Monsters We Met

Monsters We MetThe first humans left their African homeland 100,000 years ago and began an epic journey that was to end with mankind dominating the globe. On their voyages they encountered monster-like creatures and perilous lands that would test their powers of survival to the very limit. In this series we journey with them into an unknown world where no man had set foot before. Each film is a dramatic reconstruction of personal stories of our ancestors’ struggle for survival in a primeval wilderness dominated by formidable predators. A world where man was both hunter and hunted.

While the world was still in the grip of the last ice age, humans first crossed Siberia and entered the New World. They encountered creatures familiar to them from their travels, such as the woolly mammoth and the steppe bison, but also a whole host of new marvels. The Americas was the only continent where humans ever came face to face with sabre-toothed cats, giant ground sloths or the massive short-faced bears. As the climate warmed and the ice melted, all these megafaunal marvels vanished. What or who was responsible for their demise?

Humans travelled out of Africa and reached South-east Asia perhaps as early as 90,000 years ago. Then around 65,000-68,000 years ago a momentous event happened - someone discovered Australia. The ancestors of the Aborigines made a daring sea voyage and set foot on a new and lonely land. Ancient Australia was a land of drought and fire, with a unique fauna dominated by marsupials, reptiles and giant flightless birds. The first Australians shared their home with the two-tonne Diprotodon, the giant short-faced kangaroo and the platypus. Emus and cassowaries were dwarfed by the 'demon duck' Genyornis. Predators like the marsupial lion and the giant ripper lizard, Megalania, stalked the land.

New Zealand was the last major land mass to be discovered and colonised by humans. A mere 850 years ago, Polynesian seafarers arrived in a land with no terrestrial mammals. New Zealand was a land of birds, and its avian rulers were giants: huge herbivorous moas were hunted by Haast's eagle - the largest eagle the world has ever seen. But within the space of only 100-400 years, the eagle, all the moas and over 20 other species of birds were gone. Had mankind become the monster?

Watch the full documentary now (playlist - 2 hours, 35 minutes)

Ratings: 5.61/10 from 23 users.

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38 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Raya

    This was great! Shows many animals now extinct today that are not very often heard about. Some information in this doc I have never come across before. Only slightly repetitive.

    I wonder if eventually zoos will be created full of now extinct animals for public viewing... hey why not make that a Six Flags Extinct World for that matter. Jurassic Park on crack with roller coasters and some fuzzy, feathery things thrown in. Science is only progressing and the technology to make this happen is in the process of being developed. And it seems the corporate world has a profit based plan for each new development humanity makes. A tiny example is Little Miss Mary Jane which, if taken down from a schedule 1 narcotic to a recreational pastime, will be taken over and marketed by the major tobacco companies (and once again the small farmer is erased by big big business :P).

  2. rebelliuss

    part 4 is missing..

  3. rebelliuss

    found it

  4. Capricious

    Good show but damn.. there sure is a whole lot of killing animals in it. Even if it is just fake, I just hate to see that. Couldn't make it past the first portion of series, personally. Truly depresses me that man can be so naive and destructive.

  5. Charles B.

    I'm quite sure we did hunt everything to extinction just like they suppose. How could we have done that? Are we really that stupid? I suppose so. Very short-sighted of us. May God forgive us for raping and pillaging such a lovely planet.

  6. Joshua L

    I hate when i get done with a vid and go to read the comments and it's ppl bringing there own TWISTED views out as reality. I highly doubt we hunted animals to extinction then. What did you think early humans ate, wheat grass and tofu? I don't think they would have been able to properly represent the story of our species without it. Besides ANIMALS ARE DELICIOUS especialy the baby ones. Woops guess i'm gonna say what i belive to. As for god forgiving us, he needs to hope we forgive him. Oh ya I found this vid very entertaining and will probably look more into some of animals. My apologies for venting lol.

  7. citizenX

    Yeah just like all of those hominids from a million years ago and up killed off all of the great fauna of the African contintent. How did these people get to be so self loathing that they blame man for every thing that they see as negative. Gee maybe all of those campfires caused climate change and then the ice age ended and then ......Gag me with a psuedo scientific hyper speculative agenda driven spoon!!!

  8. D-K

    @Charles B:

    Well, they were hunter-gatherers.. It's only natural for them to hunt. If they were agriculturist-gatherers you'd have a point.

    Seeing as you're religious, allow me to quote:
    "Forgive them father, for they know not what they do"

    So I think they're cool with your god.

  9. Eff

    I'm craving a burnt and greasy McMastadon burger and an order of pterodactyl fries...

    Wonder how tasty the carnivores thought humans were? ...without campfire roasting...CHOMP CHOMP!

    Man (Humankind) is good at making things extinct or near-extinct more so by the pleasurable sport of killing it! ie: passenger pigeon, buffalo (and the list continues on to this very day). Screw the wheat me the meat!

    PS: Where might I add, do "creationists" believe they evolved from? Or is it that, their minds are still evolving? Hmmm...? Food for thought... If I was a cannibal
    I would certainly want them to be on the dinner menu....

  10. citizenX

    Raya, just one question; Huh!?.... Try to lay off the 'mary jane' for a day or two, then try again. This time make an attempt to stay with one thought. I'm sure you have something of value to add here, but I'd like to see it a little more accessable to those of us who don't partake.

  11. Anthony

    Well, after suffering through the final series today, the report from me isn't good. Seems to have been a constant theme blaming mankind for wiping all sorts of creatures out of existence. I'm afraid it would take far more evidence than some BBC presenter stating that as fact.

    Nice try but, IMO, a miserable failure at any real ah-ha moments. Aside from that overgrown hawk in New Zealand, that is.

  12. Aaron

    Of course this blames people. The whole point of the series is monsters WE MET. All those creatures that went extinct for other reasons mostly went extinct before we ever met them! And all those creatures that we DIDN'T cause to go extinct are STILL HERE!

    By making a series particularly about those creatures we interacted with but are now extinct, they specifically picked those that we had some direct or indirect cause in their extinction!

    As for the evidence, this series is not only clearly speculative, with the wording in tentative language, it is a pretty reasonable premise and you'd be stupid not to understand that people have arrived places and then changed things.

  13. Aaron

    Ok, actually I wrote that comment before seeing the second half of the last episode! That last bit was over-the-top, simplistic, and inconsistent with the rest of the series. I don't think it was wrong really but the idea of "horror" and such is unfair. I won't get into it more here, but the last part of the last episode really was preachy and didn't fit the series, so I can see why skeptics who don't like that viewpoint would be annoyed especially.

  14. Thewhatnow?

    *possible spoiler alert*

    Did those two tribes undestand eachother?
    I thought theyd never seen eachother before and surely they didnt just all speak some accent of some old language they all shared in africa or something. I mean we all do, but i sure as heck dont understand what a chinese is saying.

  15. R-Tard

    All sorts of errors in it, from start to finish..

    This series (thanks for adding it) sucks, I've been working late and have been laughing my way through it, "Haast's Eagle" hunting adult humans... this eagle actually wasn't that much bigger than species alive today - weighed around 12 KG and attacked ground dwelling birds, there's no evidence of it hunting humans and no evidence that it would have succeeded had it done so - in the film it's portrayed as being VASTLY larger than it actually was (like 3 times larger). That's one of the many factual errors this stupid pile of mediocre CG animation masquerading as a series contains, what this "documentary" seems to be is not really any anthropological examination of ancient migrating humans, but an excuse to combine fairly unconvincing CG with a lot of camera-shake and pass it off as informative, in terms of interesting or factual content it has next to nil and given this entire excuse for a documentary is justified by the CGI you'd think they'd at least get that right, what you have is a bunch of awkward looking models that can't do any of the difficult bits (running, jumping etc) so you just get the same "dramatic camera shake" each time..

    Really poor stuff : ( Like "walking with beasts" and all the other "ooh we have cheap CGI now" "documentaries" that have nil content.

    But seriously, look up the Eagle scene, it says it all..

  16. Bambi L'Amour

    This isn't blaming humans for wiping out EVERYTHING.. the clue is in the title, "Monsters we MET".. it's true we did wipe out the sabre tooths etc, alot of the time it was us or them, and *spoiler alert* as the final section of the last episode said, we learned to live in harmony with nature for around 1200 years before explorers from the west showed up and Pwned life.

  17. Layish999

    I never discuss religion or evolution with those unfamiliar with the technical, academic, scientific terminology of either.

  18. Moses Mucheni

    i was expecting to see the saber tooth do its stuff esp wen it ws sneaking onn the quarters there, but all was to my disapointment

  19. W.K. 24

    Well, we have no direct evidence of Haast's Eagle killing humans.

    However, we have Maori oral tradition of a monster bird called Poukai that killed humans. Keep in mind that Maori tradition is pretty trustworthy most of the time. By the 19th century the Maori already openly stated that the Poukai was not seen for generations.

    As for the Haast eage being too small to kill humans, we have records of Haliaeetus pelagicus attacking children in kamchatka and it is significantly smaller than Haast's eagle.

    So while we can't be sure wether or not it attacked humans, we have some evidence to at least consider it possible.

    As for blaming humans - New Zealand moas went extinct as a result of hunting, no natural history specialist questions that.
    About pleistocene extinctions however, the issue is more murky and the "human overhunting" is just one of the theories and this series didn't really present the other ones and give them justice.

    Especially the 1st episode had some pretty weird dating issues. If this is 13 000 years ago and prey is already becoming scare, then why did that ground sloth was still "naive" and not afriad of humans? By 13 000 ya all the fauna would be accustomed and afraid of humans. Even if you consider the "clovis first" theory, then you would have humans living for some 600 years in that area already. If you consider other theories, that would be an even longer time.

    On a positive side, they do mention some less-well-known elements of clovis culture, like using red ochre in caches. So they get some bonus points for that. I also think that the animation was pretty convincing and the animal movements were convincing (sloth especially).


    I believe if the giant eagles were kiling those huge birds it would have no problem snatching up a adult and flying on its way... Those damn polynesians destroying lands and animals only to be conquered by europeans,, ahhhh so sad, Well not really. Like the animals that weren't smart or adaptive enough to make it so dies the lesser of human peoples such as the polynesians

  21. Timothy Bromwich

    Your comment about Polynesians being "the lesser of human peoples" is as ignorant as it is offensive. Polynesians still live in Polynesia and Aotearoa (New Zealand). To say they "weren't smart or adaptive enough" shows a lack of understanding about these people, their culture and history. The European culture's ability to dominate other cultures is because of technological advantages. Europeans were only able to develop their technological advantages because of their geography, not genetic superiority.

  22. Daniel Lundstrom

    You Sir are an *****, the only reason Europeans even had the technology to do any of their conquering was cause their ever growing need to wage wars amongst themselves in order to take from others what their greed dictated they were entitled to. This ranges from land, technology, resources(which they almost depleted until crossing the oceans) and even other people. So don't think cause ur indoctorines in western ignorce is the end-all be all to what the facts really are. Know your history before you state backward ideology. Eat a potato you Mc-bug b***ard, er wait,..even those came from Across the ocean.

  23. SW6TahiRua

    You (Gabriel Mckinley) are seriously out of line and misinformed stating such utter rubbish on a public forum such as you have. I am from New Zealand and therefore grew privilidged and up in admiration of the Maori culture. Which, just to let you know, is alive and kicking. It shows extraordinary ignorance and a lack of intelligence to suggest that the Maori, or any of the multitude of Polynesian island civilisations be "lesser of human peoples". It is in fact hilarious you say this. I'm not offended so please don't apologise. Just know that people like you are NEVER welcome in New Zealand. Also, the europeans(British) NEVER conquered the Maori of New Zealand, and your ridiculous assumption that they had or have, is wildly innaccurate. You are a st*pid i****.
    Aside from your irrelevant posting,
    In New Zealand, it is widely accepted that the Haast's Eagle, while alive was driven to targeting Maori as a food source. Many oral traditions explain this. The method of preying for this terrifying Eagle was to strike and kill on the ground. It is innaccurate to assume the bird flew with prey in its talons. Any depiction in this in the series in wrong. It would have swooped and struck, killing with its talons, and then would have eaten at the site of killing. There is only one vague report of British contact with the Haast's Eagle, which some consider the last human interaction/sighting of the bird..... Two British colonial explorers claimed to have shot and eaten an enormous pair of Eagles, that "Attacked" them in the high lands of the South Island.
    Consider when thinking of this bird, that New Zealand was inhabited ONLY by birds (apart from of course insects and two small Bat species) until Humans arrived, and therefore this Eagle was the APEX Predator and everything was on the menu.... Humans were not excluded.

  24. Jarrod Armstrong

    once again the white man is the source of all chaos, rape, destruction and extinction. The white man will continue his cruelty to land, sea and air, why? Because he is THE WHITE MAN!!

  25. Mike Leone

    Oh shut the hell up

  26. Teresa Schlenz

    Hahahaha, you're so typical it cracks me up. You're like a living punch-line. I hope you never stop being such a bigoted loser. It just makes my day.

  27. Donald Edward Goodman

    I'm sure Mike is referring to Teresa

  28. Donald Edward Goodman

    People like you are never welcome? Were YOU born there? Whether you were or not, I always "thought" Newzelanders were nice, polite, loving people. Thank you for showing me I was wrong

  29. Donald Edward Goodman

    EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY, knows "potatoes" come from IDAHO, you buttwipe!

  30. Rajnish Duara

    I agree with you. But was the man who came out of Africa white? Or were the Mesopotemians white? Or for that matter the Egyptians? Colour has changed due to migration and genetic changes according to the modern theory. Still somebody may come out with a new theory after 100 years!!! Let's not blame colour.

  31. Rajnish Duara

    Technological advances may be genetic related, some part of brain may act in a different way in different cultures and civilizations. The Pyramids were not built by Europeans. But Industrial revolution was by Europeans. Different time frames, different civilizations. They say, Neanderthals had better tools and well organized societies, but still they were overpowered by Cro Magnons!! Neither there is Neanderthal blood amongst Germans or Aryans (the pure Iranians and some Kashmiris) which can be hypothesized for german technical superiority!

  32. André Neves


  33. Carl Hendershot

    A world without idiots would be as boring as one without black or white. Thank you for the laugh of the day.

  34. Carl Hendershot

    Black is non-colour. Colour is wavelengths of light and black is the result when no lightwaves are emitted or reflected. When you add black to a saturated colour in a subtractive palette(CMYK), or subtract white from an additive palette(RGB), you are creating a shade of that colour. Do the same with grey (desaturating), you create a tone. Do it with white, you create a tint.
    - - - -
    Black and white are not colors. The word "tone" simply means you have very dark black; charcoal black; gray/black and white comes in different shades as well. Without black and white there would be no depth to colors.
    - - - -
    It really depends on what kind of color you are talking about.
    When it comes to pigments, the color black comes from a mixture of all the colors. Therefore, yes, it is a color, it's all of the colors. But to really understand how that works exactly, one must understand the basics of the light spectrum.

    The light spectrum however is the opposite. White light is all the colors of the visible spectrum where as "black light" (no such thing, in this context, exists) commonly known as darkness, is the lack of all colors. If something is, say, green, this object will absorb all colors of light and reflect the green part of the spectrum. We thus perceive the object as being green. The brightness or darkness of these colors depends upon the objects ability to reflect and absorb whatever color.

    Light - White is all the colors, black is none of them (darkness)
    Paint - White is none of the colors, black is a mixture of them all.
    - - - -
    Black is a Color. Black absorbs all frequencies of light in the visible spectrum producing the color black. The black object does not emit or reflect light.

    Black is a Shade. Although Black is primarily considered a color, Black can also be part of the Achromatic color sets - Grey, (or Gray) is a range of tints and shades ranging from Black to White.

    - - - - -

    Black is not a shade. Shades are different intensities of colors that can vary, and you can't have pale black or dark white.

    Whether black is a color or not is debatable and depends on where you are coming from. In scientific terms, black and white are not colors. White is a mix of all colors and black is the absence of all colors in terms of light mixing. Colors in this context are different wavelengths of light that stimulate our eyes in different ways.

    On the other hand, if you are coming from the direction of paint-pots, then black and white are colors. Here, colors are the different things you splodge on a surface, and you don't have colorless paint.

    Basically, the issue comes down to being a scientist or an ordinary person. The scientific terms are correct in scientific contexts. The ordinary terms are correct in ordinary contexts.

  35. Carl Hendershot

    Do you see that tiny little arrow pointing to Jarrod. o.O lol

  36. bringmeredwine

    I tried to watch the whole thing but the doc appeared very blurry, especially on the full screen; so I had to watch it in the tiny version which started giving me eye strain.
    Too bad, because I found this very interesting.

  37. Nikita Kade

    Aw, for the love of Diversity--how did this film forum become home to Bigots-R-Us? Did anyone except bringmeredwine bother to comment on the doc itself? Sadly, I have to agree with bring: the subject matter was fascinating, but the computer-graphics portions of the film were impossibly pixilated and blurry. This is also the first doc I've watched here that was constantly--and I do mean constantly, as in every four minutes--interrupted by ads. I had to give up after a half hour or so; if I wanted to watch TV (and be subjected to commercials), I wouldn't be here. A shame, because the film really was gripping, and I would have loved to see it all.

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