Segments in this Video

Introduction: Life Explodes: Australia's First 4 Billion Years (01:50)


Dr. Richard Smith reviews the last episode, highlighting events from the Earth's creation to the Cambrian period.

Ordovician Era (03:48)

Oceans were rising around the planet. Smith visits Simpson Desert, Northern Territory to see the fossil of the world's earliest fish.

Silurian Era (04:03)

Smith visits Kalbarri, Western Australia to explore where the first animals took to land. Learn about the strange sea creatures that walked.

Land Plants (03:53)

Smith travels to Yea, Victoria to see the early plant fossils. Direct descendants of the Silurian plants can be found today.

MacDonell Mountain Range (04:00)

Plant life created an Ozone layer to protect the Earth. Learn about the mountains that arose on the supercontinent Gondwana.

Erosion (03:43)

The rivers mostly drain inland, and have lost the ability to carry sediment out to the ocean. Smith explores the Bungle Bungle Range, Western Australia.

Devonian Era (03:20)

Smith visits the great Devonian barrier reef. These limestone cliffs used to be part of a colossal underwater reef system.

Gogo Fish (02:40)

For the first time, fish filled the oceans. Smith goes searching for Gogo fish fossils.

Reproduction (03:01)

Smith views the fossil of a male fish as well as a mother with child.

Lungfish (02:12)

Lungfish moved from salt to freshwater in the Devonian period and they also learned to breathe without their gills.

Evolution (04:07)

Several species of fish were found perfectly preserved underground in Australia. One of these fossils shows evidence of walking.

Carboniferous Era (03:39)

This time period saw all sorts of new plants, huge forests, and reptiles laying eggs. The greening of the Earth began to turn Australia red.

Permian Era (02:00)

The supercontinent Gondwana moves south and another ice age begins. Smith visits the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia to see rocks that were marred by glaciers.

Fossils (03:38)

Smith travels to Maria Island, Tasmania to learn about the many Permian shellfish.

Permian Era Ends (03:27)

Massive volcanic eruptions changed the atmosphere of the Earth and over 80% of all species died.

Credits: Life Explodes: Australia's First 4 Billion Years (01:38)

Credits: Life Explodes: Australia's First 4 Billion Years

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Life Explodes: Australia's First 4 Billion Years

Part of the Series : Australia's First 4 Billion Years
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



How did life storm the beaches and dominate planet Earth? Ancient Australian fossils offer clues. While the oceans were teeming, the world above the waves remained an almost lifeless wasteland — until the Silurian period. Host Richard Smith introduces Earth’s forgotten pioneers: the scuttling arthropod armies that invaded the shores and the waves of green revolutionaries whose battle for the light pushed plant life across the face of a barren continent. Join NOVA’s prehistoric adventure as four-legged animals walk onto dry land, with the planet poised for disaster.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL58716

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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