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Series / Paleoworld

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Paleoworld is a highly extensive TV Documentary series on Prehistoric Life that ran on TLC from 1994 to 1997. Season 1 (1994) was narrated by Ben Gazzara. Season 2 (1995) and Season 3 (1996) had a different narrator. For season 4 (1997), the series changed narrators again. Season 4 was canceled mid-season. TLC aired a spin-off series in 1999. It was called When Dinosaurs Ruled (Jurassica, in some countries).

A children's reboot called Bonehead: Detectives of the Paleoworld, co-hosted by All That star Danny Tamberelli, also aired in 1997. The episodes were actually pretty much the same (though there were fewer of them), but edited heavily into segments hosted by two kids. The core of the series was essentially the same, though. It aired on Discovery Kids before the network was retooled into The Hub (now Discovery Family).

See also its Science Marches On page.


This series provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • Saying Spinosaurus had teeth like steak knives. If your steak knife is totally conical and lacks serrations, it's time to get a new one.
    • Despite their consultant's recommendations, the show used its puppet of Triceratops and passed it off a rhino. This is the equivalent of an ostrich being labeled a human.
  • Forensic Drama: "Killer Raptors" becomes a parody of the genre with the fossil site treated as a crime scene.
  • Stock Footage: Mostly in the later seasons and its Spin-Off, this was taken to ridiculous heights, most likely due to budget constraints. Instead of creating animation for each featured animal, they would often show the same few stock clips repeating. Every sauropod, every large theropod and every small bipedal dinosaur looked the same, disregarding what unique features they might have had or in the small dinosaurs' case, even whether they were meat or plant eaters. Other times, they just showed the camera wading through vegetation or looking up at trees. Another common theme was showing stiff and wooden animatronic dino-robots.
  • The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: "Clash of the Titans" compares Tyrannosaurus with then-recently described Giganotosaurus, and part of it is devoted to discussing which one of them would win in a fight, with Tyrannosaurus being ultimately picked as the winner.