BBC Horizon, Spring Season, 2007 [* cf. radiotimes.com]
First Aired: Tue 13 Mar 2007, 9:00 pm - 9:50 pm on BBC Two
It's a palaeontologist's dream. The chance to live in a world where dinosaurs are not something we dig out of the ground but are living with us as pets, pests and protein. It sounds far fetched but it's not far from the truth. But for one large meteorite heading in our direction 65 million years ago the world could have turned out very differently. In My Pet Dinosaur, Horizon tweaks history by asking what would have happened if the rock had missed.
Enlisting the expert opinions of the world's leading palaeontologists, we discover that dinosaurs were far from lumbering, cold-blooded extinction just waiting to happen. Scientists have recently discovered that they were not only more adaptable than previously thought some could have been warm-blooded and perfectly a-tuned to their surroundings. In other words they were more than equipped to survive anything that the evolving planet had to throw at them.
What is certain is that our world would be very different. If humans were lucky enough to be here with dinosaurs it would be at the expense of most, if not all of the mammals that we are familiar with today. No cows, no cats, no elephants.
As a result would dinosaurs be kept as pets? Would we be hunting hadrosaurs instead of elk, farming protoceratops instead of pig? Chasing small therapods from our dustbins instead of foxes? In the 65 million years it took us to evolve from rodents to homo sapiens, could the brighter dinosaurs have even evolved into something humanoid too?
Horizon sneaks a look at the strange world of 21st century dinosaurs, films the first ever autopsy on a just dead dinosaur and reveals that you really can have your very own pet dinosaur.