Walking with Beasts cover
Walking with Beasts
General information
Distributed by BBC
Created by Tim Haines
Jasper James
Andrew Wilks
Produced by Andrew Wilks
Narrated by Kenneth Branagh
Stockard Channing (American version)
Broadcast information
Original run 15 November 2001 – 21 December 2001
Episode runtime 30 minutes
No. of episodes 6
List of episodes New Dawn
Whale Killer
Land of Giants
Next of Kin
Sabre Tooth
Mammoth Journey
From a time the world forgot.

– Tagline.

Walking with Beasts (retitled in North America as Walking with Prehistoric Beasts) is a six-episode 2001 television documentary series developed by the BBC, and the successor to Walking with Dinosaurs.

The next series, Walking with Monsters, was released in 2005, and acts as a prequel to both Beasts and Dinosaurs

Beasts focuses on the lives of prehistoric mammals, after the K/T Extinction, during the Cenozoic.

Episode one focuses on the events of twenty-four hours in the Messel Pits of Eocene Germany. Episode two focuses on a female Basilosaurus in Eocene Africa. Episode three focuses on a young Indricothere in Oligocene Asia. Episode four focuses on a family of Australopithecus in Pliocene Africa. Episode five focuses on Half Tooth, a Smilodon in Pliocene South America. Episode six focuses on a herd of Woolly Mammoths in Pleistocene Europe.

The series won one Emmy Award, for Outstanding Animated Program.


Companion book

As with Dinosaurs, Beasts received a companion book, entitled Walking with Beasts: A Prehistoric Safari.

A Prehistoric Safari focused on the same six stories as Beasts, but expanded on, changed or added some aspects. It also identified animals not named in the series, or featured new animals altogether.

List of episodes

No. Title Time Period Directors Original air date
1 New Dawn Eocene

Jasper James & Nigel Patterson

15 November 2001
49 million years ago, Early Eocene (Germany)
Filming location: Java

The first episode depicts the warm tropical world of the early Eocene which was 16 million years after the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. Birds, including the giant carnivorous Gastornis, rule this world, while mammals are still very small. The setting is near the Messel pit in Germany. Due to volcanic activity, sudden bulk escapes of carbon dioxide trapped underneath lakes pose a significant hazard to the local wildlife. The episode centers around a Leptictidium family, a leaping, shrew-like mammal, which has emerges in the dawn hours to forage for food.

It is mentioned that although the Leptictidium survived the gas, they would ultimately leave a mystery if that species had a descendant like a shrew or not but most likely they left no descendants, while an Ambulocetus (who was killed by the lethal gases) would evolve into the whales, hereby setting the scene for the next episode.

Animals: Leptictidium · Gastornis · Ambulocetus · Propaleotherium · Giant Ants · Creodont · Crocodile ·Tamandua · Gecko · Frog · Snake

Image gallery


Behind the scenes

Notes and references