Nova Last Extinction
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- Rated: Not Rated
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 56 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: June 16, 2009
- Originally Released: 2009
- Label: Wgbh / Pbs
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.78
- Dolby Digital 2.0 - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Additional Audio Material:
- Described Video for the Visually Impaired
- Scene Selection
- Link to the NOVA Website
- Materials and Activities for Educators
Approximately 13,000 years after the mighty mammoth and 35 other groups of mammals vanished from North America, some scientists pose the controversial theory that a massive impact from space may have heralded their demise. For the past four decades, experts have been at odds over what caused this mass extinction. While mainstream scholars pose that the changing climate or ancient hunters were likely to blame for driving the beasts into oblivion, others believe that a comet from deep space may have broken up over North America, causing a devastating series of explosions that decimated the landscape and wiped out animal populations. The proof, they claim, lies in the discovery of a mysterious "black mat" layer at over 50 sites across the continent. The materials found in the black mats include rare, microscopic nanodiamonds, which are thought to be the product of extraterrestrial impact. In this documentary, filmmakers pose that perhaps all three theories share a common element of truth.
What killed the mammoths' Near the end of the last ice age 13,000 years ago, these mighty beasts disappeared from North America together with some 35 other groups of mammals, including giant ground sloths, saber-tooth cats, and American lions. For four decades, debate has raged over the cause of their abrupt demise. In Last Extinction, NOVA presents an exclusive in-depth investigation of a bold and controversial new hypothesis, which suggests that a massive impact from space could be the culprit. According to the theory, an incoming comet broke up over North America in a devastating series of explosions, causing widespread forest fires and wiping out plants, animals, and prehistoric people. The evidence comes from a mysterious “black mat” layer discovered at more that fifty sites across the continent. The black mat contains exotic materials—including rare microscopic “nanodiamonds”—that are claimed to be the signature of an extraterrestrial impact. But other scholars question the evidence and argue that ancient hunters armed with a lethal stone weapon—the Clovis spear point—drove the giant beasts into oblivion. Still others believe the unstable climate at the end of the Ice Age was responsible. NOVA explores the dramatic new evidence of a cosmic explosion and the possibility that all three explanations may be correct.
Animals | Documentary | Nature | Nova (PBS Series) | Science
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