Skip To Content
Cambridge University Science Magazine
Prehistoric Planet, BBC’s latest paleobiology TV series, puts the viewer in an immersive experience alongside creatures of the Maastrichtian Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago. Succeeding BBC’s paleo-media offerings such as Walking with Dinosaurs in the 2000s, this series combines ‘Planet Earth’-style depictions of ancient creatures, rendered beautifully in CGI, with the dulcet tones of David Attenborough.

Streaming on Apple TV, Prehistoric Planet has a sizeable budget, and it shows — the dinosaurs largely look amazing. The show also excels in its whimsical and unique depiction of these creatures’ behaviour: whether that be the dramatic and hilarious depiction of Carnotaurus attempting to mate, or T. rex acting as a doting parent, this series provides a perspective on dinosaurs as animals rather than movie monsters. It can also be argued that dinosaurs aren’t even the main stars of the show. Rather, the other prehistorics of the era — such as the pterosaurs that soar the skies — look fantastic in the photorealistic world created by the production team.

All depictions in the series are based on scientific knowledge, although some criticisms have been levelled at the speculative nature of the depictions. Unlike other documentaries of modern-day natural life, the dinosaurs aren’t real, and we can’t know how they truly behaved, despite the incredible efforts of scientists. Each of the five episodes centres around an ecosystem such as ‘Forests’, ‘Deserts’ or ‘Ice Worlds’, and the stories told are engaging even if they seem hypothetical. Prehistoric Planet is a must-watch for paleo-media fans, and an engaging watch for any curious viewer.

Adiyant Lamba

Stock image generated by Stable Diffusion