Prehistoric Park Cover
  1. Prehistoric Park is a six-episode mockumentary television mini-series that premiered on ITV on July 22, 2006 and on Animal Planet on October 29, 2006. The program was produced by Impossible Pictures, who also created Walking with Dinosaurs. In 2007, ITV cancelled Prehistoric Park, but introduced the new show Primeval as an apparent replacement. Each episode is an hour long including commercial breaks.

The program is narrated by David Jason and presented by Nigel Marven. The fictional component is the theme that Nigel goes back to various geological time periods through a time portal, and brings back live specimens of extinct animals back to the present day, where they are exhibited in a wildlife park named Prehistoric Park, which is a big area between high steep mountains and ocean (which serve to help confine any escapes) with varied environments.

List of Creatures in the park
Animals Number of Animals Time Period
Tyrannosaurus 2 Late Cretaceous 65mya
Triceratops 1 Late Cretaceous 65mya
Ornithomimus 13 Late Cretaceous 65mya
Woolly Mammoth 1 Ice Age 10,000 years ago
Elasmotherium 1 Ice Age 150,000 years ago
Microraptor 4 Early Cretaceous 125mya
Titanosaur 9 Early Cretaceous 125mya
Phorusrhacos 1 Ice Age 1mya
Smilodon 4 Ice Age 10,000 years ago
Meganeura 1 Carboniferous 300mya
Arthropleura 1 Carboniferous 300mya
Pulmonoscorpius 1 Carboniferous 300mya
Deinosuchus 1 Late Cretaceous 75mya
Troodon 1 Late Cretaceous 75mya

List of other creatures that Nigel encounters:

Locations in the Park

The Main Complex-- The park appears to have a central base, not far from the entrance, on a grassy hill. The main road appears to lead to the Main complex and is surrounded by trees next to an ornate lake. The main complex appear to be a many buildings next to each other. The design is wooden supports with asymmetrical thatch roofs. This may have been a deliberate design choice, as the enclosure fences also appear to be made of wood in an attempt to make the park seem as natural as possible. This complex is actually Didima camp in front of Cathedral Peak in the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa.

Time portal Site-- The time portal is near a set of barracks. The portal is inside a strong stockaded corridor which channels the creatures coming through down into the many (roofless) containment chambers along its length. The containment chambers are built alongside the main corridor and are connected to it via sliding doors that herd the animals into different sections of the barracks, like a labyrinth.

The compound has walkways all along the main corridor and the containment chambers to let park workers look down at the animals, with metal ladders for climbing up and down into the corridor and chambers. Each chamber has a back door for trucks and containment vehicles to move back and forth and its own stone water trough and appears designed to hold the animals for extended periods until transportation can be sent to pick them up.

Nigel's Bsae-- Nigel’s base appears to be separate from the main complex, which means it deserves special mention. Like the main complex it appears to be a wooden structure with a thatch roof (which the escaped titanosaurs seem to find tasty, as seen in one of the episodes). Unlike the main complex it is a two-storey structure with balconies connecting the rooms. The ground level was never seen, although below one balcony there appears to be an aviary, which is probably where the Microraptor were put, given that one of them was seen with Nigel on a balcony at the end of the third episode. The Base is definitely home to Nigel’s pets and maybe the tame cheetah (and Microraptor) which have free run of his office and the facility.

Alongside one balcony there is a small veranda with a drinks table, chairs, and a hammock that overlooks the park, presumably where Nigel entertains important visitors. Nigel’s office is surprisingly small, although it is made to look that way because Nigel rarely puts anything away and leaves books and bones all over his desk and shelves, clearly more interested in rescuing more and more animals than the day-to-day running of his park (which falls on Bob's shoulders). But it has telephones, computers, and the latest equipment, and a pin-up map of the park. The park conferences are convened in his office. An interesting piece of trivia is that the only employees given free access to his base are Bob and Suzanne, which shows just how important they are in the parks command hierarchy.

Animal Enclosures

Mammoth Mount

Mammoth Mount is in the upland regions of the park and has a home for the park's resident woolly mammoth and a small herd of modern African Elephant. The terrain is dry, made up mostly of Serengeti-like open grassland with a few trees and shrubs. Its one of the few exhibits that is not suited to its residents, as the climate is far too warm for an Ice Age mammal; building the park in a warm country was necessary for the park's growing reptile and dinosaur population which make up the bulk of the park's inhabitants, so this problem was rectified by making sure Martha's hair is regularly cut to prevent overheating.

Unlike the other exhibits, Mammoth Mount only has small wooden barriers, which appear to keep the animals caged despite their paltry appearance. There is also a small holding paddock within the enclosure where Martha was kept before releasing her into the main enclosure because they were unsure of how the elephants would react. Mammoth Mount recently endured a serious Tyrannosaurus Rex invasion, which broke barriers and almost caused the death of the elephant herd's only calf, which given their slow reproductive rate would have been a major blow. Fortunately Martha repelled the attack and the damage to the enclosure was quickly repaired by the new employees.

Triceratops Creek

Located in a region of the park with little grass, Triceratops Creek is on the banks of a creek which flows through it, presumably under the fence, and is probably the most visually attractive enclosure in the park. Because of the Triceratops' diet it has a thick forest of low shrubs and small trees. The enclosure is surrounded on all sides with tall wooden fences and a dirt road leading up to a bare region near the enclosure's main entrance (which is big enough to drive a tractor through) and sign. The wooden fences are surprisingly strong, as they withstood the temper tantrums of a five-ton Triceratops. It was also spared destruction during the mass breakout, which Theo did not take part in, although the T-Rex did pass his enclosure whilst chasing Nigel.

Big cat climb

The Smilodon enclosure is surrounded on all sides with tall wooden fences, as Smilodon, like most cats, appear to be excellent climbers. The terrain is open grass with little foliage. There is a partition, with a door that can be raised, separating the two Smilodon from each other. When the two mated the door was presumably left open letting them wander between both sides. It has two small wooden bunkers on both sides for the cats to sleep in and find shade and numerous climbing frames to keep the Smilodon happy.It is stated that it is just a breeding enclosure in episode 4.

Crocodile lake/Deinosuchus dip

In the park, a crocodile lake has been made near the Time Portal site. The lake appears artificial with small islands and a foot suspension bridge across it, the simple sort where the footway follows the catenary. The Deinosuchus pond is nearby and is almost identical. It could be the same location, although this is unlikely given that the Deinosuchus is aggressive and would most likely eat the resident Nile crocodiles if left unattended. Although both have jeep roads running alongside, there are no visible barriers or fences around either lake, although the storyboard sequences shows Nigel jumping over a chain link fence, showing that both lakes have fences to contain the animals, but the fences were never shown.

T. rex Hill

The Tyrannosaurus enclosure is at the base of a hill and is filled with thick forest for shade with open areas for the dinosaurs to run around in and a lake with a small footpath cutting through it.

The enclosure has a derrick used to feed the animals inside. The derrick probably remains on site, as it would be illogical and unnecessary to bring it back and forth every day. The Tyrannosaurus enclosure is surrounded on all sides with tall wooden fences and a dirt road leading up to a bare area near the enclosure's main entrance and sign. The wooden fence near the entrance is made up of slats with gaps between them, for viewing the animals, but the fence at the back is made up of wooden slats with no gaps as a solid wall.

As the Tyrannosaurus got older, they began to fight, so Bob built a partition across their enclosure, and put one of them on each side. The first partition was not strong enough and Matilda broke through. The repaired partition worked better, and now Matilda, while still keeping on threatening Terence, cannot reach him nor do anything to him except roar with impotent rage. During the mass breakout Matilda’s side of the enclosure was breached and she promptly escaped. Terence's side of the cage was untouched and he played no part in the rampage.

Ornithomimus pond

The Ornithomimus paddock is a converted ostrich paddock and was seen as an ideal place to keep them. The terrain is mostly large open areas with woodland around a central lake. The lake was added after the Ornithomimus were put into their new home when it was realized that they cannot eat the grass. They may look like ratites but "they have more in common with Daffy Duck than Emu".

Bob also built a small hide on the lakeside where he could observe what appear to be his favourite dinosaurs. It was in the foliage near there where the broody Ornithomimus nested. The fences are waist-high and wooden made up of slats with gaps between them. Unlike most other enclosures, the main entrance door is kept shut with rope rather than with metal locks. The Ornithomimus Paddock was damaged during the mass breakout but none of the flock was hurt and the damage was repaired.

The Bug House

The Bug House is a concrete and brick structure with two adjoining rooms, each with a dome on its roof. They resemble the biomes used in the Eden Project and are presumably constructed in the same way, with tubular steel frames with hexagonal transparent panels made from a triple layer of thin UV-transparent ETFE film, inflated to create a large space between the two sides and trapping heat like double-glazed windows. (Glass is too heavy and potentially dangerous). The occupants include an Arthropleura, a Meganeura and a Pulmonoscorpius.

During the construction, the site was plagued by the free-roaming herd of titanosaurs, which were probably searching the site for gastroliths. This may have been a minor problem for the dinosaurs, but they would frequently knock over the walls and generally cause havoc. Fortunately, this restless behavior stopped soon after its completion.

The entrance has two air-tight doors with a long corridor between, serving as an airlock. The two adjoining rooms have walls made mostly out of transparent bubbles, presumably for viewing the animals inside. Inside there appears to be no partition separating the species. It is filled entirely with tropical plants, but does not have a pond: this may be why Nigel was reluctant to bring back large amphibians. The Bug House was only seen in the titular episode, so little is known about its construction besides the above mentioned. A demonstration with a lighted taper showed that the structure, due to its high oxygen atmosphere (35% nitrox), is vulnerable to fire; so it presumably has adequate fire alarms and sprinkler systems. It was spared destruction during the mass breakout, which is fortunate, as the inhabitants would probably suffer hypoxia if exposed to our atmosphere with its 20% oxygen level, if they were not crushed by the heavy walls and roof collapsing in on them.

Titanosaur Treetops. Titanosaur Treetops was made of thick wooden walls, some parts had gaps and some parts did not. Soon after Nigel brought them back, however, the titanosaurs reared up and smashed down their fence, and the titanosaurs now roam free. It is possible that another enclosure was built for them after the mass breakout (which was caused by a spooked titanosaur). Name of enclosure can be seen faintly in the foreground of the special features menu in the DVD.

Elasmotherium Paddock. This is where the Elasmotherium is kept. This enclosure is composed mostly of muddy grassland. Its fence was broken during the mass escape, but was presumably mended by the end of the episode.

Terror bird Paddock. The Terror bird Paddock is composed mostly of sandy grassland due to the Phorusrhacos's need to dust bathe. The fences were tall but did not go deep enough into the ground, so the Phorusrhacos undermined it when digging dust-bathing holes. It was broken during the mass escape and supposedly rebuilt with fence posts buried four feet deep.

Troodon Captivity. This is where the Troodon is kept.

Microraptor Fortress. Microraptor Fortress is a place for the Microraptors to fly around.

Season 1, Episode 1: T. rex ReturnsEdit

Montana, 65 million years ago, Cretaceous. Genera encountered:

The episode starts with the crew erecting the prehistoric animal enclosures. Nigel immediately knows which animal he wants to bring back first: the huge dinosaur Tyrannosaurus.

Nigel goes through the time portal, aiming to bring back a Tyrannosaurus. He finds a flock of Ornithomimus and tries to catch one by putting a sock over its head to quieten it, but must let it go when three Tyrannosaurus arrive. Nigel is pursued by the Tyrannosaurus, but they give up when he heads into the deeper forest where they cannot pursue as they are so top-heavy, tripping could kill them.

He tracks the Tyrannosaurus to the middle of their territory. He finds some Tyrannosaurus eggs, hoping to bring some back for hatching, but they are broken and empty, either hatched or eaten. As he returns to camp, in the sky are meteors running ahead of the asteroid which will wipe out the dinosaurs.

The next day he finds a herd of Triceratops. The pride of Tyrannosaurus attack the Triceratops herd. A female Tyrannosaurus is gored in the thigh during the attack. The male Tyrannosaurus back off, leaving the wounded Tyrannosaurus to catch her prey alone. It goes after a 3-ton young male Triceratops, Nigel opens the time portal and leads the Triceratops through it by waving his jacket at it matador-fashion. It follows him through but the Tyrannosaurus does not follow. The Triceratops is named Theo and becomes the park's first exhibit. Theo starts persistently charging the same tree, and his neck frill changes color. Susanne thinks that it is rutting. This gives Bob an idea.

Nigel heads back through the time portal and finds a Tyrannosaurus track in volcanic ash, and sees by the dragged toes that it is the female with the gored thigh. Nigel sees that the Tyrannosaurus is walking alongside a river following a drifting Triceratops carcass. The carcass gets stuck in rocks in the riverbed. She cannot reach it and carries on downriver. Nigel and others build a crude stockade wall alongside the river out of local fallen timber, trying to funnel her through the time portal. A flock of Ornithomimus appear and run ahead, and the Tyrannosauruschases them through the time portal into the park. The Tyrannosaurus catches a straggler, a young Ornithomimus near Nigel and turns back. Instead of eating it there, she carries it towards the volcano despite her injured thigh. Nigel follows.

Back at the park, Bob puts the Ornithomimus into their new paddock and gets back to his plan for Theo.

Meanwhile, Nigel continues to follow the wounded Tyrannosaurus until he finds that she has two babies. Nigel plans to bring the Tyrannosaurusmother and her babies back to the park with him, but a male Tyrannosaurus attacks the female for her kill. In the ensuing battle, the maleTyrannosaurus smashes the female's head against a rock formation, an injury that results in the mother's death.

At this point, a 6-mile-wide asteroid enters the Earth's atmosphere at 20,000 mph (32,000 km/h) and hits the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion is 7 billion times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, and its blast column can be seen in Montana. It leaves Nigel with three minutes while the blast front travels from Chicxulub to Montana at 200 times the speed of sound (c 245,000 km/h) and reaches him. Under a sky full of brightmeteors, he uses the only meat that he has (what appears to be a ham sandwich) to entice the two young Tyrannosaurus through the time portal with a second to spare; a bit of the impact blast chases him through the Time Portal. In the park, they are put in an observation pen and named Terence and Matilda.

The head keeper copes with Theo's rutting by making a "rival" for Theo by using old tires and oddments attached to a tractor to build a crude mock Triceratops head and neck on the front of a tractor, providing something for Theo to take his aggression out on. Later, Terence and Matilda are moved to their new enclosure. The Park takes into account that keeping the pair under control is going to be a major challenge.

Airdate: 22 July 2006

[edit]Season 1, Episode 2: A Mammoth UndertakingEdit

Siberia, 10,000 and 150,000 years ago, Pleistocene.

Genera encountered:

In the park, the dinosaurs are settling in. The Tyrannosaurus are being fed. Nigel goes to visit a herd of African elephants in the park: there are at least four including a young calf. He now wants to rescue a mammoth from extinction.

He goes through the Time Portal to 10,000 BC northwest Siberia just east of the Ural Mountains where the last mammoths lived. It is early spring but the land is still under snow. He drives a snowmobile over a frozen lake. He sees nothing but dense taiga forest and rocky mountains: as the land became warmer as the Ice Age ended, trees replaced tundra grass and Mammuthus lost their grazing; they cannot eat pine needles. This reduced their numbers, then prehistoric Cro-Magnon humans finished them off by hunting them for food.

He explores a nearby cave and comes face to face with a muscular male cave bear; he had disturbed its hibernation. He had thought that the cave bear would already be extinct by this point. It chases Nigel and the cameraman away. Without the equipment to transport it safely, Nigel cannot save it, so he decides to get back to saving a mammoth.

Nigel goes up a rocky slope to scout the area. He sees what a gap in the trees: it may be open land, and perhaps there are mammoths there. He decides to check.

He finds two adolescent female mammoths. The older mammoth is dead in a pit. The younger mammoth makes rumblings in her stomach, trying to communicate with her dead companion. She looks ill. She staggers and falls to the ground. She is so weak that she can barely lift her trunk. She is staying with the fallen mammoth; they may be sisters. Nigel sees a spear wound in her left shoulder. He brings in his team to help.

In the park, the Ornithomimus are not eating the grass, nor the beetles living there. Bob realises that they have duck-like mouths: rough likesandpaper. He decides to put them into an enclosure with a pond. The Ornithomimus thrive in their new home.

Nigel needs to get the mammoth strong enough to walk through the Time Portal. He gives her an antibiotic injection. Evening comes and thepalaeolithic hunters are back. The Park men put up a line of big burning torches stuck in the ground. The men plan to guard in turns, but Nigel decides to sit up with the Mammuthus all night, to keep her company. Wolves prowl about at a distance all night.

Morning comes and the mammoth is strong enough to stand. It shows no aggression, and stays with her dead sister, but the team must get her back to the park. They set up the Time Portal. Nigel leads the mammoth back to the present and cals on a walkie-talkie for urgent medical help.

In the park, Susanne gives sedative and antibiotic to the mammoth, treats the wound, and after some pulling extracts a stone spearhead from it. She is on the road to recovery. They name her Martha.

Martha is healthy, but is not eating, and needs to eat for strength to recover. They put Martha in an enclosure labeled "Mammoth Mount". Suzanne looks at an African elephant molar and a mammoth molar, and sees that they are designed to chew about the same sorts of food. Maybe Martha is not eating because she needs a specific diet.

To solve the mystery, Nigel goes through the Time Portal to the same place in Siberia 150,000 years ago at the peak of the ice age. Mammoths range across from Europe to northeast Asia. He finds a large herd of adult female mammoths. The land is cold but dry and has many kinds of grass and no trees. Each herd follows a matriarch, who is 50 or 60 years old. He collects a large sample of grass and mosses to bring back and analyse. A male mammoth on musth comes, looking for females ready to mate. All the mammoths are thriving on the grassland diet.

He sees a sub-adult male Elasmotherium by the snowmobile. It is downwind from him. but there is a risk of it seeing him, and if it sees anything unexpected it may charge. Nigel is between the Elasmotherium and the musth male mammoth. He drops the bag of vegetation and runs to the snowmobile and drives to a safe distance. Nigel decides to bring the Elasmotherium back, riskily using himself as bait, asElasmotherium will soon be extinct due to climate change. Nigel runs to the sample bag. The Elasmotherium charges at him. Nigel picks the bag up and runs. The Elasmotherium chases him through the Time Portal into the entrance stockade in the park.

Back at the Park, Nigel offers Martha the Ice Age grass, but Martha still refuses to eat. Whilst he admits it is anthropomorphic to say so, Nigel thinks that she looks lonely; in the wild female mammoths are always in groups.

The Elasmotherium, which is accustomed to being alone, is settling in but Martha is accustomed to being with relatives. There is a council, to decide on putting Martha with the elephants. It is risky: elephant matriarchs have been known to kill new elephants that tried to push into an established herd but they decide to try it.

At Mammoth Mount, the elephants come up to Martha's enclosure. Martha and the elephants' matriarch approach each other, curious, and non-aggressively. Nigel calls to open the gate. Martha follows the elephant matriarch. Martha is now eating well.

Airdate: 29 July 2006

[edit]Season 1, Episode 3: DinobirdsEdit

Northeast China, 125 million years ago, Cretaceous

Genera encountered:

This is a rescue mission just before the site area's dinosaurs were wiped out by a volcano. It is aimed at getting specimens of Microraptor, which is threatened by volcanoes and with being out-competed by the coming birds. (Note that unlike the other dinosaurs in the episode,Microraptor was not present in the Lujiatun Beds of the Yixian Formation, and did not live along side Mei and Incisivosaurus. In reality, it lived several million years later, and hails from the Jiufotang Formation, 120-110 million years ago).

In the park, there are now more than 24 animals. The two juvenile Tyrannosaurus often threaten each other. There is a heat wave and Martha the mammoth with her small ears and long hair and blubber is affected by the heat, as she had been brought from an Ice Age winter.

Nigel and four other people go on foot through the time portal to the site. A large threatening volcano stands over the area. There are hot springs, and a risk of natural carbon dioxide seepage. There is a small earthquake. They get away onto higher ground.

They come to an apparently non-volcanic lake. Pterosaurs fly in and fly with their lower jaws skimming in the surface of the lake for fish. When they get back to camp they find that something had raided their camp and torn much of their equipment apart looking for the meat that was part of their rations. This loss of food supplies causes a crisis. As they walk through a forest, something follows them through the fernundergrowth, then goes away.

In the park, Martha the Mammuthus is led to stand between two jeeps, and several members of the team stand on one of them to clip her hair short to avoid the overheating. During this Martha sneezes over everybody and the camera.

On site, four Mei long attack one of the party, who gets them off him by jettisoning his pack, which contains the meat which they were after. Due to the nature of the attack, it is implied that the Mei long were responsible for the destruction and raid of the camp. Nigel finds anIncisivosaurus. It displays at him and then charges, and bumps the camera with its nose, leaving spit and snot on its lens. It has short quill feathers on its arms, too short for flight, and also quill feathers on the sides of the ends of its tail. It was thought that dinosaur feathers first arose for insulation for warmth, then the quill feathers arose for displaying and later got big enough for gliding.

In the park, Bob is looking at the Ornithomimus from a hide and sees that one of the Ornithomimus starts to go off by itself looking inundergrowth, and there are fears about its health.

On site, Nigel using binoculars sees some Microraptors going in the same direction, and follows them. This brings him to a herd of titanosaurspushing through the dense forest making a trampled track as if a convoy of trucks had gone that way. That is not a usual habitat for titanosaurs, and it turns out that they are looking for somewhere to lay eggs safely hidden from egg-eaters. 12 Microraptors come: they were after insects disturbed by the titanosaurs pushing through vegetation and tearing up the ground and treading on insect-ridden rotten logs. Nigel tries to catch some Microraptors, but they are all too quick for him.

Nigel makes an enclosure of net, with inside it a hollow baited with insects, as Microraptors can only glide and cannot take off from flat ground. The Microraptors see the insects but mistrust the net. Out of nowhere, two male Incisivosaurus, one chasing the other, run into the net and flatten it and get away. Then the Microraptors land and eat the insects. Nigel runs at them but catches nothing. The men go back through the time portal to the park.

In the park the one Ornithomimus has started lying about in the shade. Nigel has seen this behavior in birds, and guesses that theOrnithomimus is broody.

Nigel and at least four others go back through the time portal to the site. Nigel now has a net gun (which he has tested on Bob), and a carbon dioxide detector. Each man has a gasmask in his pack, as volcanic ash in the air damages the lungs. In a forest Nigel comes across a pair ofIncisivosaurus who seem to be courting, by calling and displaying at each other close up.

In the park, the Ornithomimus is taken into the vet's examination room. A bag is put over its head, to quieten it. Medical ultrasound shows that it has two fully developed functioning oviducts, each containing an egg. (Modern birds only have a left oviduct.)

The two Tyrannosaurus are threatening each other.

On site Nigel sees that the titanosaur trail goes downhill towards the volcano, but he must follow it. They find several Mei long which had gone to sleep in a flat-bottomed hollow. Nigel plans to avoid the hollow to avoid waking them, but something seems wrong. He claps a few times, but nothing happens. He pokes one with a stick, but it does not wake. He realizes that the Mei longs are dead from gassing by carbon dioxideof volcanic origin. He looks at his carbon dioxide detector, which gives a reading. He calls out "carbon dioxide!" and tells everybody to go to higher ground.

In the park the two Tyrannosaurus start to fight. They are separated by water blast from a watercannon mounted on a large water tanker truck and put in separate small pens while a partition is built dividing their enclosure. Both growl and roar in frustration.

On site, Nigel and his party finds the titanosaurs laying eggs in ground warmed by underground volcanic heat, a good place for incubation. He picks up one of the eggs and puts it back in the nest. Unlike with a hen's egg, it must always be the same way up, to avoid damage to the embryo. He reflects that the hatchling would grow to 30,000 times the weight to become adult. The Microraptors arrive, and with his netgun Nigel catches 4 of them. The strongest quake yet happens, and the top of the volcano explodes violently with an ash cloud. This spooks the titanosaurs, which stampede. Some titanosaurs are coming straight at Nigel, who curls up on the ground wrapped around the Microraptors until they pass. He is uninjured and the Microraptor has a simple broken left forearm bone. The volcano erupts, blasting out a huge ash cloud. The dinosaurs stampede. Nigel and his team put their gas masks on and quickly set up the time portal in the falling volcanic ash. It comes active just in time, and nine titanosaurs come through it, surprising the men in the park, who have to find somewhere to put them; Bob says "I don't believe it." seeing them come through the time portal.

In the park the broody Ornithomimus starts to lay eggs: it has laid six eggs (one pair per day) in a part circle when the episode ends. The injured Microraptor's arm is splinted under anaesthetic; one of the staff refers to it as "she". Bob erects a new fence which he believes will keep the Titanosaurs contained: however, the dinosaurs beg to differ...

Airdate: 5 August 2006

[edit]Season 1, Episode 4: Saving the SabretoothEdit

South America, 1 million and 10,000 years ago, Pliocene and Pleistocene/Holocene, respectively

Genera encountered:

Nigel is shown walking with a tame cheetah. He comments that specialization has threatened the cheetah, and later that it may have wiped out the Smilodon. In the park the titanosaurs break their fence and have to be let wander around the park. They go towards the park's main gates. Bob follows one in a tractor. During this he shouts at a titanosaur "Get back, you great lummox." To his disgust it discharges runny smellyfaeces in front of him: its gut clearly does not like some of the modern vegetation. At the same time, Nigel radios to Bob that he will need a birdcage for a bird standing 10 feet high, but due to tractor engine noise and titanosaur noise, Bob only hears part of the message, and provides an ordinary parakeet-sized birdcage. Nigel explains to Bob what is needed.

Nigel goes through the time portal to South America 1 million years ago when the sabre-tooth species known as Smilodon were in their prime (having recently entered South America after the Panama land bridge formed), but the terror birds (Phorusrhachids) were dying out; before that South America had been cut off from the other continents for 30 million years. He drives through a moving herd of Toxodon; he follows them to find where they were going, and he sees that they were going to water to swim or wallow in: he sees that they lived like modern hippopotamus, and thus may be dangerous like hippos. A huge male Toxodon chases Nigel's jeep, and he has to drive fast and far before it gives up the chase.

In the park the female Ornithomimus had laid more eggs. Two of them have rolled out of the nest and she leaves them there, so Susanne must rescue them for artificial incubation, as all those eggs are precious. Susanne stalks up to them and picks them up; the Ornithomimusdoes not chase, but demonstrates, causing a flurry among some white egrets. Bob puts the 2 eggs in an incubator at 33 °C, as this is best temperature for crocodile and ostrich eggs.

On site Nigel sees a female Smilodon stalk a Toxodon and then after a short chase, jump on its head and bite its throat to kill it. MoreSmilodon come, including some 6 to 8 week old cubs. While waiting Nigel has a coffee and the Smilodon eat their fill and go away. APhorusrhacos starts to eat from the carcass. Another Smilodon appears and chases it away, forcing it to drop a lump of meat which it had pulled off. That sort of pressure is why the Phorusrhacos were dying out. Nigel stalks up to that dropped piece of meat and picks it up. TheSmilodon on the kill demonstrates at him but does not charge at him. Nigel tows the piece of meat behind his jeep and entices thePhorusrhacos to chase it through the time portal into the park.

In the park the eggs incubated by the Ornithomimus hatch and the resulting young run about (the first baby dinosaurs for 65 million years), but the two eggs in the incubator do not hatch. The young Ornithomimus are covered in downy feathers.

Accompanied by big cat expert Saba Douglas-Hamilton, Nigel goes through the time portal to South America in 10,000BC when the sabertooth species were dying out. They find a drier climate and no big game. Nigel and Saba separate, on foot. Saba hears animals' alarm cries, but Nigel finds nothing.

Saba finds a deposit of fresh Smilodon faeces. She pulls it apart with a knife and fork and finds that it is full of hair and bone and bits of animalhide, as if hunger had forced the Smilodon to scavenge old remains of carcasses.

Nigel hears vegetation noise from an animal near him. He finds, catches and releases an ordinary modern-type armadillo and remarks that a million years earlier there were giant armadillos about.

Saba later finds something in the grass; sadly, it is a dead Smilodon cub. Nigel cannot find any signs of ill health and realises that the cub must have died from starvation. This has at least given them a hint. A female Smilodon cannot be far away. However, she must be in very poor condition

Nigel has a videocamera with a movement detector: he leaves it overnight watching over a trail. In the morning he plays it back and finds that a male Smilodon had investigated it and knocked it over, urinated on it and left a musky mammal smell.

Saba watches the female Smilodon hunting. It sees her and confronts her. She backs off. Nigel meets Saba. Due to lack of prey the femaleSmilodon is hunting unsuitably light fast prey, a deer: when she charges, the deer runs away easily. Later they see her suckling a live cub, but she is making little or no milk for it. A male Smilodon turns up: there is risk that it will kill the cub to bring its mother into oestrus sooner. In the jeep they anaesthetic-dart the male Smilodon and start to wait 10 minutes while the dart drug works. The Smilodon charges out of bushes and jumps on the front of the jeep; they back off.

In the park the men have finished building a partition across the Tyrannosaurus enclosure, and put a Tyrannosaurus on each side. Matilda keeps threatening Terence but now cannot reach him.

On site, they find the male Smilodon and load it up on the back of the jeep. Then they go for the female, planning to anaesthetic-dart her and load her and her cub. When they reach her, the cub has starved to death. The female Smilodon is badly underweight from trying to lactate on too little food, and is dying as well, so Saba anaesthetic darts the female Smilodon. A little while later, Nigel and Saba load the female into the jeep, but both are upset that the cub could not be saved.

The two Ornithomimus eggs in the incubator hatch, late but successfully: Bob guesses that the incubator's temperature had been set a little too low. The two resulting hatchlings see Bob and imprint on him, thinking that he is their mother and follow him about. They eat food pellets out of his hand.

With good food and no need to lactate, the two Smilodon and the Phorusrhacos recover from their hunger over the next fortnight. However, tensions remain high, as Matilda's increasingly aggressive behaviour could spell danger for the Park.

Airdate: 12 August 2006

[edit]Season 1, Episode 5: The Bug HouseEdit

Isle of Arran in Scotland, 300 million years ago, Carboniferous

Genera encountered:

In the park, Bob puts the two imprinted baby Ornithomimus in an enclosure with the other baby Ornithomimus and tells them to stay there, one nips his leg. The Smilodon are in adjacent enclosures. The male wants the female, but the more mature female is not interested, either ignoring him or acting aggressively towards him.

Nigel goes to modern Arran (in a large RIB with an A-frame and a steering wheel), and sees a fossil Arthropleura track in rock. He talks about what Arran was 300,000,000 years ago.

He goes back to the park to serious trouble among the Tyrannosaurus: Matilda has broken into Terence's enclosure: Terence has refused to allow his sister to intrude on his territory and a fight has broken out, in which Matilda is gaining the upper hand, soon knocking him down. Terence has been badly wounded on the face and is losing blood. Bob has drug-darted Matilda, but these drugs take time to act on reptiles. When Terence is badly injured by his sister, Nigel arrives in a roofed jeep and encourages her to chase his jeep. When he comes to dense woodland, he can drive no further and climbs a tree. Matilda pulls the cloth cover off the top of the jeep, and then collapses due to the tranquilliser.

The injured Terence is in good hands, so Nigel, with assistants, drives in the jeep through the time portal to Upper Carboniferous Arran, where the land is covered with coal forest. He had aimed at an island of dry land, but drives out of the Time Portal's field into a swamp over his jeep's axles. The jeep's engine gets wet and stops and will not start. The forest is very quiet, as there is no bird song or tree-frog noise, only wind and insects. A Meganeura flies over.

In the park, Terence is in the animal clinic, anaesthetized, and Susanne is operating on the wounds. She prefers absorbable sutures to surgical clips, since Terence would need to be anaesthetised again for the clips to be removed. She sews the wounds with the skin edges sticking out a bit, as is sometimes done when operating on reptiles.

On site, Upper Carboniferous air is 35% oxygen, not 20% as now, and that is why the insects are so big. Nigel climbs a 150-foot-tall tree (Sigillaria or Lepidodendron or similar): it has no branches until near its top, and he must use a loop of strap around himself and the tree, to climb. He reaches its top and sees a wide view, and patches of open water: the place to look for Meganeura. A Meganeura flies over.

In the park, an enclosed building to contain a 35% nitrox atmosphere for the coal forest wildlife is being built, with airlock doors. A titanosaur goes past, knocks a partly built wall down with its head, looks at the rubble, then goes away. Bob says that the titanosaurs cannot seem to settle in one area. Bob offers the titanosaur a cycad leaf, but it does not eat.

On site, Nigel wades through a swamp. Something big moves about underwater and makes bubbles. Nigel hears something big moving about in undergrowth on land, and chases it, and finds an Arthropleura. It rears and confronts him. It is 10 feet long and has big dangerous-lookingmandibles. Some modern millipedes (see Harpaphe haydeniana) can squirt cyanide, which smells of almonds, and Nigel fears that Arthropleuramay also.

In the park, Susanne has put climbing poles in the Smilodon enclosures: this is environmental enrichment, which will hopefully make them happier so she will be more accepting of the male.

Bob suspects that the titanosaurs are looking for stomach stones, and collects stones for them.

On site, the Arthropleura has gone, leaving a track. Nigel says that that may be the same track that he saw fossilized on modern Arran. He sees two male Meganeura have a dogfight. Afterwards, one flies away and the other looks for food. Nigel has a butterfly net, but a butterfly net big enough to catch a Meganeura is cumbersome. As Nigel makes a move to catch a Meganeura, something in the water bites his right ankle. He says "Animal bites for us wildlife folks are just a badge of courage." They look for a dry area to camp. Evening is coming. The crew camp for the night. They have head lights strapped to their heads. Nigel warns them never to walk without boots on in case of stinging animals. Someone by force of habit puts mosquito net up, and Nigel tells him to take it down, as mosquitoes have not evolved yet. Nigel sleeps under a waterproof sheet in a hammock slung between two giant lycopsid trees in the coal forest. There is a thunderstorm in the night.

In the park, Bob brings a wheelbarrow full of the stones to some titanosaurs; one of them investigates it.

In an observation enclosure, Terence is lethargic, and blood tests show Susanne that Terence has septicaemia, and she reluctantly gives himantibiotic (not knowing how the drugs will react with a prehistoric reptile). While it is risky giving antibiotics to an unknown species, Suzanne knows if she does not, the infection of his injuries will probably kill Terence.

On site, the thunderstorm stops, and it is still night, and animals tend to become active after rain. Nigel goes about with a large ultraviolet light. He finds a Pulmonoscorpius nearly a meter long, by its shell fluorescing. He films it, but his camera work is shaky and he would need the team's cameraman to take good footage. The Pulmonoscorpius then begins crawling onto Jim's bed, and looks as if it may sting him when he twitches in his sleep. Nigel grabs it by the tail end, and it nips him with its pincers. He lets it go away from the camp. This wakes Jim, and Nigel explains to Jim what happened.

In the park Sabrina, the female Smilodon, seems happier, and as if she will accept the male. Susanne wonders whether to raise the door between their enclosures.

On site, Nigel tries to catch a Meganeura by a technique known for catching modern dragonflies, by filling a long two-handed hand-pumped water-gun with detergent solution to squirt on a Meganeura so that it will fall in the water and become wet, so it can be caught easily. TheMeganeura are very fast and agile, but after many failed attempts, he hits one perched on a floating log. Nigel gets his net and catches theMeganeura. In the water he sees a big amphibian. He passes the net with the Meganeura in to a companion and swims underwater (without adiving mask) and catches the amphibian after a struggle, as it is very strong and slippery. He shows that it is an underwater ambush predator. It has two rows of teeth in its upper jaw and one in its lower jaw. He sees that it is a Crassigyrinus, whose fossils have only been found in Scotland; he nicknames it a "swamp monster" as it has no common name. That is what bit his ankle earlier. He has to let it go, as he has no way to transport it safely. He holds the Meganeura vertically by its thorax so its wings fan his face, as the forest is very hot and damp, then puts the Meganeura in a net cage.

In the park Susanne lifts the door between the Smilodon enclosures. They have a water jet ready to separate the two if they fight. The male goes into the female's enclosure. They growl somewhat at each other, but do not fight.

On site, Nigel looks for the Pulmonoscorpius. He finds one nearly a meter long under a half casing of a rotted-out fallen lycopsid log. It has thin claws, so Nigel is worried, because with scorpions small claws mean big sting. He holds its attention with a thin stick and works his a hand behind it and grabs its telson just in front of its sting. As he puts it in a dog carrier, it stings the back of his right hand as he lets it go. But a worse danger is coming.

In the park, Bob has filled the insect house with 35% nitrox atmosphere and has realized the resulting increased fire risk. He lights a thin piece of wood to show the fire risk.

The lightning storm has started a forest fire, which is spreading fast towards them, and in the 35%-oxygen air vegetation is much more inflammable than in modern air. They run towards the jeep. Nigel trips over a big Arthropleura hidden in ground litter. It rears to confront him. Nigel, who was wanting to get away quickly, was not thankful for this delay, but says he must rescue it, else it will be burned alive. After a struggle, he and another man wrap it in a plastic sheet and tie red cord around it. They load everything on the jeep and set up the Time Portal just in front of the jeep, whose engine still will not start. Nigel runs through the Time Portal, comes back with the end of a tow rope, and ties it to the jeep, which is towed out of the coal forest swamp back into the modern age. They see that the tow rope was being towed not by a towtruck or other vehicle, but by a titanosaur, which Bob was enticing with the wheelbarrowfull of gastrolith stones. (This seems to imply that someone went back through the Time Portal earlier to tell the park staff to arrange a tow.)

The Arthropleura, the Meganeura, and the Pulmonoscorpius are put in the high-oxygen building. Terence is recovering well from his injury and infection but wrecks Suzanne's surgery once he wakes up from anaesthetic: Susanne had not restrained him, not realising he would come around so fast. Terrence is taken back into his enclosure, since he seems likely to make a full recovery. Nigel's sting site has swollen but still shows no serious symptoms, so either the Pulmonoscorpius's venom does not affect mammals (it came from a time before mammals), or it did not inject any venom, or he pulled his hand away before it could inject. Bob seems to take a liking to the Arthropleura and hand-feeds it ferns. He says that he likes it because "it isn't some kind of creepy-crawly bug, it's more like a proper animal." At the end of the episode is shown Terence is roaring at the Sunset.

Airdate: 19 August 2006

[edit]Season 1, Episode 6: SupercrocEdit

Texas, 75 million years ago, Cretaceous

Genera encountered:

In the park, near the Time Portal site there is a crocodile enclosure. There is a suspension bridge across it (the simple sort where the footway follows the catenary); Bob walks across it to feed the Nile crocodiles in the lake. Nigel plans to add a Deinosuchus, an ancient species of giant crocodilian (more closely related to alligators than crocodiles) which weighs up to 9 tons, to the park. Bob mutters that Nigel may have bitten off more than he can chew this time.

In a jeep, Nigel goes through the Time Portal to the Cretaceous in Texas, where Dallas is now. At this time North America is divided into three land areas by a Y-shaped internal epicontinental sea. The land around the Time Portal exit point is dry: gravelly sand with patches of trees and bushes. Two half-size juvenile Parasaurolophus go by and stop about 10 m away. Nigel chases them towards the jeep. Then twoAlbertosaurus appear. The Parasaurolophus honk and run away. Nigel revs his jeep's diesel engine: that makes the Albertosaurus back off, but not for long and they get accustomed to the noise (and presumably to diesel exhaust smell). He drives away. They chase him, at speed up to 30-38 mph, but they tire and turn away.

In the park, Bob is planting young trees to help feed the titanosaurs: he says that he will have to plant 2000 trees each year for this. The titanosaurs, of course, are no help whatsoever at this, and keep trampling trees down.

The Smilodon have bred and now have two cubs. Susanne sees that their mother is not making enough milk for the cubs, so she has to take the cubs and bottle-feed them, thus breaking the natural mother-cub link. If she were to put them back into their mother's enclosure, they would be killed.

On site, Nigel drives onto a sea beach, and looks out to sea for signs of Deinosuchus which could survive for a limited time in salt water like modern saltwater crocodiles. He stops. A herd of Parasaurolophus run past. They are each 10 meters long. He shouts at them to clear off in case they damage his jeep's paintwork. He finds a conch-sized gastropod shell and makes a hole in it and blows it to try to have an exchange of vocalizations: they make noises using their hollow crests.

Nigel, with binoculars, sees 5 Nyctosaurus fly in from the sea. They fish by skimming the lower jaw through the water surface. Nigel has brought a microlight with him: he uses it to fly with the Nyctosaurus. A Deinosuchus reaches its head out of the sea and grabs one of theNyctosaurus. Nigel sees another Deinosuchus swimming from the sea up a river, and decides to head in that direction.

In the park, Susanne visits Martha the Mammuthus. Martha tries to be an "auntie" to the elephant herd's matriarch's calf. The frightened matriarch drives Martha away. Martha is becoming isolated again, and there is fear that she will again stop eating.

On site, Nigel paddles in a red inflatable boat on the river. A Deinosuchus bites the boat's stern, does not like the taste of rubber, and lets go. It snaps out of the water again by the boat, then disappears. Nigel paddles two miles upstream to a freshwater lake, where he sees someDeinosuchus on a sandbank, and a herd of Parasaurolophus forced by thirst to come to the lake to drink. Nigel paddles. He mentions thatDeinosuchus will (geologically) soon be wiped out when sea floods the area, as they have a specialised lifestyle, so he must rescue one. An unwary young Parasaurolophus goes to the lake to drink. A Deinosuchus rockets out of the lake and grabs it by the chest. The two roll over and over in the lake. More Deinosuchus swim in. They take turns to hold the kill while another tears at it.

In the park, the Phorusrhacos has developed a habit of dust bathing near its enclosure's fence, undermining it. Each time, Bob fills the resulting hole with big stones. He realises that this tactic is only "firefighting" and that he will have to make a new fence with the bottom ends of all its posts buried four feet deep.

On site, Nigel has made a long double row of wooden posts ending in a blind end. He plans to entice a Deinosuchus with meat up the fenced route to the blind end. To get back to the jeep, he walks through a dense forest, but he is worried about dangerous predators. Something is following him. He feels relieved when a Troodon sticks its head up out of bushes and shows that it is much smaller than an Albertosaurus. When he reaches the jeep, he sees that three Troodon are eating the meat that he had brought as bait. He chases them away using a portable aerosol-like horn.

In the park Bob is shoveling up Elasmotherium dung when he sees the Phorusrhacos looking at him through a fence. He calls on hiswalkietalkie that the Phorusrhacos has escaped again. A keeper comes in a jeep, and by towing some meat behind the jeep leads thePhorusrhacos back to its enclosure.

On site, Nigel plans to use the rest of his meat to bait a Deinosuchus up the stockade. He sets the bait at the stockade's end. They righammocks. It gets dark. With their helmet headlights they see that some a Troodon was pulling away his bait. When Nigel chased after it, another came and ran off with the rest. The meat that was left was not enough to lure a Deinosuchus. They go to bed.

They are woken in the morning by the noise when three Albertosaurus kill a Parasaurolophus. Three Deinosuchus come out of the lake to steal the kill. There is noisy confrontation and some biting, and tugs-of-war over the flesh. The Albertosaurus admit defeat and back off.

In the park Martha the mammoth is still isolated from the elephant herd.

On site, Nigel must use himself as bait. He wades into the water and splashes it hard with a paddle until a Deinosuchus investigates. He backs off too soon; the Deinosuchus backs off. He splashes again. The Deinosuchus charges out of the sea and chases Nigel, who runs up the stockade path and at its blind end squeezes between two of its posts. He and 4 men with him struggle to hold the stockade posts upright, until the Deinosuchus tires, as cold-blooded reptiles tire quickly. They set up the time portal close outside the blind end of the stockade. Nigel in the jeep tows three of the end stockade posts out and through the Time Portal; the Deinosuchus is confined too closely to turn round, so it must follow him through the portal. It is enticed with a piece of meat to its pond (made close by the time portal), which it goes into.

In the park Bob as usual has to "pick up the pieces". He drives the jeep to his next job, and mutters that Prehistoric Park needs more keepers, as they have so many problems: the Phorusrhacos escaped its enclosure again; the Smilodon cubs have had Suzanne up half the night, the titanosaurs eat too much, and to make matters worse, their digestive systems cannot handle the modern vegetation resulting in bad diarrhea, and Nigel constantly bringing back more creatures is not helping. Suddenly, a Troodon emerges from the kit on the back of the jeep: enticed by the meat in the jeep intended to lure the Deinosuchus, it has stowed away. It snaps at Bob, and the swerving jeep runs straight at a titanosaur, causing it to stampede through several enclosures, causing the Ornithimimus flock, Phorusrhacos, Elasmotherium, and, worst of all, Matilda the Tyrannosaurus, to flee through the broken fences and run around freely through the park. Paying no attention to the titanosaur lumbering through her enclosure, Matilda walks right out into freedom, getting the scent of an easy meal. Bob manages to stop the jeep, and the Troodonleaps out and escapes into the undergrowth nearby. Bob runs off to try to capture the escapees. When trying to round up a group of escapedOrnithomimus and the Elasmotherium, Bob is warned that Matilda is on the loose and closing in on him, so he must flee. Matilda then heads for the elephants - she separates the calf from the rest of the herd and quickly runs it to the ground. But Martha, although the herd earlier drove her away, instinctively defends the calf, and with some trumpetings, growls, roars, and waving of tusks, her attack stops Matilda. Nigel then arrives and runs away on foot, trying to lure Matilda away to follow him. Matilda, seeing the prospect of an easy meal, turns away from Martha and starts chasing Nigel.

[1][2]Matilda barely managing to evade theDeinosuchus' attack.

Nigel runs past the Nile crocodile pond, across an open area, and along a jeep track past theDeinosuchus lake, with Matilda closing the gap behind him. The Deinosuchus, accustomed to fighting giant theropods, surges out of the lake at Matilda, who swings around just in time to dodge the attack. This delay buys time for Nigel, who runs into the Time Portal's entry stockaded enclosure and climbs out of it by a ladder. Matilda's jaws are only about a foot distance from one of his feet as he climbs to safety. Nigel shuts the enclosure and Matilda is contained.

A few weeks later, extra keepers have been hired. The escaped animals are back in their enclosures. Bob catches the Troodon in a long tunnel trap with droppable doors at both ends, and presumably finds somewhere to keep it. The elephants, thankful for the help and rescue, let Martha join them as a full herd member and be an "auntie" to the elephant calf. The Smilodon cubs have been weaned and are eating meat, but they have not grown visible saber teeth yet.

At the end of the episode we see Nigel at his headquarters planning his next mission before travelling through the time portal, suggesting that a future series will be made.

Airdate: 26 August 2006

  • big cat climb
  • Nigel's base
  • Bug House
  • Mammoth mount
  • Ornithomimus pond
  • T-rex Hill