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The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life

The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life - tells the story of the evolution of life on earth


Written by Tim Haines and Paul Chambers

Published on 6.10.05, price £16.99


This sumptuous book is the culmination in print of the entire Walking with Dinosaurs project which began nearly ten years ago, and whose programmes have been seen by more than 660 million people worldwide.


The latest and final instalment, Walking with Monsters, tells of life before the dinosaurs, and will be shown on BBC One later this autumn.


It draws on the specialist knowledge of more than 600 scientists to tell the story of the weird, wonderful and frequently terrifying creatures that came before, during and after the Age of the Dinosaurs.


Above all, it pulls together for the first time the unique high-resolution images made possible by the television series to bring these creatures to life - 50 of which have never been seen in print before.


The book features some 112 animals, and covers four billion years of life on earth, presenting each era in three separate sections. In the first section, The Rise of Life, we meet 30 fascinating new creatures for the first time, such as the nine-foot long sea scorpion, Pterygotus, and Arthropleura, the largest land arthropod of all time.


The second and third sections take us from the familiar Age of Reptiles into the Age of Beasts, which includes Gastornis, the horse eating bird, and the ugly and vicious Entelodont, ending with Home sapiens and the newly-discovered Homo floresiensis ("the hobbit").


Each entry is newly written to take account of the latest evidence, and is accompanied by fact files, CGI images, scale diagrams and action sequences.


"There has never been a collection as complete and as finely illustrated as this one", says Tim Haines.


"Each animal is presented in the context of its own habitat and each image presents a dramatic scene in the animal's life. Much of the information in this book has never before been aired in public."


About the authors:

Tim Haines has worked on many of the major BBC science series. He was the creator and series producer of Walking with Dinosaurs and executive producer of Walking with Beasts, Sea Monsters and Walking with Monsters. He wrote the accompanying books for Beasts and Dinosaurs .


Paul Chambers has a PhD in micropalaeontology and is the author of several books on the subject. He has worked on all the Walking with Dinosaurs programmes.



Ten Questions for Tim Haines

Tim Haines started working on Walking with Dinosaurs ten years ago, creating a brand, which would enthral children and adults all over the world. This autumn sees the publication by BBC Books of The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life, and the transmission on BBC One of Walking with Monsters, the final series in the hugely successful trilogy, which tells of life before the dinosaurs.


The three television series - Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking with Beasts and Sea Monsters - have between them, attracted more than 660 million viewers around the world, while BBC Books has distributed more than a million of the three books associated with the series.


Here, Tim talks about which monster he'd like as a pet, how many people it took to move one monster's head during filming, and why his children prefer football and boy bands to dinosaurs.


Tim, when and why did you first become interested in dinosaurs? An eight-year-old boy, one footprint in a museum in Tunbridge Wells museum and the illustrations of Czech artist Zdenek Burian.


Which prehistoric monster is the most frightening, and why? T Rex is bad - he is all just legs and teeth - but for sheer terror I would plump for Liopleurodon - 20 metres long, a mouth 3 meters long and teeth over 30cms long. This reptile lived under water and would have swallowed Jaws whole.


If you had the choice, which monster would you most like to see in the flesh? Argentinosaurus, the largest known dinosaur - a herd of these 100 tonne giants must have been awesome.


What do your children think of your work? I have 2 boys and 2 girls but unfortunately they are so used to my work that they are not that keen on dinosaurs - football and boy bands are more their thing.


Of the 112 or so animals featured in the book, is there one which you would consider keeping as a pet? Diictodon would be cute although it would make holes in my lawn.


Which scene from the current series, Walking with Monsters , was the most difficult to shoot? The Lystrosaurs crossing the river - for the graphics people there was a lot of water interaction and on location we had nine people in the water trying to move the Chasmatosaurus head and the Lystrosaur body.


You worked with the computer graphics company, Framestore, to recreate the monsters. Which one are you most proud of? Dimetrodon, the giant fin backed reptile - he looks fantastic and his fin is see-through.


There were some fabulous models made during the creation of the creatures for the screen. Have you kept any and if so, where do you keep them? BBC Worldwide has a lot of them and there are three travelling exhibitions for Dinosaurs, Beasts and Sea Monsters. Unfortunately, a lot of them were only made for shooting and quickly decay after the shoot.


You used many locations during filming for the various series. Which was the most memorable for you? They were nearly all fantastic - the cycad forest in the Australian outback, the tree fern forest in New Zealand or Mount Do in New Caledonia but my favourite was the monkey-puzzle forests in Chile.


You've done pretty well everything there is to do with prehistoric monsters. Where do you go next? We are making a series for ITV called Prehistoric Zoo where Nigel Marven goes back in time to save animals from extinction.



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Date : 22.09.2005
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