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Series / Prehistoric Assassins

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Prehistoric Assassins is an obscure two-part Documentary special that aired on the Discovery Channel in early 2011. As the title suggests, it deals with dangerous critters from prehistoric times, including dinosaurs, ancient predatory fish and saber-toothed cats, amongst others. Their weapons of choice are examined in details, and compared to the teeth and claws found on some of today's top predators.

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Following the norm of recent paleo-docs, it relied solely on CGI (made by the Polish Sventevith Animation Studio) to recreate its cast of extinct animals. Their animation demo for the program can be viewed here.

Its two episodes focus on two different types of environment: "Claws and Jaws" was all about land predators, while "Blood in the Water" dealt with marine menaces.


The documentary contains examples of:

  • Bullet Time: Used at times as predators pounce on their prey.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The unfortunate prey animals.
  • Feathered Fiend: Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the special is its well-feathered (if silly-looking) Deinonychus.
  • Gorn: The animations are quite bloody, and depict acts of graphic dismembering.
  • Mega Neko: Smilodon, the famed saber-toothed cat.
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  • Noisy Nature: Played to chilling effect with the Deinonychus, whose vaguely birdlike shriek is commonly heard and quite spooky...
  • Prehistoric Monster
  • Raptor Attack: As deinonychosaurs in media go, this show's Deinonychus aren't too bad, but they have a scaly face and, though their wing feathers extend all the way to the hands, they aren't attached to the second finger, as they should be.
  • Sea Monster: Blood in the Water is full of these.
  • Small Taxonomy Pools: Averted to a degree, since there are a few well-known animals in the program. However relatively obscure dinosaurs like Majungasaurus or Rapetosaurus also get some screen-time.
  • Speculative Documentary
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Not a lot of them. There are Deinonychus, Corythosaurus, while other stock-prehistoric nasties include Elasmosaurus, Megalania and Smilodon.
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  • Tyrannosaurus rex: His smaller cousin, Daspletosaurus makes an appearance.
  • Zerg Rush: The attack style of the raptors.

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