Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World (2010) Movie Script

It was in one of the galleries
of St Peter's Mount,
at about 500 paces
from the main entry
and at 90 feet below the surface,
that the quarrymen exposed
part of the skull
of a large animal
embedded in the stone.
They suspended their work to tell
of their discovery to Dr Hoffmann,
who had for some years been
collecting fossils from the quarries.
Dr Hoffman, observing
the specimen to be the most important
that had yet been discovered,
took every precaution
to preserve it in one piece.
After having succeeded in removing
a large block of stone
surrounding it,
and reducing the mass
to a proper condition,
it was transported
to his home in triumph.
25 years later,
after the occupation of Maastricht
by the French Revolutionary Army...
You are here at last.
Please, gentlemen, take it.
..the famous fossil shows up
one cold winter night
at the National Museum
of Natural History in Paris.
Be careful, it's priceless.
This strange thing
they called at the time
"the unknown animal of Maastricht"
started to raise interest
among the scientific community.
It's here!
Let's go, let's go!
Little bit more.
Put it on the table.
Be careful!
Gentlemen, open this chest.
Yes let's open it.
Be very, very careful!
Gentlemen, all together now.
What they discovered that night
looked unlike
any known living creature.
Some thought it was a crocodile.
Others believed it to be a whale.
Neither the shape of its teeth
nor the size of the jaws
helped them to determine
its true identity.
It's too big for a crocodile.
A whale would be more appropriate.
Back then, that is 40 years before
the discovery of the first dinosaur,
nobody had ever thought that
thousands of species could have lived
and disappeared in a distant past.
But everything was about to change.
(WOMAN) I'm sure
marine dinosaurs still exist!
My apologies for intruding
upon your thoughts, mademoiselle,
but, strictly speaking,
only reptiles that walked on dry land
are called "dinosaurs".
If they lived under the water,
they are called marine reptiles.
And they all disappeared
a very, very long time ago.
- What happened?
- You'll see, Julie.
65 million years ago
reptiles ruled the world.
On land.
In the air.
And reptiles were kings
in all the seas as well.
But then came a great cataclysm
from outer space.
An asteroid 1 2 miles in diameter
struck the Earth.
This asteroid's massive impact
unleashed the power
of more than 1 00 atomic bombs.
The sky went dark, and the Earth's
climate changed drastically.
70 per cent of all life
on the planet perished.
And, with the end of the dinosaurs,
it was also the end of the reign
of the reptile in the sea world.
And... when did you say that happened?
65 million years ago.
So... then humans came
right after that?
Humans will come... a little later.
How much later?
65 million years.
You're kidding.
Modern humans, like you and I, only
appeared barely 200,000 years ago.
In comparison to the age of
the Earth, that's a blink of the eye.
200,000 years?
An instant, in geological time.
Somewhat difficult to comprehend,
is it not?
Comparing thousands and millions
and even billions of years.
Don't you agree?
Then follow me, Julie.
And when you want to stop time,
say "stop".
- Stop?
- All right, then. Forward to the past!
Now, let's start slowly,
from the beginning.
Earth forms
four and a half billion years ago.
Then life appears but remains
microscopic for three billion years.
In this time spiral,
only the last turn interests us
that leads to our time.
Let's consider this
as a 1 2-hour clock.
540 million years ago, at 2 o'clock,
the Primary Era begins.
Life grows and evolves
in every environment.
At 7.30 the Secondary Era,
or the Mesozoic, begins.
It is the age of reptiles.
Including the famous dinosaurs?
Yes, as well as
flying and marine reptiles.
The next and last era, the Cenozoic,
is the age of mammals.
On this clock, Homo sapiens,
our miniscule species,
appears just eight seconds before 1 2.
The Mesozoic takes place between
the two major ecological crises
that led to the extinction
of many species on Earth.
The largest at 7.30,
and the last, right there, at 1 0.50.
That one caused the extinction of the
dinosaurs and large marine reptiles.
(JULIE) But how did it start?
Well, first,
you'll need a microscope.
Life on Earth starts in the water,
as bacteria,
3.5 billion years ago.
Slowly, this micro-life evolves.
Then, 650 million years ago,
life becomes visible to the naked
eye, soft-bodied organisms.
The following 400 million years
bring with them an explosion of life.
New morphological forms appear,
reaching considerable sizes.
And, finally,
amphibians follow fish with feet
to conquer terra firma.
300 million years ago,
the first reptiles appear on land.
And in the sky, the wingspan of
some insects reaches over three feet.
By the end of the Paleozoic, the land
and the seas are bursting with life.
It is the golden age
for biodiversity.
But this period ends
with gigantic cataclysms,
which exterminate
up to 95% of the species,
the largest extinction of all time.
95% of the species?
But that's enormous!
Nothing much must have remained
after that!
You're right, my dear.
And most of the world's
great predators have disappeared.
But life persists.
And in the seas
many fish and molluscs remain.
What about the marine reptiles?
Their reign begins now.
Three different groups, one after
the other, will rule the world's oceans.
First the lchthyosaurs,
that use their tails to swim.
- Like a fish?
- Much like a fish.
And then the Plesiosaurs,
that use their four paddle-like limbs
to fly through the water.
And next, the Mosasaurs,
that use an undulating movement
similar to... to a snake.
And these animals ruled the seas
for 1 80 million years,
throughout all three
Mesozoic periods,
Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.
From the early
Triassic period onwards,
Ichthyosaurs are
the kings of the seas.
During this time, above the water,
all the continents on Earth
are joined together
in a single mass of land,
a supercontinent called Pangea.
Off to the Pangean coast!
- Switzerland?
- Yes.
At this time,
most of Europe is under water,
a shallow and warm sea.
In the middle Triassic, it's hot
and dry on land with little to eat.
In the sea, life flourishes again.
Several reptile species have returned
to the marine environment,
thriving on
the plentiful food supply.
The Tanystropheus
hold a world record.
In proportion to their bodies, they
have the longest necks ever recorded.
With its flat teeth, this Placodont
mostly eats seashells and molluscs.
- Aren't those turtles?
- Not at all.
But they, too,
have developed a tough armour
to keep them relatively safe from
the great predators of the Triassic,
like... the Nothosaur.
Over 1 3 feet long.
Very dangerous,
and an excellent swimmer.
But it has no chance of catching up
with a Mixosaurus.
- (JULlE) lt looks like a dolphin.
- Except it's a reptile.
Like marine mammals today, it, too,
must come to the surface to breathe.
It belongs to the large group
of lchthyosaurs,
which will rule the seas
for some 1 50 million years!
(JULIE) That one doesn't seem
quite big enough to rule anything.
There are also
some very large Ichthyosaurs,
some measuring up to 75 feet long
and weighing 50 tons!
Like the Shonisaurus,
the biggest of them all.
Like all lchthyosaurs,
it lives in groups
and mainly eats
molluscs and small fish.
(JULIE) They look like
dolphins and whales!
That's right. They're even born
in a similar manner.
What do you mean?
Well, let's hear from an expert,
the palaeontologist Ryosuke Motani.
He has just finished studying
some very fine specimens
from a famous fossil site in Germany.
Many Ichthyosaur fossils
have been found at Holzmaden
with their bones intact
and even with the imprint
of their skin on the rock,
which helped us to know
the position of their fins.
Some Ichthyosaur fossils
are so well preserved
that we can actually see foetuses
inside the mother's bodies,
and some even being born.
Unable to get out of the water
to lay their eggs like other reptiles,
Ichthyosaurs gave birth in the water.
The babies came out tail first,
like dolphins today.
Another one of the lchthyosaur's
characteristics are its huge eyes,
protected by doughnut-shaped bones
able to withstand
extreme water pressure.
A Jurassic lchthyosaur,
the Ophthalmosaurus,
stands out in the animal kingdom
as having the largest eyes
in proportion to its body.
With these enormous eyes,
it could make out its prey
in the darkness of great depths.
Strangely enough,
the Ichthyosaurs became extinct
in the middle of the Cretaceous,
despite their amazing adaptation
to sea life.
(JULIE) But how can we know so much
about species that became extinct
90 million years ago?
Perhaps because of the large number
and the quality of fossils left.
And, of course, thanks to
those who discovered them.
Here we are in London, in
one of the most beautiful galleries
devoted to Mesozoic marine reptiles.
Nathalie Bardet is currently
the French expert on these animals.
A long time before dinosaurs
were discovered,
the remains of marine reptiles
had been known to fossil collectors.
Mary Anning.
In the early 1 9th century,
she was a child
when she started to collect fossils
around her home
along the Dorset coast
in southern England.
During her lifetime,
with an amazingly sharp eye,
she found some of the most famous
fossils, Ichthyosaur and Plesiosaur,
exhibited here at the Natural History
Museum of London.
One of the most complete
Plesiosaur skeletons ever found
was Rhomaleosaurus.
This Early Jurassic predator
was a powerful swimmer.
During the Jurassic period,
a new group of marine reptiles
takes over, the Plesiosaurs.
At the beginning of
the Early Jurassic,
Pangea has started to break up
and drift apart into different pieces.
It is still hot, but the climate
is becoming much more humid.
Such conditions are perfectly suited
to the development of life
all over the world.
Now this sure seems more pleasant
than the Triassic did.
The Jurassic is considered
the golden age of dinosaurs, isn't it?
In fact, it's the golden age
of life in general,
and even much more so
for the reptiles,
be they earth,
flying or marine reptiles.
With their four strong paddles,
Plesiosaurs soon become
the new kings of the seas.
The first dinosaur to be named
is Megalosaurus,
which means "great lizard" in Latin.
A well-deserved name
for a 30-foot-long carnivore
with a huge appetite.
Molluscs like ammonites and belemnites
experience an unprecedented growth
and are on the menu
of most marine predators.
By the Late Jurassic,
some animals reach record sizes,
like the Brachiosaurus,
over 1 00 feet long
and can weigh
more than six elephants.
Godzilla. That is the nickname given
to this large marine crocodile
discovered in the Andes.
With large, bony plates on its back,
the Stegosaurus,
a three-ton plant-eater,
is a contemporary
of the very first birds.
At the end of the Jurassic period,
as the continents continue to drift,
new oceans appear and new
Plesiosaur species rule the deep.
The Liopleurodon is most likely
one of the largest ocean predators
of the Mesozoic,
measuring 49 feet or more.
That big?
Here. This is one of its teeth.
It's for you.
Thank you!
You see, the Liopleurodon had
no reason to fear any creature,
save perhaps another Liopleurodon.
Here is a pair of Liopleurodon.
The male is attempting
to court the female.
Look at her - 50 feet of sheer muscle,
four deadly paddle-like limbs,
and jaws about ten feet long
that hold teeth
even bigger than the one l gave you.
During this process,
the male makes himself
extremely vulnerable to the female.
(JULIE) lt seems to have worked.
Now that she's chosen him
as her partner,
the pair needs to head to the safer
coastal waters to reproduce.
Like sharks, the male Liopleurodon
holds on to the female while mating.
Their young will be born
in a few months.
(JULIE) What happened?
It seems that upon separating
she has accidentally injured his eye.
The pain has made him
lose consciousness for a while.
In the end, though,
the Liopleurodon remains
a superpredator that lives alone.
At the end of the Jurassic Era,
its territory spanned
from Europe to South America.
Here we are with Zulma Gasparini,
who discovered the marine crocodile
nicknamed "Godzilla" in the Andes.
People believed for a long time
that the world had always
been the same as it is now.
And it was only in 1 91 5 that Alfred
Wegener, a young German scientist,
put forward a revolutionary theory
he called the "continental drift".
Among the solid arguments that
Wegener used to support his theory,
a tiny marine reptile
that lived 250 million years ago,
the Mesosaurus, was to become
unexpectedly important.
Indeed we have found on both sides
of the Atlantic Ocean
identical fossils of this animal.
But considering the small size
of the Mesosaurus,
like the one we have here
in this virtual aquarium,
it is obvious they were
much too small to cross an ocean
as vast as the Atlantic on their own.
The conclusion is inescapable:
if they did not cross the ocean,
then the very continents
that contained their fossils
must have separated.
The Jurassic was the age
of giant animals.
The Leedsichthys
is approximately 1 00 feet long,
probably the largest fish
of all time.
What are these
long-necked Plesiosaurs called?
Those are Elasmosaurs.
They're gulping down gastroliths,
stones they swallow
in order to help their digestion.
- What do they actually eat?
- Molluscs and a lot of fish,
judging from their long, sharp teeth.
I believe
that's the male Liopleurodon
that was wounded some time back.
(JULIE) Oh, yes.
With one eye missing, it's not easy.
From the deep bite marks
on Elasmosaur bones
made by larger relatives,
it would appear that
other Liopleurodon were luckier.
30 million years later, Kronosaurus
took Liopleurodons' place
at the top of the marine food chain.
Kronosaurus remains
were first discovered
in Australia during the 1 930s.
A 1 3-foot-long skull
with 1 0-foot jaws,
armed with dagger-like teeth.
To tell us more about Plesiosaurs,
here's Dr Benjamin Kear,
an Australian expert
on these animals.
Marine reptiles' remains have been
found on every continent,
particularly those of Plesiosaurs.
Up to 46 feet in length, they were
magnificent ocean-dwelling reptiles
that flew gracefully through the water
with four massive paddles.
The order Plesiosauria
was large and varied.
It has been broadly divided
into two superfamilies,
based on
their overall body structure.
Some of them, thanks to their large
heads and powerful, short necks,
were the superpredators
of their time, like Kronosaurus.
Others were the complete opposite,
with tiny heads
at the end of extra-long necks,
such as Elasmosaurus.
Plesiosaurs lasted as long
as the dinosaurs,
until the end of the Cretaceous,
65 million years ago.
The Late Cretaceous is the very last
period of the Mesozoic Era,
and it is the age of Mosasaurs.
The land masses of the Earth
have nearly reached
their present positions.
The interior seas
of the Americas retreat
but Europe is still partly covered
by shallow waters.
(JULIE) And what about the climate?
Very comparable to the climate
of today, but warmer.
A beautiful day for a dip in the
Cretaceous ocean, don't you think?
As has been the case
for millions of years,
molluscs are still a favorite meal
for most predators.
So, the Plesiosaurs are still around
in the Cretaceous?
Indeed, there are some.
But they are no longer at the top
of the ocean's food chain,
a place now disputed by the two
greatest predators of this era.
In this corner, the largest fish
of the Cretaceous,
a 23-foot-long shark.
And in this corner, the most powerful
marine reptile, the Prognathodon,
a 40-foot Mosasaur.
(JULIE) lt looks just like
a great white of today!
Indeed, just larger.
(JULIE) But the shark is never going
to measure up to that!
We can't be too sure. You see, it has
a distinct edge over its opponent.
The shark doesn't need to come up
to the surface to breathe, so...
Oh, well.
(JULIE) l told you
the Mosasaur was going to win.
This time, yes.
But it wasn't always the case.
We've even found shark teeth
embedded in Mosasaur bones.
So the sharks did get their teeth
into them from time to time.
By the way, wasn't it a Mosasaur
that was found in a mine
back in the 1 8th century?
Here we are, very close to the mine
where the famous "unknown animal
of Maastricht" was found around 1 770.
Like all palaeontologists, Olivier
Rieppel knows this story very well.
In 1 795, when the fossilised Mosasaur
of Maastricht arrived in Paris,
Georges Cuvier was a young,
26-year-old anatomist,
who had just started working there
at the Museum of Natural History.
This skull was the first great fossil
ever to be thoroughly studied
by scientists,
who found it quite difficult
to classify this creature.
But it was Georges Cuvier
who would provide the solution
based on comparative anatomy.
The reptile from the Meuse River,
the Mosasaur,
was a giant sea lizard,
a close relative
of the monitor lizards.
But this species became completely
extinct before the dawn of time.
And so the Mosasaur helped
to support Cuvier's hypothesis
that several universal cataclysms
occurred on Earth
in the distant past.
And thanks in part
to this large animal,
Georges Cuvier is recognised today
as the father of palaeontology.
At the end of the Cretaceous,
the interior seaway running
through the middle of North America
had not yet completely disappeared.
So, there are sharks on the
other side of the Atlantic as well?
In addition to marine reptiles,
they are found in all the oceans.
Contrary to dinosaurs, marine animals
don't have any borders.
These are young, 1 3-foot-long sharks.
After hours of laying her eggs on
the beach, this turtle is exhausted.
(JULIE) Easy prey for starving sharks.
Ah, but they are not alone.
(JULIE) A Mosasaur.
This large predator truly is
the marine equivalent
of the famous T. rex.
The Mosasaur will become
the last ruler of the ancient seas.
This is one of its teeth. It's for you.
"Without fossils,
no one would have ever dreamed
"that there were successive epochs
in the formation of the earth."