Segments in this Video

Dinosaur Hunt (03:40)


Johnson travels to a remote region called the Kaiparowits Plateau in Utah, in search for dinosaur fossils. Joe Sertich reveals the fossilized skull of a Lythronax dinosaur, predating T. rex by 10 million years.

A Glimpse at Early Earth (04:28)

For 14 million years, dinosaurs ruled North America. Life emerged on Earth 3.5 billion years ago. Johnson travels to the Bahamas to see a rare living fossil called stromatolites.

Stromatolites: Kings of the World (02:45)

The oldest stromatolite is 3.5 billion years old. It thrived in an environment that is now considered toxic to life.

Large Scale Photosynthesis (02:26)

The waste product of stromatolites is oxygen, an element which transformed the world. Creatures who consume oxygen were now able to exist.

Back to the Dinosaurs (03:25)

About 640 million years ago, complex life exploded with the evolution of primitive animals. Johnson examines the tree of life leading up to the dinosaurs. He investigates why dinosaurs thrived in North America.

Ancient Predator (01:55)

Johnson travels to the Great Plains in Kansas, in search of fossils. Fossil hunters, Chuck Bonner and Barbara Shelton, present their latest discovery, an 80 million-year-old fish called Xiphactinus.

Continental Divide (03:36)

One hundred and thirty million years ago, the ocean began to invade North America, splitting the continent into two land masses. Sertich presents his latest find in a dinosaur graveyard. Fossils reveal how these different environments drove dinosaur diversity.

Marine Life in the Mountain Range (03:21)

Seventy million years ago, the Great North American Seaway began to drain away. Johnson travels to Colorado to investigate the cause of this massive draining.

Continental Collision (02:24)

The birth of the Rocky Mountains was the death of North America's great inland sea. As the land rose, 70 million years ago, the water drained into what is now the Gulf of Mexico.

Hell Creek Formation (04:52)

Johnson travels to the North Dakota Badlands in search of a life changing event. Under a field microscope, sediment from a particular layer of rock reveals microscopic glass beads.

Impact Layer (04:07)

Tiny crystals called shocked quartz found in a layer of Earth indicates an asteroid impact. Paleontologist Tyler Lyson finds no evidence of dinosaur fossils above the impact layer.

World of Little Mammals (02:14)

After the asteroid impact, more than half of plant species and half of insect species were lost. Little mammals survived the global devastation and prospered.

Native Primates (02:27)

Today, the only primates native to North American are human beings. Johnson travel to the Duke University Lemur Center and realizes how well adapted they are to tree-filled environments.

Primate Presence (02:57)

Paleontologist Doug Boyer illustrates primate presence in North America with an accumulation of bones 48 million years old.

Human Arrival (03:19)

Fifty six million years ago, a fiery rift opened up in the North Atlantic releasing greenhouse gases. The cool forests covering the north turned into subtropical rain forests. Temperature dropped again, ridding the continent of primates. Around 14,000 years ago humans entered the scene.

Credits: Life: Part 2—Making North America (01:33)

Credits: Life: Part 2—Making North America

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Life: Part 2—Making North America

Part of the Series : Making North America
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Host Kirk Johnson, Director of Smithsonian‍‍ National Museum of Natural History, journeys on a spectacular road trip through a tumultuous deep past exploring three fundamental questions: How was the continent built? How did life evolve here? And how has the continent shaped us? In episode two of this three-part series, discover the surprising intertwined story of life and the landscape in North America—from origins to iconic dinosaurs to giant marine reptiles swimming in an ancient sea that once split the continent in two. “Making North America” reveals the incredible story of the majestic North American continent.  Distributed by PBS Distribution.   

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL114680

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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