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Wild Europe 1 of 4 Genesis

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Uploaded on Feb 10, 2012

All across the continent are clues that help us to shed light on the deep past and Europe's dramatic creation. In Genesis, we witness the birth of mountains as tall as the Himalayas, coalfields transformed in to leafy swamps roamed by giant dragonflies and plesiosaurs roaming our once-tropical oceans. In this educational BBC documentary programme we see the raising of the Alps and the ripping open of the Atlantic as Europe is finally born.
Genesis takes us on an epic story which began an unbelievably long time ago. Search through the bleak, primeval landscape of Norway's Lofoten Islands and you find Europe's oldest rocks, formed three billion years ago! At this time our future continent was a collection of fragments resting near the South Pole. Moving at the stately pace of four centimetres a year it took them two billion years to unite.
Complex life first appeared in Europe only 550 million years ago and fossil evidence from places like the vineyards of Jura and the dramatic limestone scenery of Verdon gorge in France reveal that central Europe was once a magical underwater world, teeming with bizarre creatures such as trilobites, seapens and jellyfish. And when the parts of our continent-to-be finally met, this sea was gradually swallowed up. Using stunning graphic techniques we witness the full impact of these collisions and show the birth of enormous mountains which stretched all the way from Ireland to Norway, and are still so visible today.
The great coal fields on which the continent's industry developed are the remains of steamy carboniferous swamps once roamed by giant insects, before the continent was plunged in to a period of fiery desert. Where Rome, Paris and Athens now stand once looked and felt like the heart of the Sahara. Dinosaurs soon stalked the land in great numbers leaving behind evidence in almost every country. This was a turbulent time when continents were still shifting, huge volcanoes erupting and then a giant meteorite hit the planet, dramatically ending the reign of the dinosaurs.
Then, as the oceans expanded and the Earth cooled, Europe arrived in the Northern hemisphere. A whole new world of plants and animals had evolved to meet these fresh conditions, as beautifully revealed in the Baltic amber washed ashore in Poland and the remarkable fossils in Solnhofen, Germany. And then finally, following the dramatic creation of the Alps and the opening up of the Mediterranean, the birth of Europe was complete.

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