Since the emergence of life on our planet more than 3 billion years ago, Earth has faced a series of devastating catastrophes. Yet somehow, a few special species managed to make it through. How?
Discover what it takes to become a long term survivor.
This series focuses on the survivors, whose biographies stretch back millions of years and show how it is possible to survive a mass extinction event. Professor Richard Fortey discovers what allows the very few to carry on - perhaps not for ever, but certainly far beyond the life expectancy of normal species.
Episode 1: The Great Dying
In this episode, Professor Fortey focuses on a series of cataclysms over a million year period, 250 million years ago.
Episode 2: Fugitive from the Fire
Fortey examines the 'KT boundary'. 65 million years ago, a 10km diameter asteroid collided with the Earth and saw the end of the long reign of the dinosaurs. He investigates the lucky breaks and evolutionary adaptations that allowed some species to survive the disastrous end of the Cretaceous Age when these giants did not.
Episode 3: Frozen in Time
Fortey looks at the Ice Age. 2.8 million years ago - triggered by slight changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun and shifts in its ocean currents - the world began to cool. Within a few thousand years much of the planet was shrouded in a dense cloak of ice that would come and go until only 10,000 years ago. We call this age of ice - the Pleistocene Age - and it transformed the hierarchy of nature. This is the story of how a few specialist species that evolved to live in the biting cold survived into the present day.
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