Tim Flannery - Tom Holland TV - What Killed the Mega-Beasts? TV - Paul Martin -
If you could have visited Australia fifty thousand years ago there would have been big animals everywhere, but they would have been totally foreign and alien. Tim Flannery, South Australia Museum
When people in the past came across the fossilised bones of large vanished animals it begged any number of questions ... What did they mean? Tom Holland, Dinosaurs, Myths & Monsters, BBC 2011
Many of the dinosaurs in the Peabody [Museum] were dug up in the 1870s. ibid.
Tales told across the great plains not of thunder-horses but of thunderbirds. ibid.
Even before the time of Homer himself people were telling the story of one of the most celebrated monsters in all Greek mythology ... a Cyclops. ibid.
Samos ... The ancients who came across the bones here explained them as the remains of elephants blazing a trail that would be followed by eighteenth century, by nineteenth century palaeontologists. ibid.
Giant fossilised monsters back in classical times as now made for phenomenal box office. ibid.
In China the figure of the Dragon ... Reach as far back as 6 B.C. ibid.
So closely associated with the devil were footprints of prehistoric creatures that it was not unknown for attempts to be made to neutralize their malign power. ibid.
In 1788 a Scottish geologist named James Hutton ... proposed that the Earth was infinitely more ancient than humanity. Indeed, Hutton could find no evidence for there having been a creation at all. ibid.
Buckland was merely the first of many clergymen to wrestle with the implications. ibid.
Dinosaurs – the name reflected the two sides of Owen’s complex personality. ibid.
It’s one of the greatest mysteries in modern science. A puzzle from prehistory. Across the Earth there once roamed a vast array of extraordinary animal life. Not just beasts. But mega-beasts. Like the dinosaurs before them the mega-beasts ruled their world. But then came catastrophe. The beasts began to die. Dozens of giant species became extinct. And no-one knows why. What Killed the Mega-Beasts? Discovery 2002
Unlike the dinosaurs, thought to be the victims of a meteor impact, no single event can fully explain the mega-beasts’ decline. The exact cause has become the cause of fierce debate. ibid.
Eleven thousand years later the Giant Sloth’s dung still smells as fresh as the day it was made. ibid.
Just seven-hundred years ago a giant flightless bird called the Moa was the next to become extinct. ibid.
Humans first reached Madagascar two thousand years ago. Using out-rigged canoes like this one. Although Africa is only three hundred miles to the west, they actually came from Indonesia, several thousand miles to the east. And what they found here must have astonished them. ibid.
But were humans to blame? ... Maybe what killed the mega-beast wasn’t kill, chill or ill, but a combination of all three. ibid.
The kinds of animals that disappear, they’re the kinds of large animals that I think of as preferred prey. The kind of creatures that would attract hunters, foragers, in new lands – the biggest. And the disappearance is critical; it’s in step with the arrival of our species in different parts of the world. Professor Paul Martin, University of Arizona