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This spectacular five-part documentary series, presented by Tony Robinson, investigates the history of natural disasters, from the planet’s beginnings to the present, putting a new perspective on our existence and suggesting that we are the product of catastrophe.
99% of all the creatures that have ever lived, no longer exist. They were wiped-out in a series of global catastrophes. Each disaster changed the course of evolution on earth. Without them mankind, nor any of the life we see around us, would be here today. For out of catastrophe comes rebirth. Evolution is a savage, imperfect and violent process. It’s survive or perish. The earth’s history of catastrophes has both moulded the planet and determined evolution. For each disaster led to another leap forward on the evolutionary trail form single celled bacteria to humankind itself.
Episode 3 – Planet of Fire
250 million years ago, 95% of life was wiped off the face of Earth in the biggest extinction event ever. But what was responsible? Back then, our planet was a very different place. Millions of years before the era of dinosaurs, creatures such as Dicynodonts and Gorgonopsians roamed the land, while the oceans too teemed with life. Then, in the blink of a geological eye, everything changed. Life itself was almost completely wiped out in what is known as the Permian extinction. Travelling to locations such as South Africa, California, and Iceland, the experts discover that the volcanic activity of the Siberian Traps led to the release of deadly gases from beneath the sea and rises in Earth’s temperature. This turbocharged global warming brought drought and a breakdown in the food cycle, with even the strongest animals eventually succumbing to the conditions.