Ep 4 - Giant of the Skies.txt

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{1066}{1177}In life, he was the most magnificent|beast ever to take to the wing.
{1210}{1261}He ruled the skies supreme,
{1263}{1309}flying far and wide
{1311}{1352}over the lands of the dinosaurs.
{1388}{1393}This is the story|of the last journey
{1393}{1472}This is the story|of the last journey
{1474}{1522}this giant ever made.
{1872}{1958}It is the start|of a time called the Cretaceous.
{1961}{2006}The movement of the continents
{2009}{2081}is not only breaking up|the landmasses,
{2083}{2162}but it continues|to push up sea levels.
{2165}{2268}This has opened new seaways|and coastlines.
{2335}{2431}Where once there was solid land,|now there are ragged cliffs,
{2431}{2531}buzzing with an abundance of|flying reptiles called pterosaurs.
{2534}{2622}Pterosaurs have been here|for 100 million years.
{2627}{2723}Many species are huge. Wingspans|of six metres and more are common.
{2826}{2915}But there is one species|that dwarfs them all.
{3160}{3208}He is 0rnithocheirus -
{3210}{3296}12 metres|from wing tip to wing tip
{3299}{3351}and a body bigger than a man's.
{3354}{3416}The undisputed king of the skies.
{3668}{3701}This giant is over 40 years old.
{3737}{3747}Most of his life has been spent|wandering the globe,
{3747}{3826}Most of his life has been spent|wandering the globe,
{3829}{3879}in search of food,
{3881}{3975}but every year, there is an|interruption to this nomadic life.
{3977}{4061}It will soon be time to find a mate.
{4087}{4205}0n the rocks, the mating season|for another pterosaur is under way -
{4207}{4279}the bizarre-looking Tapejara.
{4342}{4430}Pterosaurs' wings|are thin membranes of skin
{4433}{4512}that stretch from elongated fingers|on their forelimbs
{4514}{4562}to the ends of their hindlimbs.
{4653}{4718}Their bones are hollow and light.
{4720}{4773}They are masters of the air,
{4776}{4838}but on land they are cumbersome,
{4840}{4931}with their legs joined up|by the wings.
{4987}{5085}Squatting on all fours,|the males try and claim an area
{5085}{5154}from which to display|to the females.
{5190}{5250}They show off their colourful crests
{5253}{5322}until one competitor backs down.
{5373}{5454}A large crest is also a lure|to the females.
{5562}{5667}A potential mate|soon makes a cautious approach,
{5672}{5737}her head dipped in submission.
{5845}{5936}As in any competition,|there are losers.
{5938}{6034}Unable to secure himself|a good display patch,
{6037}{6133}this male is perilously close|to a blowhole.
{6135}{6219}Down here, he has little chance|of attracting a mate.
{6288}{6346}(Honking call)
{6456}{6571}Instinct tells the 0rnithocheirus|that it is time to move on.
{6574}{6682}He must return|to his breeding site in Europe,
{6684}{6751}on the other side of the world.
{6895}{6950}For this giant of the sky,
{6953}{7049}it will be the last great flight|he ever makes.
{7288}{7336}What he is about to undertake
{7339}{7435}is the most astounding journey|in the animal kingdom.
{7473}{7545}From the shores|of the great southern continent,
{7547}{7593}he will travel to North America,
{7595}{7643}cross the Atlantic seaway,
{7646}{7693}and fly on to the islands
{7696}{7780}which mark where Europe|will one day be formed.
{7782}{7878}Spread out below him|will be the majesty and spectacle
{7880}{7940}of a world ruled by dinosaurs.
{8142}{8216}In just a few days, he reaches|the southern tip of North America.
{8583}{8633}Below him, a column of Iguanodon
{8638}{8684}stretches along a beach,
{8686}{8758}grazing the edge of a dense forest.
{8760}{8866}A thousand tonnes of dinosaur|are on the move.
{9072}{9130}Hundreds of mouths are searching
{9132}{9233}for a fresh place|to satisfy their enormous appetites.
{9528}{9542}The young play around the adults.
{9542}{9592}The young play around the adults.
{9595}{9679}Although these herbivores|walk on four legs,
{9681}{9741}Iguanodon can run on just two.
{9868}{9916}This makes them quite nimble,
{9918}{10029}certainly more so than the|lumbering plant-eater, Polacanthus,
{10031}{10081}that is accompanying the herd.
{10312}{10384}(High-pitched shrieking)
{10508}{10585}The wall of flesh|travels slowly onward,
{10587}{10671}following the path|of the 0rnithocheirus,
{10671}{10738}but there is a setback ahead.
{11060}{11156}The climate in the time of|the dinosaurs is warm and tropical.
{11158}{11232}There are only two seasons -|dry and wet.
{11235}{11319}Now is the time of year|for tropical storms.
{11319}{11403}In moments, the short stretch|of coast is drenched -
{11405}{11472}welcome relief for thirsty plants
{11475}{11534}and lean rivers,
{11534}{11645}but it is a disaster|for a migrating pterosaur.
{11700}{11796}The 0rnithocheirus|is grounded by the heavy rain,
{11796}{11892}frustrating his urge|to get to the breeding site.
{11916}{11976}He shelters as best he can -
{11978}{12045}the downy fur on his body|must be kept dry.
{12359}{12414}For the Iguanodon herd,|the rain is no hindrance.
{12458}{12529}These are among the most successful|dinosaurs on the planet,
{12532}{12580}populating every continent,
{12582}{12640}thriving on a variety of vegetation.
{12731}{12834}The river estuary provides them|with an ideal break in the forest.
{12834}{12882}There is fresh water
{12884}{12990}and the banks here are thick with|lush podocarp scrub and tree ferns.
{13074}{13119}0ne reason Iguanodon|are so successful
{13124}{13206}is they have a new way|of tackling plants.
{13254}{13256}Most dinosaurs can only crudely|slice food with their teeth,
{13256}{13352}Most dinosaurs can only crudely|slice food with their teeth,
{13354}{13424}but Iguanodon|are the first herbivores
{13426}{13517}to have back teeth|that can grind up vegetation.
{13520}{13568}This ability to chew
{13570}{13680}speeds digestion|of even the toughest plant material.
{13800}{13848}The forests near the equator
{13848}{13934}are also witness|to another landmark in evolution.
{13934}{14002}The first simple flowers|have arrived,
{14004}{14112}adding a dash of colour|to an otherwise green world.
{14112}{14220}It is the start|of a new relationship with insects.
{14222}{14270}Attracted by the colour and smell,
{14273}{14340}this wasp is feasting on pollen.
{14342}{14450}It will unwittingly spread it|to other flowers,
{14452}{14519}speeding up|the plant's reproduction.
{14519}{14623}The plants that have evolved|this feature are flourishing,
{14627}{14726}and soon will dominate|the flora of the world.
{14826}{14908}The next day,|the weather starts to improve.
{14908}{15004}The 0rnithocheirus|waits impatiently in his cave,
{15006}{15078}and busies himself with grooming.
{15172}{15258}He is plagued by parasites that|bite vessels on his wing membrane.
{15414}{15467}If he is to find a mate,
{15469}{15519}he must be in prime condition.
{15522}{15603}He has to keep the parasites|in check.
{15795}{15843}In the morning air,
{15843}{15920}smaller reptiles|are now out on the wing.
{15922}{16011}But the 0rnithocheirus is so large,|he must wait
{16013}{16104}until the heat of the day|creates warm updraughts of air,
{16109}{16157}strong enough to lift him.
{16289}{16385}But time is short.|His body is already showing signs
{16387}{16442}of readiness for mating.
{16445}{16512}Faint colours have started to bloom
{16512}{16579}on his beak's display crest.
{16670}{16754}At last,|he can resume his epic journey.
{17178}{17274}For thousands of kilometres, he|follows the coast of North America.
{17346}{17442}Like all giant pterosaurs,|he uses his enormous wings
{17445}{17557}to ride on the warm air currents|that rise over land.
{17783}{17879}His whole body weighs|less than 100 kilograms,
{17881}{17994}and this helps him glide|effortlessly over huge distances.
{18027}{18090}But soon he must face open water.
{18135}{18207}This is the young Atlantic.
{18281}{18356}It is still|only 300 kilometres wide.
{18358}{18452}To reach the other side,|he'll need all his gliding skills
{18454}{18528}to exploit air currents|that form over waves.
{18531}{18588}Along the way, he must feed.
{19185}{19245}But flying low brings its dangers.
{19248}{19346}Hungry monsters watch him|from below the waves.
{19511}{19569}An entire day on the wing,
{19571}{19689}and he has arrived on the most|western of Europe's islands.
{19801}{19907}Again, the landscape is dominated|by a huge herd of Iguanodon.
{19909}{20000}But this time,|it is a larger European species,
{20003}{20068}up to three tonnes apiece.
{20144}{20202}These animals are again accompanied
{20204}{20259}by a spiky Polacanthus.
{20262}{20310}These armoured herbivores
{20312}{20382}are often found|around Iguanodon herds,
{20384}{20430}presumably for mutual protection.
{20432}{20504}There is safety in numbers.
{20679}{20727}They are being watched
{20729}{20799}by a pack|of carnivorous Utahraptors.
{20801}{20900}For the moment,|they are biding their time.
{21166}{21245}Meanwhile,|another conflict is looming.
{21247}{21341}A small pterosaur|fishes the waters of the lake.
{21343}{21451}Its success has not gone unnoticed|by 0rnithocheirus.
{21453}{21511}The giant turns bully.
{22113}{22177}Under cover of the pencil pines,
{22182}{22247}a female Utahraptor|has been stalking.
{22249}{22329}Her chosen prey are the Iguanodon.
{22688}{22782}Somewhere close by|are the rest of the pack.
{22839}{22909}(Low growling)
{22911}{23021}With lethal claws, this|five-metre killer is well-armed.
{23024}{23072}And long fingers help her
{23074}{23149}to latch on|to swift-moving larger prey.
{24141}{24203}Raptors have|the short legs of a sprinter
{24206}{24287}and do not pursu...
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