OUR FILMS
Rise of the Mammals Poster

The course of life on Earth changed radically on a single day 66 million years ago. An asteroid blasted our planet, causing the extinction of up to three quarters of all plant and animal species. The impact ended the Age of Dinosaurs and launched our age, the Age of Mammals. But our understanding of the asteroid's aftermath has been spotty. Who survived? How quickly did mammals and their habitats spring back? How did our planet recover from this global cataclysm?

Now a remarkable finda trove of exceptionally preserved fossils from the critical first million years after the catastropheshines a revelatory light on what followed Earth's darkest hour. With exclusive access, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios has been filming the discovery since the first thrilling moments of the initial find in 2016.

Providing a rare record that combines plants, animals, and precise datesa paleontological trifectathe discovery paints a vivid portrait of the emergence of a brand-new world. Thanks to the vision, grit, and luck of the scientific team, we are gaining our first clear understanding of how our modern world of mammals arose from the ashes. 

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"An absolute treasure trove of rare fossils has been uncovered in central Colorado. The collection reveals the stunning speed at which mammals emerged and diversified once the dinosaurs were gone."

George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

"Corral Bluffs is essentially a flood plain where sediment built up for a million years, preserving a time capsule of both the environment and the life that thrived there."

Ashley Strickland, CNN

"Where the film shines—and offers something rare—are the moments when the process of science is allowed to unfold, revealing how experts assemble views of lost worlds."

Valerie Thompson, Science

Credits

A NOVA Production by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios for WGBH Boston.

WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Geoff Luck
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
John Rubin, Sean B. Carroll
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS, NOVA
Julia Cort, Chris Schmidt
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Hossam Aboul-Magd
FILM EDITORS
Salvatore Vecchio, Penny Trams
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION
Heather Forbes
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS
Jaelyn J. Eberle, Bonnie Jacobs