The Day the Dinosaurs Died

Synopsis: Investigates the greatest vanishing act in the history of our planet - the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
Genre: Documentary
60 min


Once upon a time, dinosaurs

ruled the world.

But 66 million years ago...

they vanished, virtually overnight.

So what precisely happened in the

minutes, the days, the weeks

that wiped out three-quarters of

the animal species on the planet?

Many scientists now believe it

was the impact of an asteroid

that caused their extinction.

But nobody has been able to prove it...

until now.

Evolutionary biologist Ben

Garrod and I have been granted

exclusive access to a

multi-million-pound drilling mission

into the exact point

where the asteroid hit.

This really is one of the most

impressive science laboratories

I've ever seen.

Could the team's findings

about the asteroid

finally solve the ultimate

dinosaur mystery?

This is an absolutely amazing event -

mountains the size of the

Himalayas were formed in seconds.

With Ben at the impact site,

I will be traveling across the world

to look for evidence of

the events that followed.

That is a bit of fossilized bone,

and they're everywhere,

scattered across this hillside.

It's just extraordinary.

Armed with astonishing new revelations...

Right here, we have the smoking

gun, and here, we have the bodies.

We may finally be

able to paint a picture

of the demise of the dinosaurs.

I'm off the coast of Mexico right now

and this thing you can see behind me

is a specially adapted drilling platform.

Now, there's an international

team of scientists on board

who are drilling far beneath

the seabed where we are now

to look for evidence to see why

and how the dinosaurs died.

This is the exact spot of

a huge asteroid strike

that happened at precisely the same

time the dinosaurs were wiped out.

This is Earth, 66 million years ago.

Here's the asteroid.

It's nine miles across

the size of a city.

And here's the first surprising thing -

the speed of it.

It may not look that fast at this scale,

but it was traveling an

unbelievable 40,000 miles an hour.

Seen from the ground,

it would have gone from a

mere dot in the sky to impact

in a matter of seconds.

The asteroid smashed into a shallow sea

north of modern-day Mexico,

exactly where the team

is starting to drill.

The theory goes that this impact

set off a chain reaction of events

that killed the dinosaurs.

But here's the heart of the mystery...

When you compare the size of

the asteroid and the Earth,

well, the asteroid is comparatively small.

It's like a grain of sand

hitting a bowling ball.

So how did this asteroid

cause a mass extinction

all around the globe?

By extracting rock from the impact crater,

the team hopes to find out.

So, I'm not even strapped in, and

I don't especially like heights!

But this is great, this is great.

This multi-million-pound operation

has been decades in the planning

and we're the only film

crew to have access.

Professor Joanna Morgan first

proposed the operation.

It's been a long wait.

I've been excited for, you know,

16 years, so to actually...

For it to be happening

is quite scary.

We've had so much effort between

us to get us to this point

that... that you really

want some lovely results.

Joining her on board to

co-direct operations

is Professor Sean Gulick.

So, this is the ultimate

test of some ideas, right?

We have all these models about

how the extinction happened,

but without some samples from ground zero,

we can't really test them.

This really is one of the most

impressive science laboratories

I've ever seen, and it's an amazing place -

we're going to have a quick look around.

This central area here

is incredibly important.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Day the Dinosaurs Died" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 10 Apr. 2021. <>.

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