The disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period posed one of the greatest, long-standing scientific mysteries. This three-act film tells the story of the extraordinary detective work that solved it.
NEW! The Day the Mesozoic Died has now been extended into an hour-length television special, Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink, which will air on The Smithsonian Channel Nov. 30, 2014.
The disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period posed one of the greatest, long-standing scientific mysteries. This three-act film tells the story of the extraordinary detective work that solved it. Shot on location in Italy, Spain, Texas, Colorado, and North Dakota, the film traces the uncovering of key clues that led to the stunning discovery that an asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction of animals, plants, and even microorganisms. Each act illustrates the nature and power of the scientific method. Representing a rare instance in which many different disciplines—geology, physics, biology, chemistry, paleontology—contributed to a revolutionary theory, the film is intended for students in all science classes.
"Intended for 'all students in all science classes,' this beautiful and well-produced video offers a glimpse into how scientists constructed an understanding of how and why a mass extinction occurred on Earth 66 million years ago […] The Day the Mesozoic Died is another vital resource created by HHMI."
—Steven Rutherford, American Biology Teacher, Nov/Dec 2013
"My BioClub sponsored a screening of the film, The Day the Mesozoic Died. To drum up excitement for the event, we had posted different K-T boundary sites throughout the school from the activity Finding the Crater. After the film, we had a contest: the first group of students to record data from the sites, correctly map them, and locate the impact crater, received a free pizza. The event was a great success and the unexpected bonus was the many students who then joined the BioClub! Who does not love dinosaurs and huge explosions!?"
—Cindy Gay (Steamboat Springs High School, CO)
- 2014 Jackson Hole Science Media Awards, Finalist
- 2013 Telly Awards; Silver
- 2013 Medea Awards; Highly Commended