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Introduction to "Walking with Beasts"

For 160 million years (during the Mesozoic era) the dinosaurs ruled the world. Living in their shadow were the very first mammals, ancestors to all mammals that were still to come. Increased volcanic activity already started to poison the air and the last dinosaurs were struggling to survive on a sick planet, when a giant meteor, about 10km in diameter, struck the earth around 65 million years ago. This cataclysmic event and the cold dark years that followed it, marked the end of the dinosaurs. It is known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event.

But what happened next?

Nearly all the animals that survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event were small, and among them were mammals. Over the next few million years, mammals left behind their small beginnings. Whatever the climate, whatever the habitat; mammals adapted to fill the empty spaces the dinosaurs had left. Many became big, fierce and spectacular.

This series describes the age of the mammals, taking us from about 50 million years ago up to the last ice age, a mere 30 000 years ago, highlighting some of the most bizarre, spectacular and mean mammals that have roamed our planet, since the demise of the dinosaurs.