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Series / Walking With Monsters

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Walking with Monsters is the 2005 prequel to the Walking with Dinosaurs series. Focusing on life during the Paleozoic era, Monsters showcases the evolution of numerous forms of life and their battle for dominance over the planet. Unlike its predecessors, Walking with Monsters covers multiple time periods within a single episode.

  • Water Dwellers:
    • Chengjiang, China (530 MYA) - Following the Cambrian explosion, Anomalocaris, the world's first superpredator, dominates the seas.
    • South Wales, UK (418 MYA) - A school of Cephalaspis swim upstream to spawn. However, they are being hunted by a group of Brontoscorpio, one of the first creatures to walk on land.
    • Pennsylvania, USA (360 MYA) - It's mating season for the Hynerpeton, and the reliance on remaining close to the water puts them in the path of aquatic predators.
  • Reptile's Beginnings:
    • Kansas, USA (300 MYA) - A giant Mesothelae spider searches for a new nest in the massive coal forests of the Carboniferous.
    • Bromacker, Germany (280 MYA) - A mother Dimetrodon must feed herself and build a nest for her eggs, all while avoiding her cannibalistic peers.
  • Clash of Titans:
    • Siberia (250 MYA) - All the continents have combined into one and the vast desert conditions wreak havoc on the ecosystem, paving way for the biggest mass extinction event in the history of Earth.
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    • Antarctica (248 MYA) - A large herd of Lystrosaurus migrate in their search for food while Euparkeria sets the stage for the next big players in evolution, the dinosaurs.

This work provides examples of the following tropes:

  • After the End: The last half of the third episode takes place shortly after the Permian extinction.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The huge eurypterid Pterygotus killing the alleged Big Bad of the episode, Brontoscorpio.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The Cephalaspis featured in the Silurian segment is only known from the later Devonian Period, while the orthocones featured had already become extinct by the time the segment is set.
    • The large amphibian featured in the Carboniferous is identified as Proterogyrinus in supplementary material, but this genus had become extinct in real life some twenty million years before the segment is set.
    • The gorgonopsids (that are clearly based on Inostrancevia) and Scutosaurus had already become extinct in Siberia by the end of the Permian, as they're only known from the Wuchiapingian stage, while the extinction began near the end of the Changhsingian. In real life, Changhsingian strata of the area shows they were replaced at that point by therocephalians and dicynodonts respectively.
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    • In the Early Triassic segment, the Euparkeria is only known from slightly younger strata, while the therocephalians, although unnamed, are clearly based on Euchambersia, which is only known from the Permian.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The mistakes about ancestor -> descendant relationship: the jawless, armoured Cephalaspis becoming a primitive amphibian missing two passages (jawed armoured fish and and non-armoured lobe-finned fish), and the early lizard-like Petrolacosaurus (portrayed as the "first reptile") wrongly becoming an Edaphosaurus (a Dimetrodon relative, thus a mammal ancestor). Another example is Euparkeria mentioned as the ancestor of all the dinosaurs (it was only a distant relative). And chasmatosaurs were not the ancestors of crocodiles and alligators, and perhaps they weren't even aquatic as shown in the program.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Meganeura, Brontoscorpio, Arthropleura, Mesothelae, and all the other arthropods in this spinoff.
  • Book-Ends: The final section of the third episode, covering the early Triassic, has similar creatures to the first Walking with Dinosaurs episode, which covered the late Triassic. It has a Lystrosaurus to WWDs Placerias, Euparkeria to WWDs Coelophysis, and the chasmatosaur and therocephalian resemble the Postosuchus and cynodonts in appearance, if not behavior. Euparkeria even has a similar color pattern to the Coelophysis seen in the first episode.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dimetrodon's distaste for dung, which a hatchling exploits to make itself unappetizing when pursued by a cannibal adult.
  • Crapsack World: The late Permian.
  • Darker and Edgier: Has a scarier edge to the fight for survival than Dinosaurs and Beasts.
  • Death by Sex: The male Hynerpeton gets eaten by a Hyneria right after it mates. In an interesting subversion, this only happens because it failed to mate the previous night, so in a way, it's a case of "death by belated sex".
  • Eats Babies: The Dimetrodons. And yes, that includes their own kind.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The orthocones.
  • Eye Scream:
    • A female Dimetrodon's eye is knocked out of her head while defending her nest.
    • A Euparkeria is seen gnawing on a Lystrosaurus carcass' eye.
  • Infant Immortality: Yet more aversions. A juvenile Edaphosaurus gets eaten by a Dimetrodon, a bunch of baby Dimetrodon get eaten by the adults, and a mesothelae spider butchers an entire nest of Petrolacosaurus, save for the few that got away.
  • Just Before the End: The Late Permian segment is set just as the P-Tr extinction event is beginning.
  • Leitmotif: Hyneria is accompanied by a Jaws-esque theme.
  • Mama Bear: The mother Dimetrodon.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • Carboniferous Period: Proterogyrinus was likely extinct by the time chronicled in this segment.
    • Early Permian Period: The species of Dimetrodon shown is not from the Bromacker Quarry. There is a species of Dimetrodon present, but it is significantly smaller than any of the American species.
    • Late Permian Period: Rhinesuchus and Diictodon are unknown from Russia and probably were restricted to the Southern hemisphere.
    • Early Triassic Period: Euchambersia and Euparkeria are unknown from Antarctica.
      • Furthermore, Euchambersia was extinct by this time, and Euparkeria hadn't evolved yet.
  • Prehistoric Monster: It's even titled Walking With Monsters! Predators here are represented in a scarier way than the original Dinosaurs and Beasts. The idea is kind of that this is before the Earth had a ruling class, so different groups of animals were ferociously and graphically battling it out to be the dominant species. Things become more relaxed by the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, as seen in WWD and WWB.
  • Prequel: Can be seen as one to WWD.
  • Seldom-Seen Species:
    • Cambrian Period: Haikouichthys, Anomalocaris
    • Silurian Period: Cephalaspis, Brontoscorpio, Pterygotus, Cameroceras
    • Devonian Period: Hynerpeton, Hyneria, Stethacanthus
    • Carboniferous Period: Mesothelae, Petrolacosaurus, Meganeura, Arthropleura, Proterogyrinus
    • Early Permian Period: Edaphosaurus, Seymouria
    • Late Permian Period: Inostrancevia, Diictodon, Rhinesuchus, Scutosaurus
    • Early Triassic Period: Lystrosaurus, Euparkeria, Proterosuchus, Euchambersia
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: The Devonian amphibian Hynerpeton and his mate escape from the giant flesh-eating fish Hyneria's approach by crawling onto land. Just when it seems they're safe, the Hyneria reveals how powerful its fins are by dragging itself after the amphibians and grabbing the male by surprise.
  • Zerg Rush: Haikouichthys against the injured Anomalocaris.

Example of: