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Flying Monsters

2011 ,    »  -   54 Comments
Ratings: 6.13/10 from 16 users.

Flying MonstersTwo hundred million years ago there was an extraordinary development in the history of life: an ancient group of reptiles made a giant evolutionary leap into the skies.

In this groundbreaking, BAFTA winning, documentary, David Attenborough travels back in time to discover how and why these creatures took flight, and why after 150 million years of aerial domination they vanished.

Using state of the art CGI, and based on new finds and the latest research, Flying Monsters recreates these spectacular creatures and takes us into their world. Beginning on Dorset's Jurassic Coast, David’s journey takes him to sites around the world, from Southern France to New Mexico.

With the help of a team of scientists he unravels one of palaeontology’s enduring mysteries, how did lizards the size of giraffes defy gravity and soar through prehistoric skies? Driven by the information he finds as he attempts to answer these questions, Attenborough finds that the marvel of pterosaur flight has evolutionary echoes that resonate even today.

This visually stunning film sees Attenborough break new ground in a career that has spanned six decades, offering a unique insight into the ancient world of the pterosaur – a truly remarkable creature that paved the way for every single species of bird on the planet.

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54 Comments / User Reviews

    Ben Jenkins
  1. Ben Jenkins

    An absolutely wonderful doc, A must see

  2. Cara Ooi
  3. Cara Ooi

    Beautiful documentary, and the narration is fantastic!

  4. Abhiroop Sharma
  5. Abhiroop Sharma

    God Bless the BBC

  6. tariqxl
  7. tariqxl

    My nephew is really into dinosaurs hes very smart too. I've explained the basics of evolution and he seems to grasp it at the age of 5. The cool thing is he came up with an explanation of why the creature 43mins through had the weird rudder shaped head. He thinks rather than it being a sensor, it really is a rudder... he figured if it turned its head it would be thrown off course... I'm no expert but I buy that, why have a giant ear lobe thats gonna make your flight potentially tricky.

  8. Guest
  9. Guest

    I love flying monsters.

  10. Tanzanos Eleytheros
  11. Tanzanos Eleytheros

    God bless Attenborough!!!!

  12. thenesteamonster
  13. thenesteamonster

    how come dimorphodon (the first pterosaur in the doc) has its tail separated, above, from the flight membrane? that could cause some problems

  14. Irishkev
  15. Irishkev

    That's it David Attenborough, show'em how it's done.

  16. Sieben Stern
  17. Sieben Stern

    Awesome docu, as expected :3 BUT Just as a heads up - Attenborough is an agnostic atheist.

    With all the god blessing comments i felt the urge to look this up, and it said...

    In a BBC Four interview with Mark Lawson, Attenborough was asked if he at any time had any religious faith. He replied simply, "No." He has also said "It never really occurred to me to believe in God". - Quote from the Wiki article on him.

    His views on the concept of man dominating the environment as stated in Genesis are amazingly insightful and need to be read and understood. SO I feel that saying 'god bless' to a naturalist who thinks the bible is the cause of the destruction in the places he keeps so dear to his heats are callous and self serving remarks.

  18. Brian Betty Jean Snyder
  19. Brian Betty Jean Snyder

    Awesome Doc as always with David

  20. drinker69
  21. drinker69

    One day I'd like to sit down in a pub with Mr. Attenborough somewhere in the countryside, buy him lunch and then get seriously s**tfaced with him to the point where he's staggering to the parking lot. Then sir, you will have my total respect.

  22. Mário Silvério
  23. Mário Silvério

    I wish this man could live for ever, i can only hope for someone to be growing at this moment to be the next big Attenborough.

    What a marvelous doc, keep the good work, bringing us more docs like this one.

    Highly recommend.

  24. anuragawasthi
  25. anuragawasthi

    Seems it is better to use Devolution(de-evolution) instead to Evolution to understand the nature

  26. wald0
  27. wald0

    "With all the god blessing comments i felt the urge to look this up..."

    1st of all only one person used the phrase "god bless" and, they were referring to the BBC not Attenborough. 2nd, trust me when I say that the vast majority of people on this site already knew he was an atheist, which doesn't have a single thing to do with this documentary by the way. 3rd, how can some one be agnostic and atheist at the same time? He is simlpy an atheist, not agnostic which means undecided.

  28. John Lawless
  29. John Lawless

    Excellent. Has David ever made a bad doc. Well worth saving to watch again.

  30. Sieben Stern
  31. Sieben Stern

    actually Tanzanos Eleytheros said GB attenborough too, the comment is a few above this one. I think it is important to say because if you hold someone dear, you respect their beliefs.
    and what does saying gb him have to do with the docu either?

    do a wiki / google search on agnostic atheism and find out what I'm talking about before telling me it doesn't exist...
    "Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who does believe that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known."

  32. thenesteamonster
  33. thenesteamonster

    i saw a few other docs by attenborough and i say he made improvements with this one; he realized people don't like watching old people digging in dirt for hpurs and hours, after all the docs aren't about the life of elderly zoologists, geologists or archaeologists

  34. thenesteamonster
  35. thenesteamonster

    and you would probably encourage him to drive while drunk, hoping he will become a fossil in a car underneath 10m of soil

  36. Mantid
  37. Mantid

    I haven't watched a documentary by David that just shows old people digging in the dirt for ''hpurs.''

  38. zeta_tucanae
  39. zeta_tucanae

    Stop bringing religion into every science documentary on here! Completely irrelevant.

  40. drinker69
  41. drinker69

    No way he has to drive himself anywhere. Its a well known fact D.A travels with at least 2 smokin hot interns at all times for just such occasions. He schools those biches on origins of life and when we sprouted legs, they in turn drive him home when he's wasted. Fair is fair.

  42. signalfire1
  43. signalfire1

    This was exquisitely extraordinary. Kudos to all involved in its production!

  44. Elenor ??
  45. Elenor ??

    good job! =)

  46. Jack1952
  47. Jack1952

    These individuals were expressing gratitude and best wishes in a way that may be deeply important to them. Accept those thoughts in the spirit they are given. For my perspective it would be ill-mannered and in-gracious of me to snub someone who expresses their appreciation of my efforts because this appreciation upsets my atheistic sensibilities. If atheism is to be a more peaceful way of life we should show ourselves to be more tolerant than our religious counterparts.

  48. thenesteamonster
  49. thenesteamonster

    i tend to agree with you about attenborough's interns, he seems to think very highly of himself (and others do too) given that he appears so often in his docs, hell i even suspect him of thinking he's the main character

  50. Jeff Bezaire
  51. Jeff Bezaire

    Atheism is far from peaceful to its religious counterparts. It seems to be one in the same and it is a belief of someone else's. As soon as you try to define It, In, I you are false as the nature is in constant change and therefore can never be defined by a past term, where it only exists in the present.

  52. Jeff Bezaire
  53. Jeff Bezaire

    The same could be said for science in religion for thousands of years. One day you too will see that religion and science is the same, you just look at the point horizontally instead of vertically. Many choose to see both.

    Good Day.

  54. rljp
  55. rljp

    like religion denying the earth was round? or religion denying the earth revolved around the sun. etc etc etc. Or in present day that homosexuality is a choice and not a disease or demonic state. You mean religion and science joined like that?

    You mean like the earth was formed in 7 days? And makes no mention of the fosil history scattered around the earth so the leading religious zelots say that god placed them there to mystify us?

    There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all the beaches on the planet and some creator is in control of it all?

    Physics and science is all we need to know. Not some book that continues to be proven wrong and societies evolution around religion taking what makes sense from the book of fairy tales and discarding the rest to suit their needs or to adapt to where society has grown to.

    Good Day also

  56. Jack1952
  57. Jack1952

    Science and religion are not the same. All scientific principles require evidence. Religious ideas require faith and evidence is not needed. If I have a religious belief it is true because I believe it to be true. It does not have to be logical or verifiable. I only have to believe it to be so and you can't tell me I'm wrong because I'm not.

  58. wald0
  59. wald0

    I've been busy with school since the semester started back, but I finally got to watch this today. One of the best documentaries Attenborough has done imo, and that is saying alot. The scenery was absolutely breath taking at times, I mean the back drop while Attenborough was talking with certain people, not the cg stuff. The cg stuff was amazing as well though. It was very informative and entertaining, I never knew those oversized flying chicken lookin' things in Avatar really existed at one time. I knew of flying dinos, but I had only heard of pterodactyl. They had some really wild looking ones in this doc. I had no idea there were so many and, that they dominated the skies for so long. Earth has been at times such an alien planet it is hard to concieve it- three foot long dragon flies, seven foot tall walking birds that kill everything they come across, flyin chiken looking things the size of planes, countless odd looking giant sea creatures, ...

    It reads like some crazy wonderful fiction, its so colorful and imaginative. Its really a testament to the creative influence of natural selection. Evolution has got to be the most beautiful, suspenseful, and dynamic process in the universe.

  60. batvette
  61. batvette

    Let's not forget that SCIENCE once held a consensus that the world was flat and the sun and stars revolved around the earth.
    Not arguing the side of religion, mind you, just don't like to see anyone getting carried away that science is pure fact. It is merely what is accepted as fact based upon the knowledge the scientific community has in front of them at the time, and agree upon.
    It's interesting to note that while science and evolution proponents rightfully ridicule new earth creationism, most theists fail to point this out to them:
    The transition in the theory of evolution, from chemical to organic life, has quite a few leaps and bounds of faith of its own.
    The big bang theory, holding that "**** just happened" can not discount the theory that possibly "God made **** happen!". This could make God nothing more than the atomic bomb from hell, for that matter. It may be a being which exists on a plane we cannot comprehend. One thing we can verify is that all we know of this God as alleged by religion is fabricated out of thin air by other mortals.
    I will add on atheism though, if theists are all that crazy and misguided, how wise is it really to seek to destroy the one thing keeping them busy and off the streets at night, so to say?
    (I'm agnostic, not looking to piss off the big guy but haven't seen evidence he exists yet- if he does I doubt he wants people using his name to sell their BS religions)

  62. Icculus574
  63. Icculus574

    While I think that the overall point of "We should always remember to be humble." that you're making is generally true, I do take issue with a couple things you've said.

    Science never held a consensus that the world was flat or that the Earth was the center of the universe. That's because, while aspects of the scientific method have been used since the ancient Greeks, the modern notion of the scientific method really started with Al-Haytham and really came into Western culture with Isaac Newton. While Al-Haytham did seem to agree with geocentrism, he was the first to start picking apart the notion. The knowledge that the Earth was not flat had been known for quite some time by that point. It's a common misconception that people in the 15th century thought the world was flat. They just didn't think Columbus could make the voyage across the ocean with the supplies he had. They also knew the size of the Earth and really, they were right. He'd have failed horribly if not for North America existing.

    Second, abiogenesis is not part evolutionary theory. Evolution actually states nothing about the initial creation of life, just how it progressed after the first organism formed.

    Concerning the Big Bang Theory, while we may never know what happened before the universe came into existence (or even if that question can fundamentally make sense), there is very compelling evidence and mathematical models to suggest scenarios which are plausible. Probably the easiest, but not necessarily correct, explanation is that 'nothing' is inherently unstable. What we've found through experiments is that whenever 'nothing' exists, something is created through quantum mechanics. The reasons behind it are quite complex and too long to go into in a post, but there are plenty of resources on the matter if you wish to know more. That idea is further supported by the fact that, as far as our best measurements are concerned, the universe actually has a perfect balance of negative and positive energy which cancels out to zero.

    I think ultimately what it often comes down to is a misunderstanding about what science, as a tool, can do. Science never proves anything true; By the very nature of the scientific method, that's impossible. Science exists to prove things false. The ultimate goal is to try and gain a clearer understanding of the world around us by reining in the preconceptions and assumptions that our minds impose upon us.

  64. Jose Periut
  65. Jose Periut

    scientist always had to believe in god or they would be burned alive, thhhhhh

  66. rljp
  67. rljp

    the transition in the theory of evolutionfrom chemical to organic life has no leap of faith. It has a couple billion years in the making.

    That is what many do not understand. What is capable when we leave nature to things over a few hundred million years.

    You come from a place of this whole 7 day thing? The book of your history goes back what 4500 years? Well some of us do not doubt what can happen in the universe over hundreds of millions and then billions of years. There is no faith involved only time and lots of it.

    Keeping me off the streets? get real.

  68. tomregit
  69. tomregit

    That is a concise, and I believe, accurate description of what we can hope to understand based on the scientific method. (Our best hope of teasing out nature's mysteries.) I'm not sure about negative and positive energy. Do you mean negative and positive matter? There must be more "positive" matter or there would be nothing. However, on the whole, well said.
    EDIT: Oh yeah, almost forgot, a pretty good documentary. Another feather in Attenborough's cap.

  70. batvette
  71. batvette

    It looks as if you've not only gotten MY position wrong, but assumed I would get YOUR position wrong before I even knew you'd be replying to me. Splendid.
    I am not a creationist. I'm pretty sure that last passage of my post should have made this clear.
    You are not the type I was referring to about being kept off the streets unless you are a bible thumper.

  72. batvette
  73. batvette

    Thank you for your wisdom and insight. I might add to your correct history about the scientific method, the basis of the philosophy was considered to date back all the way to Aristotle.
    The gist of my point was that scientific consensus does change over time, often drastically, and we may think we have all (relatively) the answers now, wait a few hundred years and we'll be looked at like cavemen.

  74. rljp
  75. rljp

    its up to the message sender to be understood. Maybe my comprehension problem as well but you seem to be vague.

    Anyone want to tell me that gentic links to traits is not pure science? Or are we still trying to figure out that certain genes give people certain diseases etc? The Law of gravity is still a mysterious science or is it a fact? And the world of science did indeed believe the world was flat for fear of persecution and death based on what the religous zealots of the time wanted to believe.

  76. Icculus574
  77. Icculus574

    Oh I absolutely agree with that! I apologize if my post made it sound as if I didn't think consensus changed over time. That's the beauty of science. Yes, people may be fallible and egos sometimes do get in the way, but the scientific method ultimately prevails in such disputes and the scientific community as a whole moves on to accept even the most drastic changes. I don't mean to say that science is a god to be worshiped, simply that it is an incredibly powerful tool.

    I have no doubt that if we manage to survive over the next hundred years, our generation will almost certainly be seen as incredibly primitive in almost every respect from our societal views to our scientific theories. However, I doubt that, at least on the latter, that it will be held against us. We stand on the shoulders of giants and future generations will stand upon our best ideas too.

    To avoid a double post:
    In regards to tomregit's reply, I did mean positive and negative energy and not matter. Gravity is considered negative energy. That being said, the reason why I put a disclaimer in the original post is that until there's a unified theory between gravity and quantum mechanics, we can't really begin to think about moving beyond the hypothesis stage.

  78. Jack1952
  79. Jack1952

    If you mean that science is in constant change then you are wrong. Our views of science may change but the laws of science are immutable. The human race is in a learning process in its understanding of how the universe works and is therefore prone to error. That human understanding of science and the actual laws of science are two separate things.

  80. Jack1952
  81. Jack1952

    I have yet to see a production involving David Attenborough that wasn't first class. Love everyone of them. Thanks TDF.

  82. Robert159
  83. Robert159

    now thats sick

  84. Dave-tox Lampert
  85. Dave-tox Lampert

    I would have to disagree with you there, first on semantic grounds and also in the substance of which you speak. Semantically, the word 'science' is a kind of perspective that WE take. It is a human endeavor, or more strictly, it is an endeavor of conscious minds, and can only exist there.

    The world does not function according to the laws of SCIENCE. If the world functions according to laws, these are the laws of NATURE which science attempts to apprehend. Science is a method and a worldview. A hint to the correct use of the word might be gained by thinking of words that include the '-science' root, e.g., 'conscience', 'omniscience'.

    Secondly, if our understanding of the world does keep on changing, then what makes you so confident that the laws are immutable. There has not been one thing we have found in science for which exceptions have not been found, and that, even as we only observed a tiny fraction of the phenomena that are out there. What proof do you have that everything is according to immutable laws?

  86. thenesteamonster
  87. thenesteamonster

    i thought this is a documentary about pterosaurs but i see i missed some important stuff after reading the past comments;
    OH now i get it: it's about showing how much you can write about nothing just to prove you are smart; leave your balls aside people, this is a scientific documentary not a bar for pedantic bs

  88. Jack1952
  89. Jack1952

    The laws of science, the physical laws, are immutable. We believe this to be true because there has never been an exception found to those laws. No exceptions...ever. That is what makes it a law. All of our machinery, gadgets, whatsits and so forth operate because of the immutability of those laws. That is my proof. I cannot comment on the phenomena that we have not observed or studied because it is only speculative...except to say that through the experience of past scientific endeavors those laws will almost certainly hold up no matter what we discover.

  90. tomregit
  91. tomregit

    I noticed your reply to me inside another reply, so I failed to see it earlier. This may just be semantics or a different way of looking at it, but here goes.
    Gravity is a force, not energy. There is gravitational potential energy available from matter in a gravitational field that might be construed as negative energy, if it has taken positive energy to place the matter in that position. However, in this sense gravity is not energy.
    I am unfamiliar with any theory which unifies quantum mechanics and gravity. That is pretty much the holy grail of modern physics.

    I am not trying to be argumentative. I simply don't understand the way you have explained this idea.

  92. tomregit
  93. tomregit

    I have enjoyed our brief discourse and I appreciate your clarification.

  94. Danial Gorham
  95. Danial Gorham

    all science is theory. working theories such as gravity and electricity work. but are by no means perfect or completely understood.

  96. bruce thomas
  97. bruce thomas

    "pedantic" awesome choice of words! And i havent even seen the doc yet! "Pedantic" Wow, is almost like a code word.,

  98. xplisit
  99. xplisit

    Scientific theories are just that, theories. People don't wave scientific theories around claiming them to be 100% true without a doubt. However, if you do not have 100% faith that God is real and accept him as your savior, then you go to hell. That's two huge differences. Science admits when they are unsure. Religion forces you to have faith and requires no evidence whatsoever.

  100. xplisit
  101. xplisit

    Since when are religious nuts out in the streets at night. Every comment I read from you makes you seem less and less equipped to be speaking on such matters.

  102. batvette
  103. batvette

    This comment:

    " if you do not have 100% faith that God is real and accept him as your savior, then you go to hell. That's two huge differences. Science admits when they are unsure. Religion forces you to have faith and requires no evidence whatsoever."

    Is empirical evidence that further discussion with you is a complete waste of bandwidth and brain cells.

  104. batvette
  105. batvette

    after reading my comment I cannot fathom what my actual point was either.

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