Attenborough and the Sea Dragon

Attenborough and the Sea Dragon


We know fossil hunting was David Attenborough’s first love and he indulges it here as he explores the story of an impressive find on the Jurassic Coast. Dorset fossil expert Chris Moore found a limestone block on the beach that showed traces of fins from an ichthyosaur – an air-breathing marine reptile like a giant dolphin.

So Moore and colleagues undertook the perilous task of excavating an unstable cliff edge in the hope of finding the rest of the body. Attenborough follows their efforts and the treasure they unearthed – a species that is new to science, and a creature that in this case hints at a 200-million-year-old murder mystery.


The naturalist joins a team of scientists examining the 200 million-year-old fossilised remains of an ichthyosaur, a vast sea creature which was discovered on Dorset's Jurassic Coast. As the skeleton is reassembled, advanced imaging technology and computer animation is used to create a simulation of the sea creature as it would have appeared when it was still alive - the most detailed reconstruction of its kind ever attempted. Meanwhile, forensic investigators painstakingly examine the bones to solve the mystery of how the ichthyosaur died.

Cast & Crew

Presenter David Attenborough
Executive Producer Michael Gunton
Producer Sally Thomson