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Lost Worlds Vanished Lives

4.8 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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  • Region: All Regions
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005WJOG4U

Product Description

Four forty minute programmes which bring to life the world of fossils with the use of computer graphics, animations, model work and time lapse techniques. Titles include: 'Magic On The Rocks', 'Putting Flesh On Bone', 'Dinosaur' and 'The Rare Glimpses'.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: DVD
There are four episodes, each a delight:
1) "Magic in the Rocks", looks at the types of rocks where fossils can be found, from limestone, mudstone and sandstone to coal and amber. We travel from the Dorset coast to a quarry in Leicestershire then across the world to the Dominican Republic and Arizona and back to Glasgow and Edinburgh. We visit mines, petrified forests and swamps and laboratories where fossils are being extracted from their stony matrix, X rayed, cat scanned and manipulated in 3D computer cross-sections.
2) "Putting Flesh on Bone", explores what the animals looked like and how they behaved when they were alive. Some of the fossils are preserved in remarkable detail so that you can see the outlines of their flesh and the contents of their stomachs. Fur is clearly visible around a pterosaur fossil and the large breastbone suggests substantial flight muscles allowing powerful flight rather than just gliding. We visit the Smithsonian Institute where they have made a half-sized pterosaur model (large full-sized fossils can range from 35 to 50 feet wing-spans) to try to work out how the real giants of the air could fly.
3) "Dinosaur", provides the most familiar information. Dinosaurs have been 'done to death' by, seemingly, dozens of speculative and factual documentaries since David made this. But even if this episode is full of facts that have become familiar to us, it's better presented than most and still interesting.
4) "The Rare Glimpses", examines areas of the fossil record where information is sparse. We visit The Burgess Shales in British Columbia, Canada where there's a rare deposit of soft-bodied animals, the sort that don't usually fossilize. The animals of The Burgess Shale are beautiful, unlikely and bizarre.
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A neglected Attenborough work, but perhaps his most passionate. The astonishing world of fossil creatures is presented without apology, with intellect, and poetry. From snakes petrified by a Yorkshire saint to the 'one small death' of a horsheshoe crab, buried with its footprints a hundred and forty million years ago, no attention is paid to anything but the subject, and no second of your time is wasted. When Attenborough grasps an ammonite and exclaims "oh, that's beautiful!" you're not watching some flourescent airhead (or pretended airhead) gurning at the camera and yelling "WOWWW! What IS it!?!". Nor are you watching Alan Titchmarsh eat scones in a field. No, this is the real thing, the honest communication of a real thought by a mind that knows what it it seeing to a mind capable of seeing it too - yours. Four episodes to rank with 'Life on Earth'.
The polystyrene-rock title sequence and some Jaws-like music add an unintentional period touch.
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I remember watching this when it first came on tv, I still have my VHS recordings of it! For me it is his best ever series, but then maybe that's because I'm slightly more interested in the subject than anything else he's done since. That isn't to say he's not an inspiration and a real British gem, because he is. No-one has done more in the field of making the public aware of nature and the issues facing it than David. He's a jewel in our crown. He should be knighted, if he hasn't been already!

The most memorable moment for me comes in the first episode, "Magic in the Rocks", I think, where he's fossil hunting with an expert on the coast of England. They find a rock and he hits it with the hammer and chisel, to reveal a most wonderfully preserved amonite fossil inside, to which David gasps "Oh gosh! That's beautiful!". Still gives me goose-pimples just remembering that scene. For that moment among many, you should get this DVD. "Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives", is a crowning achievement in David's portfolio; it's a shame it has disappeared more or less into obscurity. Fortunately DVD has saved it from fossilation itself, giving new generations the chance to enjoy it again!

For adults and children alike, for entertainment value and education, "Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives" is a real gem.
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I was trawling through the site looking for an alternative to the childrens seemingly interminable video games/tv scene..looking for something else in the same medium which might spark off an interest and a desire to explore and investigate further. On coming across this presentation by David Attenborough my only doubt was whether it would appeal to a 7 year old. On reading the two excellent and very true reviews below, I decided to take the chance and have been amazed at the response. Not only was he enthralled by it but could talk of nothing else afterwards and begged to be taken to see fossils. We have now been to an area where fossils are plentiful and next week are on our way to the museum to learn further. This has sparked a desire to know more - not only about fossils but about geology in general and how our earth was formed, which has led to us obtaining an excellent booklet on our area from the geological society. He is now also busy doing a project for one of his beaver badges using his new found knowledge. It has proved to be an inspirational DVD which has precipitated a learning curve for all the family. Thankyou to a master teacher.
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