Reflecting NOVA’s unparalleled 44-year-old commitment to long-form science programming, this installment examines the latest evidence surrounding one of the greatest mysteries in Earth’s history–the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs. Through interviews, footage of scientists working at sites around the world and stunning digital recreations of events from 66 million years ago, NOVA: The Day the Dinosaurs Died vividly brings to life the compelling scientific inquiry around this epic catastrophe.
PBS Distribution releases the program on DVD March 20. It is also available for digital download.
At the end of the Cretaceous Era, after 170 million years of dominance, more than 700 species of dinosaurs disappeared from the fossil record virtually overnight. In the 1980s, the hypothesis emerged that an asteroid impact was the catalyst. But the supporting evidence, including the exact nature of the global chain reaction an asteroid impact may have initiated, has been slowly emerging over decades. The Day the Dinosaurs Died details the efforts of scientists to flesh out what happened in the days and weeks after the asteroid impact. Will they find the smoking gun that provides definitive proof?
The program visits an unprecedented, multidisciplinary scientific expedition to drill into the Chicxulub Crater site off the coast of Mexico, the leading suspect for the impact site. It also travels to South Dakota, Argentina and other sites where paleontologists hunt fossils. Finally, the program visually reconstructs the hell on earth–tidal waves, dust clouds, sudden mountain formation– that wreaked global havoc and doomed the dinosaurs.