top of page

Documentaries with Dinosaurs

Media exposure for the high-profile research that ICAL undertakes includes a recent BBC1 documentary with Sir David Attenborough on 'Dinosaurs: The Final Day' broadcast in April 2022. The ICAL team and Prof. Manning are regularly asked to comment on news stories relating to Earth Sciences by the BBC (radio and television), National Geographic (radio and television) and many other international media. This research-led media work often directly results and assists in the publication of peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals (as evidenced in multiple publications). 

Screenshot 2023-02-26 at 14.54.48.png

BBC Science Unit Production with co-production with Discovery Channel and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a 2 x 1 hour series first transmitted in February 2023. The series follows an international team of scientists studying the 'Jurassic Mile' in the badlands of Wyoming (USA). This square mile section of land has both the terrestrial dinosaur-bearing rocks of the Morrison Formation, but also the marine Sundance Formation succession. 

       Follow the team excavate multiple sauropod dinosaurs and their theropod predator, Allosaurus. More information on the dig can also be found at:

Transmitted in April 2022 on BBC1 (also shown in USA on PBS) 90-min an award winning documentary on the KPg impact research at the University of Manchester. The film is presented by Sir David Attenborough and looks closely at the research of Robert Depalma (PhD student at UoM) on a new KPg impact site in North Dakota (USA). The documentary draws from science published in PNAS (Depalma et al., 2019) and Nature Scientific Reports (Depalma et al., 2021).

BBC Tanis Promo.jpg

Transmitted in June 2015 on National Geographic Channel. Two1-hour documentaries featuring UoM  research and presented by Prof. Manning. 

Dinosaur 13 (Statement Pictures, New York, 2014) is a feature documentary that was on limited release in cinemas worldwide from August 2014. The documentary covers the discovery of the most complete T. rex in 1990 and the ten-year battle between the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American tribes, and competing palaeontologists. The T. rex became a centre for controversy for palaeontologists globally. Prof Manning was an on-screen contributor interviewed for this project (nominated for the Best Documentary Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2014). The film was bought for distribution by CNN and Lionsgate Films. The film won the Emmy for Outstanding Science and Technology Programming at the 36th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards held in New York.


Jurassic CSI (National Geographic Channel, August 2011). Researched, written and presented by Prof Maning, six 1-hour documentaries highlighting advances in palaeontological science being undertaken at the University of Manchester. The series showcased the applied analytical techniques being used by ICAL, but also highlighted the unique research environment and facilities that the University of Manchester offers. The documentary helped fund and document the research that gave rise to several key peer-reviewed publications.

Bizarre Dinosaurs (National Geographic Channel, Oct 2009), one-hour documentary with Prof. Manning as a contributor, talking about my research at the University of Manchester.


Fossil Detectives (BBC2, October-December 2008) & BBC4 (August-October 2008) eight 30 minute programmes in a similar format to the BBC ‘Coast’ series. Prof. Manning co-presented stories on seven of the eight programmes. The series highlighted the geology and palaeontology of the UK and was co-produced by the Open University, ensuring that the educational content was high. Several of the stories in the series incorporated ICAL research on taphonomy and biomechanics at the University of Manchester. 

Dino Autopsy (National Geographic Television, December 9th 2007) 60 minute, National Geographic Channel special, co-producer Channel 4 (transmitted as an Equinox Science Special in Summer and Fall 2008). Prof. Manning was the co-lead scientist (working with Dr Tyler Lyson) on the National Geographic Dinosaur Mummy project that showcased the interdisciplinary research that the ICAL team undertook at Manchester and how they studied this remarkably rare fossil that the team was given access to analyse by the Marmarth Research Foundation (North Dakota). The documentary helped fund the science that gave rise to several peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals.


Transmitted on BBC1 in late August 2005, 60 minute special, where Prof. Manning was a contributor to the documentary showing research being undertaken at the University of Manchester. The documentary helped fund the science that gave rise to several publications in high-impact peer-reviewed journals.

Transmitted on BBC1 (NW Region) in 2004). Prof. Manning presented two 10 minute segments for the BBC North West, one on Triassic deserts the other on Bat Ecology.


Prof. Manning contributed to the BBC flagship science series Horizon, who had gained exclusive access to one of the most important dinosaur sites in the world of palaeontology. Located on a remote plateau in Patagonia, Argentina, scientists believe this incredible dinosaur graveyard could be one of the most significant finds ever. It is from the most crucial and mysterious period of dinosaur evolution - a period scientists call the mid Jurassic. Before the mid Jurassic the dinosaurs were mostly small and not very impressive. By the late Jurassic they had grown to be the biggest creatures ever to walk the Earth. But the period in between, when this spectacular transformation took place, is virtually unknown to science. But now the new site is beginning to fill in the evolutionary black hole at the heart of the story of what made the dinosaurs the amazing creatures which dominated the planet for so long.

bottom of page