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Germany, 49 million years B.C. A day in the life of a small forest mammal called Leptictidium who is trying to raise young, a giant predatory bird called Gastornis trying to hatch an egg ... See full summary »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Branagh ... Narrator (voice)
Stockard Channing ... Narrator (U.S.A Version) (voice)
Larry Agenbroad Larry Agenbroad ... Himself - of University of Northern Arizona
Frank Fish Frank Fish ... Himself - of West Chester University
Larry Witmer Larry Witmer ... Himself - of Ohio University
Maureen O'Leary Maureen O'Leary ... Herself - of State University of New York at Stony Brook
Mark Uhen Mark Uhen ... Himself - of Cranbrook Institute of Science
Scott E. Foss Scott E. Foss ... Himself - of John Day Fossil Beds National Park
Kent Sundell Kent Sundell ... Himself - of Casper College, Wyoming
Japeth Boyce Japeth Boyce ... Himself - of Rapid City, South Dakota
Donald Prothero Donald Prothero ... Himself - of Occidental College
Leslie Aiello Leslie Aiello ... Herself - of University College, London
Bob Brain Bob Brain ... Himself - of Transvaal Museum, Pretoria
Blaire Van Valkenburgh Blaire Van Valkenburgh ... Herself - of University of California (as Blair Van Valkenburgh)
Alan Turner Alan Turner ... Himself - of Liverpool John Moores University


Germany, 49 million years B.C. A day in the life of a small forest mammal called Leptictidium who is trying to raise young, a giant predatory bird called Gastornis trying to hatch an egg and a primitive whale, Ambulocetus, who is hunting in the water. Written by Dutch90

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Release Date:

15 November 2001 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


The movements of Ambulocetus were based on those of an otter. See more »


Though it makes for a dramatic scene, there is no reason for the Gastornis to exert itself by violently shaking the tiny Propalaeotherium around after it's caught it. One bite with its beak was enough to kill it. See more »


Kenneth Branagh: [about the Ambulocetus] Although his ancestors hunted on land, Ambulocetus has evolved to be far more at home in the water. In fact, his descendants will take this to a greater extreme: you are looking at the very earliest form of whale. Ambulocetus in fact means 'walking whale'.
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User Reviews

Dawning with promise
6 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been fascinated by dinosaurs, whether reading about them or seeing documentaries and films on them. Love documentaries, especially those of the national treasure that is David Attenborough, and admire Kenneth Branagh a good deal. So my expectations for 'Walking with Beasts' were quite big and that's an understatement.

Expectations that were actually mostly lived up to, a good thing for me having seen my fair share of wastes of potential recently. 'Walking with Beasts' is not one of the best documentaries personally seen (far from it), and there are better ones on the subject of dinosaurs. It is also not as ground-breaking as 'Walking with Dinosaurs', as far as dinosaur documentaries go, still a big achievement to this day. Standing on its own without comparing it to anything, 'Walking with Beasts' was very interesting and mostly very well done.

Getting off to a very good and promising start with "New Dawn".

Sure "New Dawn" isn't perfect. Sometimes the dinosaur effects are on the stiff side in movement.

Did actually appreciate the storytelling approach "New Dawn", and 'Walking with Beasts' in general, took and it made it entertaining and emotionally investable. It did get in the way though too much of the documentary aspect, which interested and compelled throughout but there could have been more focus on the evidence and such to stop things from being too speculative.

However, when it comes to how it's written, "New Dawn" does just as good a job entertaining and teaching, it's all very sincerely done and it never feels like a sermon. There are things here that are common sense and knowledge but one is taught a huge deal as well.

Kenneth Branagh's narration delivery is similarly spot-on, very sensitively delivered and very dignified, his expertise in Shakespeare helps the delivery. The narration is comprehensive and sincere, with a good balance of things known to me and things new to me (really like it when documentaries do that), as well as compelling.

Visually, "New Dawn" may lack the awe-inspiring, almost cinematic quality one anticipates. With that being said, it is beautifully shot, shot in a fluid and non-static way. The sceneries and landscapes are handsomely rendered and mostly the dinosaur effects are impressive.

"New Dawn" is appropriately scored, never intrusive or too low-key. There is fun, tension and pathos throughout and the dinosaurs, prey and predator, are like characters that one cares for in the same way they do a human. The documentary aspect is grounded and well researched, coming over as if there was evidence to corroborate what was said.

Overall, very good though could have been great. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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