French factual producer Pernel Media has secured exclusive access to a Cambridge University archaeological team for new documentary Rise Of The Birds.
The two-hour film will meet Professor Daniel Fields and his team, whose 2020 discovery, of the oldest fossil of a modern bird yet found, shook up the world of palaeontology.
Hailed as the ‘missing link’ between dinosaurs and modern birds, the fossil, affectionately nicknamed the ‘Wonderchicken’, includes a nearly complete skull and dates from less than one million years before the asteroid impact which eliminated all large dinosaurs.
Pernel Media has secured access to Professor Fields and his team’s discovery and more recent studies to tell the story of the evolution of birds on our planet.
Rise Of The Birds will be shot in various locations around the world including the Hell Creek Formation in the USA, where an enormous amount of fossils have been found including primitive birds from before the asteroid strike, and Denmark, where giant birds were neighbours of our Homo Erectus ancestors.
The film will reveal some of the great mysteries of birds, such as how were they the only dinosaurs to survive the Cretaceous extinction and how did the ancestors of birds develop such spectacular skills like flying.
“The Wonderchicken is the missing link between a T Rex and a pigeon,” said Céline Payot Lehmann, executive producer for Pernel Media.
“It’s a game changing discovery that will allow us to explain how birds survived the asteroid 66 million years ago, and how they evolved to become this incredibly diverse species with over 12,000 types of different shapes, size and colour.”
Pernel Media is also behind titles including Asteroid Survivors for France Televisions, The Real War Of Thrones: A History Of Europe for France 5 and Sky History, The Lost City Of Ramses The Great for France 5 and Secrets Of The Pyramid Builders, a co-production between Canal+ channels and Smithsonian Channel.