Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (2023)

Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (1)

Behold the newest snarling, scurrying, foraging, and feasting dinosaurs and other extinct creatures of Prehistoric Planet.

The show’s second season begins May 22 on Apple TV+, featuring over two dozen new species from various branches of the tree of life as it existed some 66 million years ago, give or take a few million (well, don’t take more than a couple.)

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I spoke with showrunner Tim Walker and Darren Naish, a paleozoologist and the series’s chief scientific consultant, to learn what to expect from the new season and, potentially, more seasons or shows down the line.

“It’s going to feel really different,” Naish said. It will offer “a deeper, more intimate view of this world, with so many new behavioral interactions that carry through a number of really crucial messages about what the world of the late Cretaceous was like.”

Pop culture is rife with misrepresentations of ancient organisms. Prehistoric Planet’s first season aimed to correct the narrative, spotlighting a bevy of beasts, including the massive pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus, the cassowary-like Corythoraptor, and the theropod Tyrannosaurus rex. (We’re talking about the late Cretaceous; there’s always a T. rex.)

Prehistoric Planet — Season 2 Official Trailer | Apple TV+

The second season picks up where the first left off and adds 25 fresh species to the cast, along with familiar faces from the first season. Chief among the new troupe are oft-overlooked inhabitants of the Dinosaur Age—perhaps because they’re not dinosaurs.

In the premiere, the herbivorous crocodylomorph Simosuchus and the mammal Adalatherium show up in a rather charming tableau of Cretaceous-era Madagascar, where life was able to evolve independently (and thus, uniquely) from life on the African continent.

Dynamic moments like Adalatherium hiding from a predator and Corythoraptors getting their eggs stolen from under their noses—erm, beaks—play out in night vision, lending the scenes the feeling of a genuine nature documentary.

“We’re starting to get to the pinnacle of CGI production in terms of photorealism,” Walker said, “incorporating the other aspects of wildlife filmmaking techniques is all part of the time-traveling natural history genre that we created.”

Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (2)

The new season highlights interactions between species—many of which were not so friendly.

But showcasing dinosaurs and their contemporaries in all the scaly, feathery, and furry trappings of top-notch CGI wouldn’t be enough. Both Naish and Walker spoke to the intimate storylines of the various creatures: their regular failures and good fortune in the struggle to survive, at least long enough to procreate. Little moments, like the slight stumble of a velociraptor, endear the creatures to us as we can’t help but human meanings to their behavior—just like we do with viral animal videos.

Naish said the team built out the Prehistoric Planet models using modern creatures as analogues. Some pterosaurs “probably behaved in stork-like fashion,” Naish explained, and the stocky Simosuchus took cues from modern crocodilians and armadillos.

“One of the key take-homes for me—and I hope people will pick up on this—is how complex it was, because, contrary to the sort of old-fashioned view that the complexity was far less in the past than it is today, all the studies that are being done on that now are contradicting that,” Naish said. “The late Cretaceous world was as complex as that of today. We’ve just lost most of that complexity because of, you know, extinctions. So life has got to build itself up from a starting point again.”

Each episode also has a segment of Prehistoric Planet: Uncovered, a sequence they had previously developed but only added for season 2. This might ring familiar to HBO fans; it is a “how we made it” in the spirit of the behind-the-scenes explorations of Game of Thrones and Succession. But, of course, Prehistoric Planet: Uncovered is bolstered by researchers describing the scientific consensus and how it was incorporated in the show, rather than the CGI dinos’ tremendous acting.

Click through to see some of our favorite characters from Prehistoric Planet’s second season.

T. rex and Quetzalcoatlus

Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (3)

One season two scene depicts a standoff between two very different creatures, both terrifying in their own way. On the left: the familiar visage of Tyrannosaurus rex, an apex predator of the Late Cretaceous. At right: the slightly less-famous profile of Quetzalcoatlus northopi, the largest flying creature to ever live (as far as we know); it was a pterosaur that stood as tall as a giraffe and had a 40-foot wingspan, roughly equivalent to that of some fighter jets.

Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (4)

Okay, yeah, they’re definitely not friends.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (5)

The ankylosaur Tarchia features in the new season’s second episode.

An armored addition to the Prehistoric Planet pantheon is Tarchia, the largest-yet-known ankylosaur. A desert-dweller, Tarchia had a spiny, plated back and a massive club tail. The spines of at least some ankylosaurs grew directly out of their ribs, in one of the more metal creations of evolution.

Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (6)

The new season highlights interactions between species—many of which were not so friendly.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (7)

Meet Pectinodon, a troodontid dinosaur of the late Cretaceous. Here, an adult Pectinodon interacts with juveniles—note the different colorations of the animals, just as how many juvenile birds (which are dinosaurs) will sport different plumage when young than when they are mature.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (8)

You probably recognize Triceratops; the animal’s unique head crest and horns set it apart from most other popular dinosaurs. Triceratops featured in Prehistoric Planet’s first season, but in a snowy environment. Here, they are seen in a fern-filled forest.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (9)

Behold: America’s largest dinosaur. Alamosaurus was a nearly 100-foot-long titanosaur, a unique group of sauropods set apart for their gargantuan size. These creatures, which include fan favorites like Megaloolithus and Patagotitan, are the biggest land animals currently known to science.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (10)

An ammonite featured in the second season of Prehistoric Planet.

Aha! You were about to yawn and roll your eyes because this was just a list of dinosaurs, right? Wrong! The new season also features terrestrial mammals, crocodylomorphs, and—as you can see here—ammonites, an extinct species of marine mollusk that were plentiful in the Cretaceous Period.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (11)

An eerie view of Mortuneria, a cold water plesiosaur.

The creepily monikered Mortuneria was a plesiosaur that lived in the frigid waters of Cretaceous Earth’s southern hemisphere. Mortuneria is not the first plesiosaur to grace the show; last season featured a group of plesiosaurs that swallowed stones, which helped the small-toothed creatures digest their food.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (12)

The new season also features fish—namely Xiphactinus, a rather terrifying ocean dweller. Looking every bit like someone gave a grouper a set of fake vampire teeth, Xiphactinus may have grown up to 20 feet long (that’s about the size of the largest great white sharks). It’s a nope for me, dog. I mean fish.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (13)

There’s something odd about this bird—can you tell? Hesperornis was not only flightless but wingless. So it was really, really flightless. A powerful diver and swimmer, the unique animal is seen here hunting fish.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (14)

This Pachycephalosaurus is representing the group of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs known for their bony domed skulls, which the animals may have used in battles for dominance or in mating.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (15)

Rapetosaurus was a Cretaceous titanosaur species native to Madagascar. Here, a group of the animals are seen tromping across the island’s terrain.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (16)

A photorealistic Rajasaurus from Prehistoric Planet’s second season.

Rajasaurus was a carnivorous theropod that lived during the Late Cretaceous. Seen here with its jaw open, revealing sharp teeth, the Rajasaurus would have been a fearsome predator in its day.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (17)


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (18)


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (19)

Yes, it’s small, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you... with cuteness.


Meet the Dinosaurs of Prehistoric Planet Season 2 (20)

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Did dinosaurs exist at the same time as humans? ›

No! After the dinosaurs died out, nearly 65 million years passed before people appeared on Earth. However, small mammals (including shrew-sized primates) were alive at the time of the dinosaurs.

Is Prehistoric Planet a sequel to Walking with dinosaurs? ›

Prehistoric Planet is a revision of Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Beasts, done by Discovery Channel and NBC for the Discovery Kids network in 2002–2003.

How many dinosaurs have been found? ›

Estimates vary, but in terms of extinct non-avian dinosaurs, about 300 valid genera and roughly 700 valid species have been discovered and named.

How long did dinosaurs live? ›

Dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago (at the end of the Cretaceous Period), after living on Earth for about 165 million years.

Does the Bible say about dinosaurs? ›

There are later descriptions of creatures in the Bible that could be referring to dinosaurs. One example is the behemoth of Job 40:15-19. Even in fairly modern history there are reports of creatures which seem to fit the description of dinosaurs.

Could dinosaurs survive today? ›

Variables such as temperature, food sources, and oxygen levels are all factors that might impact dinosaur survival. Because dinosaurs lived in much warmer climates millions of years ago, many experts doubt they could even survive today.

Will there be a Prehistoric Planet 2? ›

"Prehistoric Planet" Season 2 arrives exclusively on Apple TV+ starting May 22, 2023, with one episode debuting each night through May 26, 2022.

Could at Rex swim? ›

T. Rex was a species of tyrannosaur, and just like almost everything from bats to humans, its body density would have allowed it to swim...if it weren't for those freakishly short arms. Any creature needs to have a body density no more than that of water.

Is the T Rex in Prehistoric Planet accurate? ›

rex mating scene. "Movies and TV shows have portrayed them in action-packed activities," says paleontologist Darren Naish, who worked as a consultant on "Prehistoric Planet" to ensure the screen depictions of T. rex and other period animals were accurate.

What lived before dinosaurs? ›

Before the dinosaurs, the dominant forms of life on land and sea were the synapsids — a group also known as “proto-mammals.” Learn about some of the strangest and most ferocious synapsids and how these unusual creatures evolved into mammals like us.

How many T. rex skeletons exist? ›

rex skeletons were usually missing over half of their bones. It was later determined that Sue was a record 90 percent complete by bulk, and 73 percent complete counting the elements. Of the 360 known T. rex bones, around 250 have been recovered.

What is the closest animal to a dinosaur? ›

In fact, birds are commonly thought to be the only animals around today that are direct descendants of dinosaurs. So next time you visit a farm, take a moment to think about it. All those squawking chickens are actually the closest living relatives of the most incredible predator the world has ever known!

Did dragons ever live on Earth? ›

Ok, first thing: Please tell us that dragons could be real.

"Unfortunately, no, we do not have evidence of dragons on this planet. We do have evidence of very cool extinct animals that were kind of similar to dragons, but no fire-breathing six-legged vertebrates, I'm afraid."

What killed the dinosaurs? ›

Sixty-six million years ago, dinosaurs had the ultimate bad day. With a devastating asteroid impact, a reign that had lasted 180 million years was abruptly ended.

Would humans exist if dinosaurs didn't go extinct? ›

They would still probably be small, scrawny, and very generalized. But instead, the mammals were able to evolve and diversify and, well, ultimately, millions of years later, become some humans. So perhaps we would not have been here if it weren't for this extinction event 65 million years ago.

Did any dinosaurs eat meat? ›

According to Dr. Jordan Mallon, paleontologist and research scientist at Canadian Museum of Nature, dinosaurs had varying diets: some ate plants, some ate meat, and some ate both, but most were actually plant eaters. “If every dinosaur were a meat eater, their environment would be unable to support them,” he says.

What dinosaur was named after God? ›

Azhdarchidae is a family of advanced toothless pterosaurs with unusually long, stiffened necks and giant wingspans. Its name comes from the Aztec feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl. The type species is Q. northropi, named by Douglas Lawson in 1975.

What does the Bible say about tattoos? ›

But in the ancient Middle East, the writers of the Hebrew Bible forbade tattooing. Per Leviticus 19:28, “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves.”

How hot was Earth when dinosaurs lived? ›

"Our results demonstrate that dinosaurs in the northern hemisphere lived in extreme heat, when average summer temperatures hovered around 27 degrees. As such, one can well imagine that there were summer days when temperatures crept above 40 degrees. However, winters were mild and wet," says Nicolas Thibault.

Would humans survive if dinosaurs came back? ›

“Humans already evolved in ecosystems that had large land animals and predators. We probably would have done okay.” “Unarmed, solitary humans are still easy targets for large predators like bears and lions,” agrees Arbour. “But overall humans are pretty good at surviving alongside large, dangerous animals.”

Could dinosaurs live in snow? ›

Geographic evidence, histological evidence, and ontogenetic evidence suggest that dinosaurs survived in a multitude of different climates, including snowy, wintery ones.

What dinosaurs will be in Prehistoric Planet season 2? ›

With new dinosaurs like the Tarchia, one of the largest Ankylosaurus, to returning favorites like Tyrannosaurus rex, and many more, Prehistoric Planet returns with an all-new season of prehistoric wonders.

Is Prehistoric Planet a success? ›

The original took five years to make and was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned. It was hugely successful and lead to several sequels.

Are they making a planet Earth 3? ›

Planet Earth III will be the third part in the Planet Earth trilogy. It is set to release in 2023.

How did T-rex get up if it fell? ›

In 1970 British paleontologist Barney Newman posited that the arms actually served as braces to prevent the front of the body from skidding forward as the animal rose from a prone position using its hindlimbs. During such activity, the forelimbs would have been extended in an action reminiscent of a push-up.

What can T-rex bite through? ›

The Tyrannosaurus rex had the strongest bite of any known land animal — extinct or otherwise. The king of the dinosaurs was capable of biting through solid bone, but paleontologists had long been baffled as to how it accomplished this feat without breaking its own skull.

Who would win Giga or Trex? ›

Both Gianotosaurus and Tyrannosauru Rex were apex predators. In a fight between Giganotosaurus and T-Rex, the Tyrannosaurus would win. The two dinosaurs are pretty similar to one another, but their approaches to fighting would make a world of difference.

How old was the T. rex when it died? ›

Probably not more than about 28 years.

Growth rings indicate the T. rex grew quickly, reaching adult size as a teenager—and that the animals died young. The oldest specimen analyzed was only 28 years old.

Why was T. rex so smart? ›

Consisting of two hemispheres, this chunk of neural anatomy is responsible for the animal's cognition (amongst other stuff). Herculano-Houzel estimated that T. rex had roughly 3 billion cerebral neurons packed into its 343-gram (12-ounce) brain; more than the number found in baboons.

Was there a dinosaur that was worse than T. rex? ›

Meet the Spinosaurus, the most dangerous dinosaur to walk — or swim — the Earth.

Who ruled Earth before dinosaurs? ›

For approximately 120 million years—from the Carboniferous to the middle Triassic periods—terrestrial life was dominated by the pelycosaurs, archosaurs, and therapsids (the so-called "mammal-like reptiles") that preceded the dinosaurs.

What is the closest thing to a dinosaur alive today? ›

In an evolutionary sense, birds are a living group of dinosaurs because they descended from the common ancestor of all dinosaurs.

What is the oldest animal species still alive? ›

Summary of the 12 Oldest Prehistoric Animals Still Alive Today
RankAnimalYears Existing on Earth
1Dendrogramma550 million years
2Jellyfish500 million years
3Horseshoe Crab445 million years
4Coelacanth410 million years
8 more rows
Apr 22, 2023

Has a T. rex skull ever been found? ›

Fossil hunters discovered the skull, nicknamed Maximus, on private land in the Hell Creek Formation, located in Harding County, South Dakota.

Has a fully intact T. rex ever been found? ›

The first skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex was discovered in 1902 in Hell Creek, Montana, by the Museum's famous fossil hunter Barnum Brown. Six years later, Brown discovered a nearly complete T. rex skeleton at Big Dry Creek, Montana.

Has a full dinosaur been found? ›

Hadrosaurus is a famous dinosaur because it was the most complete dinosaur skeleton unearthed anywhere in the world when it was discovered and scientifically documented in 1858.

What dinosaur is closest to a human? ›

The tuatara is a reptile the lives (almost) forever and is related to humans.

What animal is as old as a dinosaur? ›

1. Crocodiles. This is what you came for: big, scary reptiles, right? Well, crocodiles share a heritage with dinosaurs as part of a group known as archosaurs (“ruling reptiles”), who date back to the Early Triassic period (250 million years ago).

What was the last dinosaur on earth? ›

For now, however, the 65-million-year-old Triceratops is the world's last known surviving dinosaur.

Are dragons in the Bible? ›

Bible verses about dragons

Isaiah 34:13 also contains a reference to dragons. That reference reads, “And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.”

What is the closest animal to a dragon? ›

Draco Lizards (Draco volans) are also known as the flying dragon. This lizard species is small in size, only growing up to 8.4 inches long, but is able to take flight like a dragon. There are around 40 species of Draco lizards.

Could dragons fly if they existed? ›

Dragon aerodynamics

If we use the standard earth sea-level air density of ρ = 1.2kg/m3, this gives a lift coefficient of 36. Which is completely unrealistic.

Which asteroid will hit Earth? ›

Asteroid 2023 DW will make a close approach to Earth on Feb. 14, 2046. NASA and other agencies are closely monitoring the asteroid to learn more about its projected path.

Did humans live with dinosaurs? ›

No! After the dinosaurs died out, nearly 65 million years passed before people appeared on Earth. However, small mammals (including shrew-sized primates) were alive at the time of the dinosaurs.

Who killed the last dinosaur? ›

Scientists already know that an asteroid—or perhaps a comet—struck Earth off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. The resulting 110 miles/80 kilometers wide Chicxulub crater is thought to have caused a decades-long “impact winter” that killed the dinosaurs.

Will humans evolve again? ›

More reproduction followed, and more mistakes, the process repeating over billions of generations. Finally, Homo sapiens appeared. But we aren't the end of that story. Evolution won't stop with us, and we might even be evolving faster than ever.

Did humans survive the asteroid? ›

Humans survived when the Sun was blocked out

There is evidence that a kilometer long asteroid crashed into Southeast Asia around 800,000 years ago — and our ancestors had survived it. The asteroid did impact human evolution and blocked out the Sun for years with the dust it threw up. Yet, humanity was not wiped out.

Is it true that humans almost went extinct? ›

With 6.8 billion people alive today, it's hard to fathom that humans were ever imperiled. But 1.2 million years ago, only 18,500 early humans were breeding on the planet--evidence that there was a real risk of extinction for our early ancestors, according to a new study.

When did humans first appear on Earth? ›

The first human ancestors appeared between five million and seven million years ago, probably when some apelike creatures in Africa began to walk habitually on two legs. They were flaking crude stone tools by 2.5 million years ago. Then some of them spread from Africa into Asia and Europe after two million years ago.

What came before dinosaurs? ›

Before the dinosaurs, the dominant forms of life on land and sea were the synapsids — a group also known as “proto-mammals.” Learn about some of the strangest and most ferocious synapsids and how these unusual creatures evolved into mammals like us.

Who was the first human on the earth? ›

The First Humans

One of the earliest known humans is Homo habilis, or “handy man,” who lived about 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Would dinosaurs still exist today if no asteroid? ›

Dinosaurs would have continued to thrive had it not been for the asteroid, researchers say. Researchers believe dinosaurs were doing well up until the point of extinction. Dinosaurs were doing well and could have continued to dominate Planet Earth if they had not been wiped out by an asteroid, new research has found.

Who is the first person born? ›

Homo habilis, sometimes known as "handyman", was one of the oldest known humans and lived between 2.4 million and 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Are humans still evolving? ›

Broadly speaking, evolution simply means the gradual change in the genetics of a population over time. From that standpoint, human beings are constantly evolving and will continue to do so long as we continue to successfully reproduce.

Did we all come from Africa? ›

Our species, Homo sapiens, has now spread to all parts of the world but it's generally believed that we originated in Africa by about 200,000 years ago. We interacted with local archaic human populations as we colonised the globe.

Who ruled Earth after dinosaurs? ›

Frogs & Salamanders: These seemingly delicate amphibians survived the extinction that wiped out larger animals. Lizards: These reptiles, distant relatives of dinosaurs, survived the extinction. Mammals: After the extinction, mammals came to dominate the land.

What was the first living thing on Earth? ›

The earliest life forms we know of were microscopic organisms (microbes) that left signals of their presence in rocks about 3.7 billion years old. The signals consisted of a type of carbon molecule that is produced by living things.

What color were the first humans? ›

The first humans to leave Africa 40,000 years ago are believed to have had dark skin, which would have been advantageous in sunny climates. But humans did not uniformly develop light skin when they reached the colder regions of Europe.

When was Adam and Eve born? ›

Putting all this together, between 9,800 and 9,700 years ago is an accurate date of creation for Adam and Eve. During this time, the Upper Paleolithic/Lower Mesolithic, humans created before Adam and Eve were yet hunter-gatherers.

Who was the first person died on Earth? ›

The first person to die is Abel at the hands of his brother, which is also the first time that blood is mentioned in the Bible (4:10–11).


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