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Best Dinosaur Documentaries to Watch, Ranked

Some of the most fascinating creatures to ever roam the planet are those we have never actually seen in person. Dinosaurs walked the Earth more than 65 million years ago, and all of them have gone extinct. Though long-gone, per Scientific Americanthe species does hold a close connection to birds and lizards, and thus have much smaller ancestors existing today.

Steven Spielberg’s 1993, sci-fi action movieJurassic Park, captivated audiences worldwide, inspiring an interest in dinosaurs for decades to follow. The dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park franchisearen’t related to the animals that walked the planet millions of years ago, but are products of genetic mutations, meaning that their DNA was pulled from a variety of different animals. However, Spielberg’s masterpiece is not the only string of films inspired by dinosaurs. As alluring as Jurassic Park is, dinosaurs are fascinating enough on their own, and documentaries regarding the creatures are just as entertaining as any blockbuster hit. Here are some of the best dinosaur documentaries to date.

5 Sky Monsters

Sky Monsters, a 2005 made-for-TV documentary, focuses on one of the more forgotten types of dinosaurs, who do not exactly get all the hype they deserve: pterodactyls. These dinosaurs were a breed of pterosaurs that were among the first to be linked to a flying reptile. The National Geographic film features the findings of a group of researchers at Stanford University, who studied the aerodynamics and feeding patterns of the bird-like beast. Though this breed of dinosaur was featured as one of the more ferocious threats in Jurassic World, they aren’t always depicted 100% accurately in Hollywood. According to Wired, the Pterosaurs depicted in Jurassic World aren’t scaled to fit accurate measurements. More than pterodactyls, Sky Monsters also examines other flying creatures of the time. It is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Related: Will Jurassic World: Dominion Encourage or Smother a ’90s Renaissance


4 Dinosaur, 13

Dinosaur, 13 is a documentary that follows a paleontologist named Sue Hendrickson and a geographical research team, who discovered the largest, complete T-Rex skeleton ever documented in history. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2014, and won an Emmy in the documentary category. The T-Rex skeleton was discovered in the badlands of South Dakota. However, the documentary does not just cover the outstanding findings of the skeleton that was nicknamed “Sue,” but documents the long-term legal battle that occurred after the findings were taken by the federal government. The mind-blowing documentary is available to watch on the free streaming app Tubi and Amazon Prime.

3 Walking with Dinosaurs

Although Walking with Dinosaurs is over 20 years old, the TV docuseries is one of the most highly regarded dinosaur documentaries ever made. The show was shot as if it was a traditional style nature documentary, closing in on dinosaurs as if they were, say, lions in the wild. The show was such a success that it spawned an entire series of spin-offs with the title “Walking With …”. Walking with Dinosaurs used CGI and animatronics to portray the prehistoric creatures, and at the time, was one of the most expensive documentary style television series ever made. The film is available to stream on Apple TV.

Related: Prehistoric Planet Review: A Breathtaking Nature Documentary With Realistic-Looking Dinosaurs

2 Clash of the Dinosaurs

While most dinosaur documentaries primarily focus on specific breeds, or the ultimate downfall of the prehistoric creatures, Clash of the Dinosaurs centers in on the evolution of dinosaurs over an entire century. The miniseries looks at dinosaurs from bone to real flesh, using 3D graphic imaging and anatomy. The series was made in 2009, and it is hard not to imagine how much more science would be able to reveal if it were made today. Clash of the Dinosaurs is known for the scenes in which they show the outer body armor that some breeds had to defend themselves against larger predators. The docuseries is available to stream on Hulu.

1 Prehistoric Planet

Prehistoric Planet is an Apple TV + exclusive that was released in May 2022, and is currently sitting at a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The series is narrated by natural historian, David Attenborough, and calls itself an “immersive experience.” The high-end editing and graphics that went into creating the series will be regarded through the ages. However, it is not just the stunning appearance of the pictures on screen, or the acclaim that comes with Attenborough at the series’ helm: Prehistoric Planet is the first dinosaur documentary to ever correctly portray the long-debated fact that has become so apparent when discussing the Jurassic Park franchise. The series focuses on the widely available paleontologist research that has been found, and the existence of feathered dinosaurs. Prehistoric Planet is available on Apple TV + and according to RadioTimes, the team behind the series hints that a season two may be in the works.

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