Artistic License Paleontology:
- Animals Not to Scale:
- It appears to be a lot smaller than the real animal, which had a six-foot wingspan.
- Its beak wasn't useful for skim-feeding and would have submerged to fish, either partially or totally. It was even worse for pricking insects out of a tree.
- Big Eater: Fish, insect larvae, horseshoe crab eggs; it seems that as long as it's meat, they'll eat it.
- Butt-Monkey: They're depicted as rather expendable; some get eaten by a Eustreptospondylus, others have their bones shattered during a severe storm.
- Circling Vultures: At the end, a flock of surviving Rhamphorhynchus can be seen flying over the dead Liopleurodon while the Eustreptospondylus are eating him. They are presumably going to join the Eustreptospondylus in the scavenging.
- Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: Rhamphorhynchus was actually nocturnal.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Truth in Television. Rhamphorhynchus had a lot of very sharp teeth in its mouth, which it used to keep a grip on slippery fish.
- Noisy Nature: Makes loud honking noises throughout the episode.
- Ptero Soarer: They're depicted as skim-feeders, which was physically impossible for known pterosaurs. Additionally, they have the same "rapid flapping" flight that the other rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs in the series have, despite the fact that Rhamphorhynchus was actually a seagull-like soarer.
- Scary Teeth: Its mouth is full of long, pointy teeth, though it's harmless as long as you're not a fish.
- Science Marches On: It seems to have been active at night while the closely related Scaphognathus was active in the same area during the day.
- The Swarm: Downplayed. There are lots of them and they show up in great numbers wherever the food is, but they never cooperate with each other and aren't dangerous.
LimulusA horseshoe crab genus with a long fossil history. Live-acted by modern horseshoe crabs, as they continue to exist.
- The Constant: They didn't even need to splice footage as horseshoe crabs come naturally to breed in the filming location, Bahamas.
- Death by Sex: They congregate at the beaches to mate. Many die or become immobile when turned upside down, making them a treat for other animals in the morning.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Each is the size of a human hand or larger.
- Explosive Breeder: Each female lays thousands of eggs, which they have to because pterosaurs almost eat as much.
- Living Relic: They were there 100 million years before in the Triassic, and they are still around 150 million years later, for that matter.
- Non-Indicative Name: They're more closely related to arachnids than crabs.
- No Name Given: Just called horseshoe crabs.
- All for Nothing: The episode's protagonist, an old male, flies across the world to mate, but dies without accomplishing his goal. However...
Despite this ignominious end, the old male was a success. In his 40 years of life he probably sired several thousand offspring and it is likely that some of them were on this beach, competing and succeeding where he finally failed.
- Babies Ever After: Implied in the book (and the documentary, albeit in a "blink-and-you-miss-it" sense) to show that his journey may not have been completely pointless:
- And Now For Something Completely Different: After the sea creature episode comes the pterosaur one. The location changes along the episode and many different environments and unrelated species are explored.
- Badass Grandpa: He flew halfway across the world and cheated death multiple times all because his sex drive was too much for him to ignore. The trip pretty much killed him, but you have to admit that doing something like that must have taken a lot of stamina. The book and "Prehistoric Planet" also imply that he's a literal example of the former (he may have had children and grandchildren).
- Bloodier and Gorier: His death is considerably more violent in the book (simply put, the rival males more or less try to tear him apart every time he attempts to land).
- Creator Provincialism: Like Liopleurodon above, the genus Ornithocheirus was first named in the UK.
- Death by Sex: Inverted; he never gets the chance to mate and then he dies.
- Determinator: He would've stopped at nothing to get to his mating grounds. And later, even when he's driven away and then slowly dying of starvation and heat stress, he's still calling for females to mate with him. He fails, but points for trying.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Exaggerated. He fails to attract even one of the female Ornithocheirus that have arrived at the breeding grounds, but instinct forces him to continue calling for a mate and he eventually dies from exhaustion after using up all his energy in a futile endeavour. However, he was more successful in previous mating seasons and fails on this occasion due to his age and has been relegated to the fringes of the breeding grounds, where he's less attractive to the females.
- Dying Alone: In the documentary. In the book, he's surrounded by other dead and dying Ornithocheirus, though that's not particularly good company.
- Foregone Conclusion: His death is shown right at the opening narration.
- Giant Flyer: 40 feet from wingtip to wingtip.
- The Hero Dies: He dies from a mix of heat stress, hunger and exhaustion at the end of the episode.
- How We Got Here: His dead body is shown in the opening narration and the Narrator announces to the viewers that we'll get to see the story of his last journey.
- Ptero Soarer: Though he's comparatively more accurate than the other pterosaurs in the series, he still skim-feeds and is far too clumsy in the air and on the ground. Visibly, he also lacks pycnofibres, though said fibres are actually mentioned by the narration at one point.
- Really Gets Around: It's implied that, in his forty years of life, he's been attracting a lot of lady pterosaurs during the mating seasons and has likely sired thousands of offspring in the process. Justified in that this is simply how his species is shown to propagate in in the program (we get an example when one of his rivals is shown to have more success).
- Rule of Cool: The producers chose the largest possible size estimate for this pterosaur to use in the show. In reality, a wingspan of 8 meters is more likely even for the large specimen the estimates were based on.
- Science Marches On: The specimen the improbably giant size estimates were based on wasn't scientifically described until 2012. It was assigned to a different genus, Tropeognathus.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Travels the whole world to mate, dies without mating a single time. Subverted in the book, which implies that his death wasn't completely in vain, as his offspring from past mating seasons were most likely on the beach as well.
- Spared by the Adaptation: He lives in the arena spectacular, though he does have a brief run in with some raptors.
- Starts with Their Funeral: The opening narration shows him dead.
- Giant Flyer: Smaller than the Ornithocheirus, but still large for a flying animal.
- Hero of Another Story: We see them during their own mating season, but we never see what their other activities are.
- Nice Hat: Well, it's part of their head, but still....
- Noisy Nature: Justified, being a mating colony.
- Ptero Soarer: More so than most other depicted pterosaurs because its proportions are utterly screwed, its crest has weird ridges that make it look like some sort of fish fin, and it lives on the beach, eating fish, when even back then the idea that they were terrestrial omnivores with frugivore leanings was the most common interpretation. In the book, they're depicted as scavengers, being described as "combing the lagoons for carrion". This was unlikely in real life, though as omnivores they might have eaten some carrion from time to time.
- Science Marches On: This species of Tapejara had not been published yet at the time the series aired. It was later assigned to Tupandactylus.
- Acrofatic: Surprisingly agile for such a large animal.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Two different species are shown: a smaller, mostly brown one in North America; and a larger, green one in Europe. A third, mostly sand colored one appears in South America in "Chased by Dinosaurs".
- Cow Tools: They have conical claws on their hands. They're not shown using them.
- Monster Munch: They do what all large ornithopods do in dinosaur media: Serve as prey for the predators.
- Those Two Guys: Always accompanied by the ankylosaur Polacanthus.
- Science Marches On: The North American species is now classified under a new genus, Dakotadon (and the South American one as Macrogryphosaurus, for that matter).
- Mighty Glacier: It's much stronger than the local carnivores, but not particularly fast.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Known only from Europe, but also shown in North America. The American species might be Hoplitosaurus, although the narrator calls both Polacanthus and treats them as the same. They also look exactly the same on both sides of the Atlantic, unlike the Iguanodon.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Due to its thick armor and spikes. It dissuades Utahraptor from considering it prey, despite being much smaller than Iguanodon (and even smaller than the European Iguanodon).
- Those Two Guys: Enjoys traveling with Iguanodon.
- All There in the Manual: Not named onscreen.
- Anachronism Stew: Shown nearly 30 million years before it evolved.
- Development Gag: Possibly. It's the new Liopleurodon model used in the show, but the coat is the same as the Liopleurodon in the unaired test pilot.
- Hazardous Water: It appears to show that Ornithocheirus should cross the Atlantic fast and without getting close to the water.
- Palette Swap: This creature's a Liopleurodon without the black and white coloring.
- Sea Monster: It's scary and lives in the sea, at least.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To the Liopleurodon, down to using the same model.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: It's literally in the middle of the Ornithocheirus's flight from North America to Europe.
- Animated Actors: According to the making-of, it chain smokes and speaks in Received Pronunciation behind the camera.
- Art Evolution: They get red mane-like feathers and wings in the Arena Spectacular.
- Genius Bruiser: The first creature we see that's capable of pulling off complex hunting stretegies.
- Historical Badass Upgrade: It plays the part of the Velociraptor in Jurassic Park. However, this species was actually among the slowest dromaeosaurs in Real Life (though still fast for a dinosaur).
- Jerkass: The two more dominant keep the third at bay while they're eating, even though there's more than enough food for everyone.
- Killer Rabbit: The much larger Iguanodon should destroy Utahraptor on a one on one fight. It flees terrified instead, and with good reason.
- Lightning Bruiser: Well suited for running and fighting.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Utahraptor in Europe, anyone?
- Mix-and-Match Critters: What you may get if you cross an eagle with a big cat.
- Raptor Attack: Scaly skinned raptors, again.
- Science Marches On: Later studies revealed that it was much more robustly built than in the series.
- Series Mascot: Appears in the logo and promotional material, and also chairs (literally) the making-of.
- Slo Mo: Used when the Utahraptor jump over the fleeing Iguanodon.
- Villain of Another Story: Although they pose no threat to the Ornithocheirus, they antagonize the Iguanodon relentlessly. They're not evil, though, just predators.
- Wolverine Claws: Downplayed because it's only one located on the foot rather than the hand, but it's still fully retractable and devastating.
- Zerg Rush: They attack in groups.
- All There in the Manual: Identified only as "birds".
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Very brightly colored, even when compared to non-avian dinosaurs. Referred to as "tiny feathered jewels" in the book.
- Beauty Is Bad: Pretty to look at, but very aggressive.
- Feathered Fiend: They attack the Ornithocheirus fiercely when it intrudes into their nesting grounds.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: They're the first birds to appear, and while minuscule, they're already threatening to pterosaurs, which are disadvantaged due to their more delicate wings. Mesozoic birds don't appear again in the series, but are referenced in the final episode set 40 million years later, where it's mentioned that birds are thriving and have effectively replaced the declining pterosaurs.
- Killer Rabbit: Tiny compared to the Ornithocheirus, to the point of being mistaken for insects next to it, but no less vicious.
- Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: These birds are violently protective of their nesting grounds.
- Misplaced Wildlife: They appear in some place of Europe that's explicitly not the Iberian Peninsula, an island at the time - yet the only remains were found in Spain.
- Mix-and-Match Critters/Prehistoric Monster: It's a bird, alright... but it doesn't have a beak!
- Rule of Cool: The Zerg Rush behavior is completely speculative, since the only known remains consist of one headless skeleton.
- Science Marches On: Zigzagged. It's since been assigned to the Enantiornithes and somewhat lost its importance in the study of early bird evolution due to numerous Mesozoic bird fossils found in Chinese sites such as Liaoning. One consistent finding at one point was that Enantiornithes lacked a tail fan like modern birds and the Iberomesornis in the show, but tail fans were found in some Enantiornithes (e.g. Chiappeavis) later. Since Iberomesornis was one of the most primitive Enantiornithes, it might have lacked a fan, but we won't know until new remains of this species are found.
- Toothy Bird: Justified, the group it belongs to only rarely evolved beaks.
- Zerg Rush: A flock of them harass the old Ornithocheirus.
- Action Survivor: Despite their unimpressive aspect, they're the only dinosaur we see capable of living through a challenge not often associated with them - a polar winter.
- Adapted Out: Absent from the Arena Spectacular. Along with Diplodocus, Coelophysis and Liopleurodon, it's one of the four protagonists to be left out of the stage show.
- Anachronism Stew: Leaellynasaura is actually over 10 million years older than the setting of the episode, although similar hypsilophodontid-like dinosaurs continued to live in the area.
- Badass Adorable: Tiny ornithopod dinosaurs they may be, but they are the only animals among the ones we see that can thrive in the winter climate.
- Cow Tools: Despite being vegetarian, they have small forward-facing canines.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: A small, herbivorous dinosaur, that can last the winter much better than the larger, more fearsome dinosaurs.
- Fragile Speedster: Speed is about the only defense they have against predators.
- I Choose to Stay: Because of its tiny size, Leaellynasaura is unable to migrate and must wait for the whole Antarctic winter to pass.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Their large eyes and small beaked snouts make them this. The hatchlings take this Up to Eleven.
- Rule of Cool: The only confirmed remains of this species is a single skeleton without tail and hind legs, so everything related to its social nature and use of communal nests to survive the winter is speculative.
- Science Marches On: In the years after the show, it was discovered that even basal ornithischians, as removed from birds as a dinosaur could be, had fur-like feathers; and remains of disproportionally long hypsilophodont tails with non-ossified tendons (i.e. capable of bending laterally instead of remaining stiff as in most dinosaurs) have been found in the area. Although it is unclear if either applies to Leaellynasaura, it seems obvious that both would have been incorportated into its depiction in the show, had they been known at the time. Remains of individual burrows have also been found, offering a different explanation to how they survived the winter.
- Starts with Their Funeral: The episode begins with a lone Leaellynasaura that froze to death in the winter, then shows the carcass being eaten by Koolasuchus.
- Team Mom: The lead female. When she gets eaten, the whole clan falls apart.
- Took a Level in Badass: Compared to the other small ornithopods, who barely get more than being a Living Prop and Monster Munch in other episodes. In fact, small ornithopods made most of the dinosaurs in the area for about 45 million years, unlike everywhere else. This suggests they were better suited to cope with polar conditions than other dinosaurs.
- Big Bad: The main predator and the one who causes the biggest conflict by killing the lead female.
- Informed Species: The new BBC website identifies it as Australovenator, even though it doesn't look like one.
- Living Relic: Implied. It is nearly identical to another dinosaur that lived 30-40 million years before in a less remote location. We know now that this isn't the case because of Science Marches On.
- No Name Given: Originally called "polar allosaur" or "dwarf allosaur", as the remain that inspired it was only assigned provisionally to a nomen dubium, "Allosaurus" robustus.
- Palette Swap: Of the original Allosaurus.
- Rule of Cool: A more threatening enemy than Koolasuchus was needed, even if there was just an ankle bone to justify it at the time. And polar allosaur sounds freaking awesome.
- Science Marches On: It is likely that the fossil that inspired this animal belongs to Australovenator, described in 2009, or a similar species. At the very least, the bone's shape and size is consistent. Australovenator was a Megaraptoran (clade not defined itself until 2010), a group of medium-sized theropods closer to birds and tyrannosaurs, and as a result smaller, more lightly built, and faster han Allosaurus (while Allosaurus were compared to lions in the show, Megaraptorans have been compared to cheetahs in Real Life). The Megaraptorans also had long arms with large hand claws and probably used them to hunt. Since it was relatively small, it might have stayed over the winter and not retreated north with the Muttaburrasaurus, and it almost certainly had feathers for insulation.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Allosaurus.
- Anachronism Stew: Ironically, the area became warmer and even got crocodiles just before the time of the episode, which likely drove Koolasuchus to extinction. It should have been gone for about 14 million years already.
- Black Bead Eyes: Has the typical black, emotionless eyes of an amphibian.
- Dark Is Evil: It is completely black, unlike any other creature in the series, and it has an unsettling air around it.
- Graceful in Their Element: It takes it a long time to move on land, but it is scarily fast in the water.
- I Choose to Stay: It even hunts with snow on the ground.
- Last of His Kind/Living Relic: The last survivor of the temnospondyls, a group of large predatory amphibians that first evolved 200 million years before and were already past their prime when the dinosaurs appeared. It survived in polar latitudes that were too cold for crocodiles and their relatives.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: It acts very much like a crocodile, which explains why its group was driven extinct everywhere else by crocodylomorphs.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: It is huge, creepy-looking and an ambush predator, so it manages to be one of the scariest creatures in the series despite being almost useless on land. All of its appearances have a rather ominous feel to them.
- Prehistoric Monster: A salamander made Nightmare Fuel.
- Rule of Cool: Honestly, would you have this in the episode or a crocodile?
- Dumb Muscle: A couple gets lost on the migration north... which they do every year.
- Gentle Giant: They are absolutely not a threat to the local Leaellynasaura browsing with them.
- Mighty Glacier: Slow, but strong.
- Monster Munch: For the polar allosaur. As it should be expected of a Iguanodon relative.
- Noisy Nature: The noisiest of the bunch, with their bellowing calls.
- Rule of Cool: The inflatable sacks to use in calls. Proposed for many ornithopods and makes sense, but it is not entirely proven.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Plays the same part as its relative, Iguanodon and also looks like it.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A pair that gets lost in the forest end up preventing the Leaellynasaura sentry from detecting a polar allosaur, which allows it to kill the matriarch.
- All There in the Manual: The species is only identified in supplementary material.
- Informed Species: However, this makes no sense because it is live-acted by a coati, which looks nothing like a platypus. The American childrens recut Prehistoric Planet even states that it is a coati and that they already lived in the Age of the Dinosaurs. This makes it a massive case of Anachronism Stew and Misplaced Wildlife, as coatis appeared in South America over 90 million years after the episode's setting.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: One becomes a brief challenge to the Leaellynasaura when it tries to steal their eggs, but it is easily driven away and never comes back.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: It might have been interesting to see a Mesozoic, maybe land-dwelling, toothy relative of the platypus animated. This would have been an opportunity to namecheck monotremes (or platypi) and reference that mammals are diversifying in spite of the dinosaurs; mammals don't appear otherwise but in the last episode set in the literal last days of the dinosaurs. Finally, male platypi have venomous spurs in their feet that are believed to have been a basal condition in mammals, so the Steropodon could have used these to defend itself from a predator attack.
- Action Mom: The mother Tyrannosaurus fights off anything that poses a threat to her young.
- Art Evolution: The design changes a lot between this series and the sequels, Sea Monsters and Prehistoric Park.
- Battle Couple: Until the female drives the male away.
- Body Horror: The up close shot of a dead Tyrannosaurus fetus, which was cut from the American version.
- Cain and Abel: Implied. The older hatchlings pick on the third one, who later disappears. The narrator speculates that it was killed by the other two but it is never confirmed.
- Camera Abuse: In the prologue, the mother Tyrannosaurus roars to the camera and covers the lens with saliva.
- Dark Is Evil/Dark Is Not Evil: Zigzagged between the two. It's nearly all black as well as a menacing apex predator, but it's also very sympathetically portrayed and a Tragic Monster.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Appears in the pilot while the High Concept of the series is being described.
- Giant Equals Invincible: Played with. An adult Tyrannosaurus is too tall to be killed by a volcanic gas pool, unless it lowers the head, and everything alive seems naturally wary of it including male Tyrannosaurus. But then Ankylosaurus shows that there is one animal that is not afraid nor in any way incapable of taking on a female Tyrannosaurus. And later the asteroid squishes the tyrannosaurs flat along with all the other dinosaurs.
- Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: Although they are larger at birth than the Allosaurus.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The mother would have kept distances with the Ankylosaurus if it wasn't too near to her children. She gets a tail clubbing for her trouble, which breaks her femur and damages several internal organs before she dies.
- I Am A Humanitarian: An adult Tyrannosaurus feasts on the carcass of a young one that was killed by volcanic gas. The narrator also comments that young Tyrannosaurus are at risk of being eaten by their mother at the age her maternal instincts fade.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Male Tyrannosaurus must be very careful when around females, if they want them to mate rather than killing them.
- Last of His Kind: The genus is only 2 million years old at the time of its extinction. Most dinosaurs lasted 10 or more.
- Mama Bear: Woe betide the animal stupid enough to mess with her kids...
- Monster Is a Mommy: The mother spends the whole episode trying to raise a family.
- More Deadly Than the Male: The female is larger and more aggressive than her mate, who must appease her to make sure she won't attack him.
- Noisy Nature: They are constantly roaring and growling. Sometimes it is for specific reasons like guarding a territory, calling up mates, etc. But others they seem to roar just for the sake of it - after hunting or killing/scaring away an egg-stealing mammal.
- The Nose Knows: They have one of the best senses of smell among the dinosaurs and it is their main tool for hunting.
- Outliving One's Offspring: The mother loses her first batch of eggs to a volcanic gas release. Of the second batch, only three hatch, and one is likely killed by its own siblings. No wonder she is so paranoid about keeping the remaining chicks alive, leading to the inversion of the trope and her own death.
- Please Wake Up: The surviving baby Tyrannosaurus stay by their mother's carcass, unaware that she is dead.
- Scary Teeth: They're serrated and as big as steak knives.
- Science Marches On: Current evidence suggests males and females were the same size. But since female predators are almost always more aggressive and deadly than the male even if they are smaller, the female T. rex would probably also have been deadlier, even if it was smaller.
- Series Mascot: The undisputed king, with Allosaurus and Utahraptor following.
- She Is the King: Tyrannosaurus rex translates to "tyrannical king of lizards", but the protagonist of the episode is a female Tyrannosaurus.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The mother never has a surviving litter. She dies, and then her last two children get killed in a planetary wide extinction event.
- Through His Stomach: Gender-flipped; the male courts the female by offering her a dead Triceratops. The narration indicates that the female will attack him if he doesn't do this. The meal pacifies her and makes her more willing to consider him a potential mate.
- Tyrannosaurus rex: Duh, who else would she be?
- Villain Protagonist: Averted. This is perhaps the most sympathetic, if not downright tragic T. rex ever put to film.
- Adaptational Villainy: Its beating of the mother T. rex is longer and much more violent in the book than in the show.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: Downplayed, as the tail club has no spikes. Still a very powerful weapon, as the mother Tyrannosaurus learns firsthand.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Appears briefly in the opening as a seemingly innocuous cameo... It later kills the T. rex.
- Chekhov's Skill: It is mentioned during the introduction that it evolved specifically to deal with tyrannosaurs.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The mother Tyrannosaurus has no real chance against it.
- The Dreaded: The narrator says the T. rex would normally retreat from an Ankylosaurus. That alone should tell you just how scarily formidable this beast is.
- Dumb Muscle: Described as having a very small brain, and its lack of intelligence leads it to attack anything it perceives as a threat.
- Giant Space Flea Out Of Nowhere: It walks into the Tyrannosaurus chicks by accident, which makes their mother comfront it, and it mortally wounds her as a result.
- Herbivores Are Friendly: Averted, if not Inverted. Aside from the mass extinction itself, it's the closest thing the episode has to an antagonist.
- Hero Killer: It succeeds where others would not even think about: killing a female, adult T. rex.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Ankylosaurs prove the Armor Is Useless trope wrong. Even their eyelids are armored.
- Non-Malicious Monster: As far as the Ankylosaurus is concerned, it merely defended itself against an unusually aggresive Tyrannosaurus.
- One-Hit Kill: Although in the long run only, as the mother T. rex can limp away before dying.
- Science Marches On: It is restored now with a less arched, flatter back. Perhaps it wouldn't aim for a tyrannosaur's femur but its tibia.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In the book, the beating of the Tyrannosaurus mother continues for a while, instead of being made of a single hit.
- Acrofatic: Surprisingly nimble for an animal its size.
- Artistic License Paleontology:
- There is a brief mention that hadrosaurs evolved in lush swamps. This reeks of the century-old, disproven theory that hadrosaurs were semi-aquatic.
- The model has thumbs, unlike real hadrosaurs. This is probably because it was modified from the Iguanodon model, rather than made from zero.
- Boring, but Practical: There is only a vague reference, but the reason for the success of the hadrosaurs is that they evolved battery teeth comparable to the molars of mammals. This allowed them to chew their food before swallowing it.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Iguanodon evolved a duck head.
- Monster Munch: Like every other boring large herbivore, their existence seems to revolve around being eaten.
- Noisy Nature: They actually eat noisily.
- Science Marches On: Now considered the same as Edmontosaurus (which was considered a possibility in the companion book). Also, in 2013 it was discovered that Edmontosaurus regalis had a crest of skin on its head, suggesting that E. annectens (the species that includes "Anatotitan") may have as well.
- Accidental Pun: Torosaurus means "Perforated lizard", in reference to the large gaps in its skull frill. It has nothing to do with the Spanish word for bull.
- Anachronism Stew: A very, very minor example. All of the dinosaurs in the episode are from the Maastrichtian epoch of the late Cretaceous (70-65 million years ago). Torosaurus, however, is not known from the very end of the Maastrichtian, having gone extinct around 67 million years ago.
- Body Horror: A male loses a whole horn during rutting season.
- Compete for the Maiden's Hand: They are introduced as males fighting for the right to reproduce. Later, they are shown taking care of their young.
- Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: When attacked by dromaeosaurs, they form a wall around their young. This, unfortunately, proves futile.
- Rule of Cool:
- Except for the somewhat baffling appearance of Triceratops, this is the only ceratopsian that appears in the episode, despite other species being just as common in the area at the time. Surely the facts that this is one of the largest ceratopsians, with the largest horns, and possibly the largest skull of any animal ever, is merely coincidental.
- Altering the color of the frill by pumping blood on it and using it in interspecific conflicts is speculative.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: They replace the stock Triceratops, but are virtually identical. In fact, some scientists even proposed that they were actually the same animal in different growth stages. As of now, the consensus is that they were indeed different animals.
- Uncertain Doom: After a male in heat loses a horn in a fight, the narrator says that it will never mate again. It is unclear if this is because the male will never win a fight, due to lacking one horn, or because it will die from its injuries and will never have the chance. Naturally, considering that the asteroid hits just months after, it could be that it will not mate again for the same reason no other non-avian dinosaur will.
- Accidentally Correct Zoology: Almost. The Triceratops was said to be young. If Triceratops had been confirmed as a younger growth stage of Torosaurus, this might have been handwaved as the narrator using the word Triceratops for immature Torosaurus.
- Animal Jingoism: Subverted. Not only do we not see a Triceratops fight a T. rex (as would be expected in a show like this), we don't even see it alive at all.
- Back for the Dead: Ever wondered where Triceratops is, considering all the other Late Cretaceous stock dinosaurs in this episode? Well here it is. As an inanimated prop.
- Posthumous Character: Shows up only as a carcass.
- Riddle for the Ages: Was Triceratops intended to be the episode's ceratopsian before Torosaurus replaced it?
Unnamed small ornithopod
- Living Prop: Yeah, small ornithopods continue to exist. That's about it.
- Monster Munch: Appears as a showcase of predator-prey interactions along with the dromaesaur, although it gets away.
- No Name Given: Not even in supplementary material.
- Prop Recycling: It is the Othnielia reused, in the same colors.
- Shrug of God: The species is unnamed. Common fan speculation is that it is meant to be Thescelosaurus, a small ornithopod from the same place and time. This is somewhat supported, though not confirmed, by Thescelosaurus being name-dropped in the book's entry about Anatotitan.
- Anachronism Stew: Narrowly averted. The species was supposed to be the slightly older Dromaeosaurus while in production, but was changed to an unnamed member of the same family.
- Eats Babies: Of Torosaurus, Tyrannosaurus... and really, likely anything it can get.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: It can run after small ornitischians, steal eggs from Tyrannosaurs, or team up with others to take young Torosaurus.
- Lightning Bruiser: Very fast and very powerful.
- Noisy Nature: After failing to catch a small ornithopod, it roars pointlessly as if it wanted to scare the prey further.
- No Name Given: Only called "dromaeosaur", as it was not supposed to be a particular genus.
- Palette Swap: Uses the Utahraptor model recolored. Not unjustified, as Dromaeosaurus was a very close relative of Utahraptor and was believed to have the same proportions at the time, despite being much smaller.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Appears to be trying to do this before the meteorite hits. Not that it would help.
- Raptor Attack: Scaly pack hunting depiction.
- Wolverine Claws: Like any other raptor.
- Zerg Rush: Implied when hunting the young Torosaurus.
- Action Survivor: Who knew a stuffed panda could survive in a volcanic area with dinosaurs. And do well!
- Badass Adorable: At least until their mean temper shows up.
- Bad Ol' Badger: A tough, aggressive burrowing mammal that both acts and looks the part. It isn't related to badgers, though - it's a marsupial.
- Big Eater: Shown constantly eating or trying to eat, despite its small size.
- Circling Vultures: Much of its behaviour borders on this. It feeds on Tyrannosaurus eggs (dead or alive) and a Torosaurus carcass left by the dromaeosaurs.
- Demonic Spiders: The female Tyrannosaurus can barely keep them out of her nest.
- Eats Babies: It has a nack for Tyrannosaurus eggs, some of which are well into development.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: As a large mammal by Mesozoic standards (10 kg), it symbolizes the coming Age of Mammals.
- Historical Badass Upgrade: They are everywhere during the episode and seem to be almost driving the dinosaurs to extinction by themselves, and the Tyrannosaurus in particular. This is ironic considering current knowledge and the fact that it was also driven to extinction by the asteroid.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: While fighting over a dead Tyrannosaurus egg, one jumps over another Didelphodon's back and makes some weird pelvic movements.
- The Swarm: When there are enough of them.
- Science Marches On:
- At the time the show came out, the species was mostly known from teeth, which were exceptionally large and robust for a Cretaceous mammal. A skeleton was later found, revealing that it was shorter-legged, leaner, and semiaquatic, like an otter. The robust teeth were probably to crush freshwater crabs and molluscs. This is ironic, because Didelphodon is used in the show as an argument for dinosaurs "opressing" mammals and keeping them from diversifying during the Mesozoic, but in reality it was an example of higher mammalian diversity in the Mesozoic than commonly assumed.
- Also ironic is the discovery of Repenomamus, a mammal that was pretty much what the show's Didelphodon is - with the exception that it lived 60 million years before the K/Pg extinction, and was even larger (up to 14 kg). Perhaps enough to hunt small dinosaurs.
- Uncertain Doom: In the prologue, a Didelphodon runs behind a Tyrannosaurus nest when the mother shows up and is never seen again. The Tyrannosaurus makes a possibly crushing and gulping sound while its head is behind the nest, but it is unclear if that means it ate the Didelphodon in one bite.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Its role and actions in this episode mirror those of Coelophysis in the first one, with the dinosaurs filling the shoes of the cynodonts and Postosuchus. It's taken 160 million years, but mammals are finally getting their vengeance.
- Zerg Rush: In a gag sequence in the Making Of special, against the Tyrannosaurus.
- Aluminium Christmas Trees: Skim-feeding, marine Quetzalcoatlus was an actual theory at the time the show was made. It had no real supporting evidence, however, and it was actually a counter-thesis to an older theory that Quetzalcoatlus was an inland, vulture-like carrion eater. Both ideas got a severe spanking in the years after the show.
- Animals Not to Scale: Downplayed. Its wingspan is about a meter longer than that of the real thing.
- Artistic License Paleontology: It is Ornithocheirus with different colors, a stubby crest (as it was believed to have in The '90s) and no jaw crests. If you look closely at its official artwork◊, you'll see that it even has teeth! Its neck is also way too short, even considering the knowledge of the time.
- Death by Adaptation: It is killed by Deinosuchus in the book, whereas the threat is only implied in the TV series and it flies from the lake unscathed.
- Giant Flyer: Described as being a "thirteen meter giant".
- Informed Species: Looks and acts very little like an actual Quetzalcoatlus, even considering Science Marches On.
- Last of His Kind: In the line of "Giant of the Skies", it is introduced as one of the last pterosaurs, clinging to the Giant Flyer niche while the birds have swallowed everything else.
- Ptero Soarer: Even for its time it looks ridiculous; the only justification is that it is just a recolor of Ornithocheirus... which makes the inaccuracies even worse.
- Rule of Cool: Inverted. It is much lamer than the real one.
- Science Marches On: In reality, it had a more elaborated head crest and a larger beak than in the show. It was also more adapted to marching on the ground than any other pterosaur, barring close relatives - its member proportions actually mirror ungulates in some ways. Despite numerous fossils findings, none were in marine or big lake sediments, and there is no evidence that it fed mostly on aquatic animals. Instead, it is believed to have fed on small terrestrial vertebrates that it located thanks to its height, like a giant egret or marabou stork.
- Toothy Bird: The real Quetzalcoatlus was toothless, unlike its portrayal here.
- Adaptation Expansion: Has a more significant, and more badass role in the book, where several hunt a Quetzalcoatlus.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: A red crocodile?
- Anachronism Stew: Not known from the end of the Cretaceous.
- The Dreaded: Drinking dinosaurs (and pterosaurs) are always looking out for them.
- Hazardous Water: As if it wasn't hard enough to drink in a semidesert with few waterholes and the threat of them being poisoned by volcanic activity. Naturally, there should be giant dinosaur-eating crocodiles in them as well.
- Informed Species: The real Deinosuchus had a wide jaw, being related to alligators and caimans. Here, it looks more like a Sarcosuchus.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Due to its huge size it is a major predator.
- Plot-Irrelevant Villain: Their only impact in the Tyrannosaurus storyline is ironically positive. By attracting the attention of the Anatotitan, they make them react later to the Tyrannosaurus female, allowing her to hunt an Anatotitan easily.
- Rule of Cool: The largest crocodilian present in the Hell Creek Formation is a three-meter-long alligatorid, Brachychampsa. A far cry from the ten-meter-long Deinosuchus. However, the description of the crocodile's size, plus its physical appearance, matches up with the time and location accurate gavialoid Thoracosaurus.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: To the Anatotitan.
- Accidentally Correct Zoology: Possibly. The show version is live-acted by a boid snake and unnamed. There is an actual, unnamed boid in the Hell Creek Formation (the earliest boid in the fossil record, in fact).
- All There in the Manual: Only named in suplementary material.
- Anachronism Stew: Dinilysia is not found at the end of the Cretaceous but from 20 million years earlier.
- Black Bead Eyes: Like many snakes.
- Misplaced Wildlife: ...and it is only found in South America, to boot.
- Oh, Crap!: When the baby Tyrannosaurus get too close for comfort.Narrator: The snake does not like what it can see!
- Too Spicy For Yog Sogoth: It watches the baby T. rexes. It then regrets watching them when they get way too close for comfort.
- Vein-o-Vision: Like all snakes, it has heat-detecting organs that help it locate its common prey, small mammals. These are shown as thermal vision in the documentary, although they work unrelated to its eyes in reality.
- Arrows on Fire: Not actual arrows, but the impact causes a rain of fiery molten rocks that cause wildfires worldwide and further damage.
- Bad Vibrations: The impact causes a brief earthquake. This is the less scary part of it.
- Blinded by the Light: The first sign that something is terribly wrong, is a blinding white light. The baby tyrannosaurs can barely look at it despite being in Montana and the impact happening in Yucatan.
- Blow You Away: When the wave arrives in Montana, the baby tyrannosaurs are blown away, then their mother's corpse is almost lazily pushed. Trees are also knocked down.
- Chain Reaction Destruction: Blinding light, an earthquake, deafening sound, hellish smoke-destruction wave that will blow you away (literally), rain of fire, and darkness from the dust. That's just the beginning. The sunlight and heat is blocked for a thousand years, dropping down world temperatures, stopping plant photosynthesis and wrecking the food chains. Many animal groups go extinct, including non-avian dinosaurs, sea reptiles and pterosaurs.
- The Cretaceous Is Always Doomed: The obvious end to the series, given its aim to narrate the history of the dinosaurs. But it should be noted that "Giant of the Skies" and "Spirits of the Ice Forest" also take place in the Cretaceous and feature no asteroids at all, being set 60 and 40 million years before the impact, respectively.
- Death from Above: As above as it can be. It comes from outer space.
- Did Not See That Coming: The dinosaurs don't even know what an asteroid is, let alone that one can crash into Earth.
- End of an Age: The impact is the literal end of the Cretaceous, the Mesozoic and the Age of Dinosaurs.
- Fog of Doom: If they are not blind now, the baby tyrannosaurs see a giant, advancing cloud of grey smoke coming their way.
- Giant Space Flea Out Of Nowhere: A literal example, other than the 'flea' part.
- Hell Is That Noise: The smoke cloud is preceded by deafening noise, despite the impact taking place thousands of miles away.
- Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: The force of impact is ten billion Hiroshima bombs.
- Impending Doom Pov: Seen entirely from the POV of the baby tyrannosaurs.
- Informed Species: Said to be a "comet" in the original Walking with Dinosaurs, but it is identified and shown as a meteorite in the sequels.
- Invincible Villain: How do you even deal with this?
- Long Game: This asteroid was but a fragment of an even larger one, that crashed into another several million years before.
- Outside-Context Villain: Dinosaurs go about their life, eating each other, then a space rock falls and kills all. The end.
- Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: The actual phlebotinum that killed the dinosaurs.
- Pre-Explosion Glow: As the asteroid breaks into the athmosphere, it generates light capable of blinding animals thousands of miles away.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: A literal rock falls and kills everything larger than a dog, in one way or another.
- Signs of the End Times: The big one is preceded by shooting stars the night before. The falling stars are smaller asteroids, desprended from it.
- The Unseen: The actual asteroid doesn't appear in the original series, just its effects. It is shown in the opening credits and pilot of Walking with Beasts, however.
- Throwaway Country: The crash happens in Yucatan, but Yucatan is not shown in any of the Walking with... series except from outer space.
- World-Wrecking Wave: The light, noise, smoke and fire of the impact engulfs the rest of the world at a firm pace.
See Walking with Beasts.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Not an actual archaeologist, but he nails the look.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: There is no narrator who must not be seen any longer, but an on-set host interacting with the dinosaurs.
- As Himself: Marven is a real host of wildlife documentaries.
- As You Know: He already knows that the creature in "The Giant Claw" is a Therizinosaurus, but he doesn't know how it looks or that it is a vegetarian.
- Badass Bookworm: He actually carries a field book, like any self-respecting naturalist.
- Bag of Holding: In "The Giant Claw", he appears to carry everything he uses in his backpack. However, this is undone by the fact that 1) he has a filming crew, presumably carrying more supplies; and 2) he has access to a jeep and a small plane in "Land of Giants".
- Be Careful What You Wish For: He spends all of "Land of Giants" wishing to witness the "ultimate hunt" - Argentinosaurus by Giganotosaurus. He comes to regret it.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He seems Lethally Stupid at times, but he always comes out unscratched and succeeding. His cameraman, on the other hand...
- Crazy-Prepared: He never misses anything. Be it a red cloth to distract Protoceratops, enough truck weights for an adult Argentinosaurus or a plane to find a herd of them.
- Most Annoying Sound: In-universe. He carries a high-pitched horn to annoy predators and make them run away.
- Mr. Exposition: His main role, as he replaces the narrator.
- Necessary Weasel:
- Shooting an episode about the largest land predator ever (Giganotosaurus), the largest prey (Argentinosaurus) and the largest crocodile (Sarcosuchus) was a must after all three became popular at the same time, but there was a risk of just repeating the story of "Time of the Titans" if told from the Argentinosaurus point of view, and "The Ballad of Big Al" if told from the Giganotosaurus. So it was told from the point of view of a time-displaced human host.
- Nigel being there is also a quick way to see how large the creatures are by comparison.
- The Pollyanna: Downplayed. He is not miserable, but he seems to enjoy being threatened or (literally) spit on by prehistoric creatures.
- Riddle for the Ages: So how does he travel back in time? It is never explained, but nobody cares anyway. If we factor in Prehistoric Park and Primeval, he might be capable of creating or controlling one of the time anomalies in the latter.
- Title Drop: Almost. He describes his plane ride as "Flying with Pterosaurs".
The CameramanNigel's unnamed, unseen, unlucky cameraman.
- Butt-Monkey: Due to the constant instances of Camera Abuse.
- Camera Abuse: Forced to fend off a Mama Bear Protoceratops with a microphone, hide from a Tarbosaurus while Nigel frantically tells him to stop recording, woke up in the middle of the night by Mononykus, chased by a Velociraptor pack, and also chased twice by Sarcosuchus. The second time is even more worrying.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Justified because he is a cameraman and doesn't want to ruin the shot.
- Intrepid Reporter: No matter how much Camera Abuse goes on, he never stops filming. Except when Nigel tells him to, but then he immediately begins to record again from a few feet away.
- No Name Given: Because Nigel never calls him by name.
- Oh, Crap!: Every time he lets out a worried "Nigel..."
- The Quiet One: He's not supposed to speak either, as he is just the cameraman. So the only time we hear him is when he alerts Nigel of a danger.
- Uncertain Doom: "Land of Giants" ends with the Sarcosuchus attacking him while Nigel yells him to watch out.
The Giant Claw
- Camera Abuse: At the end, one licks Nigel's camera.
- Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: Nigel dares to walk up to one and touch it. His reasoning is that it will recognize him as a mammal, despite his size and walking on two feet, and don't fear it because all contemporary mammals are small and inoffensive to it.
- The Faceless: The entire point of the special is for Nigel to uncover the face of this creature. He does.
- Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: A near-term fetus skeleton fits in Nigel's hand; an adult is larger than a tyrannosaur.
- Herbivores Are Friendly: Acts friendly to Nigel right after driving a Tarbosaurus away.
- Killer Rabbit: One of the goofiest looking dinosaurs in this series, and also one capable to fend off tyrannosaurs.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: It is almost unrecognizable as a theropod and looks more like a prosauropod with the hind quarters of a bird. Its massive hand claws and lifestyle are reminiscent of ground sloths.
- Red Baron: "The Giant Claw".
- The Reveal: It is a large theropod, but it isn't a carnivore, and it isn't as big as expected because it is not a scaled-up version of a tyrannosaur.
- Shrouded in Myth: Nigel begins the episode by relying how it was first known from the claws only, which were taken as belonging to a turtle, and was then identified as a carnivorous dinosaur.
- Science Marches On: In 2009, it was found that a bear-sized close relative, Beipiaosaurus, had full bird-like feathers and even a tail fan.
- Vegetarian Carnivore: Much to Nigel's amazement, it is a theropod that eats plants.
- Wolverine Claws: Has these. And they are massive, the ''largest claws ever.''
- Boring, but Practical: Its chewing molars are highlighted.
- Mundane Made Awesome: It has over two thousand of them.
- Camera Abuse: One spits on the camera after breaking into Nigel's tent.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Very similar to Anatotitan, but with a short crest reminiscent of some pterosaurs.
- Herbivores Are Friendly: The break in is done out of curiosity and the Saurolophus retreats soon after.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Does all the things Anatotitan did in "Death of a Dynasty", except being eaten.
- Beak Attack: Their large beak is their only means of defense. One manages to break a Velociraptor's arm before succumbing to the pack's attack.
- Bull Seeing Red: Deconstructed. Nigel uses a red cloth at the end of a stick to keep the Protoceratops away. They don't attack because the cloth is red, as they had already decided to attack Nigel; they attack it instead of Nigel because of its bright color, as they have a refined color vision (unlike cattle).
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Though there were already large ceratopsians at the time (e.g. Styracosaurus), Protoceratops is often used as an example of what ceratopsians looked like before they acquired horns and large frills and sizes.
- Killer Rabbit: It may look less threatening than a boar, but it will stand its ground and use the beak to snap at any threat.
- Mama Bear: The females guard their nests and snap their beaks at anything getting close.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: A parrot-headed pig.
- Death By A Thousand Cuts: How one is killed by Velociraptors, because they aren't powerful enough to do it in one move.
- An Arm and a Leg: One loses an arm to a Protoceratops beak. It is still hanging from the Velociraptor's body but it will likely never heal, even if its owner survives.
- Animal Jingoism: The famous Protoceratops fighting Velociraptor fossil is recreated, although Velociraptor survives this time.
- Camera Abuse: They chase Nigel and his cameraman to two tree stumps; one keeps trying to get the cameraman even after Nigel uses a high pitched horn to scare the others away.
- Death By A Thousand Cuts: They scratch a Protoceratops with their sickle claws until it passes out from blood loss.
- Don't Go in the Woods: They begin to stalk Nigel the moment he leaves the dunes for the forest.
- Killer Rabbit: Tiny and just a little annoying, but still deadly.
- Lightning Bruiser: Fast and lethal up-close.
- Raptor Attack: Scaly, diurnal and pack hunters. This combination is highly inaccurate (especially the first two).
- Weaksauce Weakness: They can't stand Nigel's horn, though neither do other dinosaurs apparently.
- Wolverine Claws: One on each foot, like other dinosaurs. Interestingly, it is also smaller and straighter than in others.
- Zerg Rush: How they deal with prey larger than themselves.
- Author's Saving Throw: Ignoring the possible head protofeathers of Ornitholestes, this is the first non-avian dinosaur in the series with a feather cover and it is dutifully noted by Nigel. For critics, it is probably too little, too late.
- Cat Scare: They "attack" Nigel's tent and one even has its head inside when it is discovered. They are completely harmless, however, as they are insectivores.
- Cow Tools: Their arms are even more ridiculously small than their heads, and topped by a single finger and claw. It is hard to think in them having any function.
- Feathered Fiend: Averted, they're actually quite docile.
- Lovable Coward: They can be very funny, due to their propensity to scream and run away from everything. When they are involved, Nigel stops being chased by dinosaurs and starts chasing them... in his underwear.
- Covers Always Lie: Nigel runs from one in the opening of Sea Monsters, which is implied to be a past adventure of Nigel's (chiefly, "The Giant Claw"). However, this scene does not appear in Chased by Dinosaurs. It also appears to be a lot bigger in that scene than in the previous special.
- The Dreaded: Nigel is (obviously) afraid of encountering it while in Cretaceous Mongolia and must hide from one in a grove at one point.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To T. rex. It was even classified in the genus Tyrannosaurus at one point.
- The Worf Effect: Nigel compares the claw of a tyrannosaur to Therizinosaurus to note how massive the latter is. When a Tarbosaurus shows up at the end, it is confronted and driven away by the Therizinosaurus after a brief standoff.
- All There in the Manual: Only identified on the (now-removed) official website.
- Informed Species: The promotional image looks like a recolored Pteranodon with a smaller crest.
- Circling Vultures: Averted. Despite being identified as a scavenger, when a flock circles over Nigel at one point, nothing sinister comes of it.
- Living Prop: They are only there for athmosphere, and are not even shown up close.
- Palette Swap/Prop Recycling: It suffered the same fate as its cousin Quetzalcoatlus, but starting with a different model. At least this one has no teeth.
- Ptero Soarer/Science Marches On: Azhdarchids were not specialized scavengers.
Land of Giants
- Death By A Thousand Cuts: Even a young individual is far too large for (several) Giganotosaurus to kill in one attack. So they keep biting until it collapses.
- Giant Equals Invincible: Zigzagged. They are prey to Giganotosaurus, but Giganotosaurus prefer to hunt the younger, smaller individuals.
- Impending Doom P.O.V.: The Doom to Nigel while he is rushing to place the truck weights on the Argentinosaurus path.
- Mighty Glacier: They are even slower than Diplodocus. Nigel has no problem running to place half a dozen weights on their path, then away, before they get anywhere near him.
- Monster Is a Mommy: Turns out they were heading back to the lake shore to lay their eggs once again.
- Science Marches On:
- Doing an episode on the largest dinosaur ever was just asking for this. It is almost having a duel for the title right now with Turiasaurus.
- Though firmly established as the heaviest dinosaur, it may have been longer and leaner than depicted in the show, with the neck held in an intermediate position between Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: They pretty much do everything Diplodocus did in "Time of the Titans". Just larger.
- Uncanny Valley: Their faces are taller, shorter and more forward facing than other sauropods, giving them a weird humanoid look. This is even more noticeable when looked from the front.
- Always a Bigger Fish: Nigel believes that an iguanodont is running in front of his jeep because it is scared of the jeep, but it is actually fleeing from a Giganotosaurus running behind the jeep. Fortunately, it is still more interested in the iguanodont.
- Bad Vibrations: Downplayed. The camera shakes briefly when the Giganotosaurus leaves with an iguanodont carcass on its jaws.
- Cruel Mercy: Their choice attack is biting and leaving the prey to bleed to death, instead of killing it directly.
- Covers Always Lie: One chases Nigel (on foot) on the opening of Sea Monsters, in a scene implied to be one of his previous adventures (namely, "Land of Giants"). No such scene appears in the special, however, where he is only chased on a jeep. The Giganotosaurus chasing him is also very small, although it may be a juvenile.
- Death By A Thousand Cuts: Their signature attack cannot be put in practice against Argentinosaurus because of its massive size and they have to keep biting until it dies on the spot, hours later.
- Lightning Bruiser: Despite its gigantic size, it is also a fast runner.
- Prehistoric Monster: Almost called that by Nigel ("What a monster!"), due to its size. It is also reddish and with horn-like structures over the eyes, giving it a demonic appearance.
- Science Marches On:
- Spinosaurus has surpassed Giganotosaurus as the largest carnivorous dinosaur. However, Giganotosaurus remains the largest completely terrestrial theropod with the largest prey, since Spinosaurus was a semiaquatic fish-eater.
- Turns out Giganotosaurus was slightly older than Argentinosaurus in reality. Nevertheless, Giganotosaurus lived along the similar Andesaurus, and Argentinosaurus with Mapusaurus.
- Super-Persistent Predator: They like to follow their prey over long distances, sometimes after biting them in a way they'll pass out from blood loss eventually.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Allosaurus. Not surprising, as they are related and Giganotosaurus could be its descendant.
- We Have Reserves: Giganotosaurus don't care if they lose a tooth in one attack, because another will grow back in its place. The teeth even have anatomical features that make them detach easily. They can go through 500 different teeth in their lifetime.
- Zerg Rush: Despite their monstrous size, they are forced to rely on this to hunt the even more gargantuan Argentinosaurus.
South American iguanodont
- Adaptational Badass: Some accompanying artwork depicts a Mama Bear defending her calf from two Giganotosaurus. The show version is pretty much Monster Munch.
- Anachronism Stew: If it is indeed Macrogryphosaurus, which was a few million years younger than the setting. The close relative Talenkauen may be a better match chronologically, but it was smaller.
- Blood Is Squicker in Water: How Nigel finds one. The poor beast fled along a stream after being bitten by, and Cruel Mercy'd by Giganotosaurus. On the way there, it painted the river red with its blood.
- Boring, but Practical: Iguanodonts are probably the less distinctive dinosaur ever, but they are also among the most successful and have colonized all continents, as told by Nigel.
- Butt-Monkey: Made even worse in accompanying artwork, which show it being hunted by both Giganotosaurus and Sarcosuchus.
- Hero of Another Story: The main plot is Argentinosaurus vs Giganotosaurus, but it is shown interacting with both the Giganotosaurus and Nigel himself.
- Monster Munch: Its main purpose is to show that Giganotosaurus does not usually eat Argentinosaurus.
- No Name Given: Called just "iguanodont", as it was based off undescribed material at the time.
- Palette Swap: Of the "Giant of the Skies" iguanodonts.
- Science Marches On: The material has been since described as Macrogryphosaurus.
- Adaptational Badass: Shown succeeding in nabbing a drinking iguanodont in the accompanying artwork.
- Aluminium Christmas Trees: Though the African species (S. imperator) is better known, there is a South American species (S. hartti) and it has been known since The '70s. S. hartti was smaller than S. imperator.
- Brick Joke: It attacks the Cameraman at the end of the episode in almost the same fashion as when it attacked Nigel earlier.
- Historical Badass Upgrade: The resemblance to gharials isn't incidental and it was most likely a strict fish eater. In the show (and artwork) it is only shown ambushing land animals on the shore.
- Jump Scare: Twice. One to Nigel, another to the Cameraman.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: As one of the biggest crocs ever and an ambush predator...yes, be VERY afraid...
- Palate Propping: Spoofed in the first encounter with Nigel. The Sarcosuchus grabs a tree branch from Nigel's hand and snaps it in half with one bite.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Though named in The '60s, it only became popular around 2000, when complete skeletons were found in Africa.
- Science Marches On: Biomechanical studies have raised doubts on its ability to turn over itself like a modern crocodile, and as a result, on it being able to feed on large dinosaurs.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!/The Worf Effect: Jumps into the water when an Argentinosaurus herd interrupts its basking.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: It does a lot more than Deinosuchus, but it still doesn't nab anything while on camera.
- All Animals Are Domesticated: Despite never encountering humans before, they act almost dolphin-like in Nigel's presence. First by allowing him to feed them with fish, then by flying around when he takes a plane to locate the Argentinosaurus herd.
- Anachronism Stew: Shown almost 20 million years before its time.
- Giant Flyer: It might not be the largest ever but it is goddamn big.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Shows up despite being only known from North America.
- Ptero Soarer: Though to BBC's credit, this is the most accurate (for its time) pterosaur depicted in the series.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: There is some evidence of sexual dimorphism in this genus, with males having longer cranial crests and a smaller jaw crest absent from the females. Perhaps the polygynous, territorial males may not have liked Nigel as much as the females.
OrnithocheirusThe other flying reptile made famous by the show itself. Click "Original Series" above for tropes related to "Giant of the Skies".
- Anachronism Stew: Shows up ten million years after its time.
- Bigger Is Better: As much as Nigel became friends with Pteranodon, he was clearly more excited to fly with the larger Ornithocheirus.
- The Cameo: Shows up randomly in the middle of one scene and doesn't appear again in the special.
- Rule of Cool: The "largest flying creature" approach is repeated, even though the closest thing at the time would be anhanguerid pterosaurs half its size.
- Unexpected Character: Nothing would make you expect to see it in this. What with being anachronistic and everything else.
See Walking With Cavemen.
See Sea Monsters.
The protagonist, a Pachyrhinosaurus.
- Adaptational Badass: In the video game, where he even wins against a rival male bigger than him.
- Big Damn Heroes: He pulls this off in the end, leading the herd to save Scowler from the Gorgosaurus pack.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: When Scowler says "One more thing, Patchi...", Patchi sighs and mutters "I know, I know...eat your dust."
- Buffy Speak: Calls the Chirostenotes "skinny necked pecky things".
- Chekhov's Gun: You see the hole in his frill the Troodon made eariler? He later uses it to break Gorgon's arm and finish him.
- Heroic BSoD: He goes into this after Scowler leaves him for dead, even welcoming the scavengers coming in to eat him. But Alex tells him to live or die for something worth dying for like Bulldust did, giving him the resolve to rejoin the herd.
- Idiot Hero: Was this at the beginning. Begins to shape up after Scowler nearly loses the herd in an icy lake.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Tries using this after Scowler teases him for liking Juniper.
- Use Your Head: As expected from a ceratopsian.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: With Juniper.
The protagonist's friend, an Alexornis.
- Deadpan Snarker: Makes a side remark at anything.
- The Narrator: Of the movie. He often shares the narrating with Patchi, though.
- Running Gag: While talking about something, he'll see bugs flying and quickly eats them.
- Seldom-Seen Species: Enantiornithes are rarely depicted on screen, let alone Alexornis
- Toothy Bird: Although somewhat realistic, since many similar birds had teeth and all, Alex's design is seemingly more oriented towards cartoony bird appearences, having a "beak" with teeth instead of the feathered snout of known enantiornithe snouts.
- Undying Loyalty: To Patchi—best shown when he gives him an inspiring speech after he crosses the Despair Event Horizon.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He couldn't believe it when Patchi tells him to let him die, so he scolds him and says that if he's going to die...then he should die for something worth living for (his love for Juniper).
Patchi's Love Interest.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has her moments.Scowler: Remember, they can smell fear!
Patchi: Sorry...that's not fear...
Juniper: (annoyed) I think I just stepped in some "fear".
- Victorious Childhood Friend: With Patchi, having been his friend since they were calves and becoming his mate in adulthood.
Patchi's older brother.
- Big Brother Bully: He pretty much entertains himself by picking on Patchi throughout the film.
- Big Brother Instinct: When he sees Patchi return after kicking him out of the herd, the first thing he does is warn his little brother to keep away from the attacking Gorgosaurus and get to safety.
- Break the Haughty: When he attempts to fight the Gorgosaurus at Ambush Alley, getting himself nearly killed as a result and his herd ditches him. Alex lampshades this and nicknames Ambush Alley "Scowler's Folly".
- Catch-Phrase: "Eat my dust!"
- Drunk with Power: As bad as he is to start with, he gets worse after becoming leader of the herd.
- FaceHeel Turn: Takes a turn for the worse after becoming Drunk with Power. He then has a HeelFace Turn after Patchi saves him from Gorgon.
- Hate Sink: Especially during his Kick the Dog moment towards Patchi. Seeing Gorgon tear him apart and his herd leave him after that is somewhat satisfying.
- HeelFace Turn: Repents after Patchi saves him from Gorgon.
- I Have No Son!: He says he has no brother to justify his reason to not listen to Juniper when she begs him to help Patchi. But then immediately subverted when Gorgon is mauling him.
- It's All About Me: He's very selfish, and this gets turned Up to Eleven when he becomes leader of the herd.
- Kick the Dog: After he mauls Patchi during their fight, he kicks him out of the herd and refuses to let Juniper help him.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Shortly after leaving Patchi to die, he attacks Gorgon at Ambush Alley only to be overpowered and mauled to near death. Plus his herd doesn't bother to help him and run away, basically abandoning him to die much like how he did with Patchi.
- Never My Fault: He does not blame himself for almost letting the herd drown in a near-frozen lake.
- Smug Snake: The moment where he stops being a haughty Big Brother Bully is when Gorgon and his pack attack the herd.
- The Sociopath: Shows shades of this when he gets Drunk with Power. He doesn't seem to care when he lead the herd in a near-frozen lake which caused a few members to drown, and he mauls Patchi and leaves to die just for saving the herd. He then goes as far as attacking Gorgon himself, which gets himself nearly killed and this causes him to become repentant, especially when Patchi saves him.
GorgonA Gorgosaurus. Supposedly the Big Bad of the film.
- Anachronism Stew: Gorgosaurus actually became extinct a few million years before the time the film takes place.
- Berserk Button: Apparently, due to his eyes narrowing, he does not like Patchi calling him "tiny arms".
- Big Bad: The closest thing to one in the 3D film.
- Gender-Blender Name: Sort of. The word "gorgon" generally applies to female monsters.
- Genius Bruiser: He is intelligent as he is powerful and fast.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Him attacking Scowler and nearly killing him at the climax of the film can be seen as this, especially considering how the latter had just left his own brother to die in a ditch.
- Lightning Bruiser: Gorgosaurus is better built for speed than Tyrannosaurus, partially due to having a tibia longer than the femur.
- Non-Malicious Monster: He's not evil. Just a predator following instinct.
- Predators Are Mean: Subverted. He is never depicted evil or malicious, but rather just hungry and wanting to feed his pack.
BulldustAn older Pachyrhinosaurus and the leader of his herd. He's also Patchi and Scowler's father.
- Big Damn Heroes: He saves his sons from Gorgon before the latter could eat them...but at the cost of his life.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He keeps Gorgon away from his sons but dies in the process.
- The Leader: Of his herd.
- Large and in Charge: As Alex puts it, he is Patchi's "six-thousand pound papa".
- Papa Wolf: To the point that he dies to save both his sons.
AzhdarchidsA trio of lesser antagonists.
- Circling Vultures: Serve this purpose at one point.
- Giant Flyers: Though the movie shows that they're just as competent on the ground as they are in the sky.
- Hates Being Touched: The one in the middle hates it when the one on the left sidles up to it and lets it know with a squawk.
- The Leader: The one in the middle appears to be this for the flock, as the other two tend to back down to it when it gets angry.
- No Sense of Personal Space: The left one often sidles up to the middle one and at one point tries to seek warmth from it. The middle one doesn't like that at all.
- Ptero Soarer: They do have a level of accuracy to them (they were designed by pterosaur expert Mark Witton, after all), but there are still some mistakes here and there; they have pointy wing tipsnote , their wings bend the wrong way when on the groundnote and their diet is shown to include fish and carrionnote
- Quirky Mini Boss Squad: Come off as such, being less threatening antagonists who cower at the sight of the Big Bad.
- Terrible Trio: Though they used to be a quartet before Gorgon got his jaws on one of them.
See Prehistoric Park.