Dino Docs! Prehistoric Planet

A Complete Guide to The Species of Prehistoric Planet: Episode One, Coasts 

With Prehistoric Planet featuring plenty of obscure species, a complete guide may be in order. Part one of five!

Prehistoric Planet – the brand-new dinosaur docuseries on Apple TV – features a lot of dinosaurs and prehistoric life. Some of them you have probably heard of, others, not so much. 

That’s to be expected! With such a unique and diverse cast of prehistoric life, it can be hard to keep up with all the species featured. Truthfully, there may have been a few that even I didn’t know about before watching! It doesn’t help that a few species aren’t explicitly named, either…

Luckily, I have taken it upon myself to list all the species featured in Prehistoric Planet. My list will be divided by episode and cover every dinosaur, pterosaur, marine reptile or otherwise featured in the show. Repeating stars will be included under each episode. Accompanying each species will be a brief description of their role in the series and some additional commentary. It goes without saying, but spoilers should be expected throughout the articles.

Today’s article will include all species from the series premier, entitled “Coasts.” Their order in the article is based on their first appearance in the episode.

With that out of the way, let’s get started!

Tyrannosaurus rex: The first dinosaur to appear in Prehistoric Planet, Tyrannosaurus is presented as a doting father taking his children for a dangerous swim across the ocean. Though his extreme sense of smell led him to a delicious carcass, I am sure there were better options than bringing your kids through what has been labelled history’s deadliest sea….


Mosasaurus hoffmannii: The world’s largest predator during the cretaceous, a Mosasaurus hoffmannii is depicted as taking time off for an undersea pedicure. Unfortunately, the large male is interrupted by a rival, proving that relaxation was impossible, even during prehistory.

Hoffmann’s Mosasaurus

Unnamed Sea Turtle: A protostegid turtle like the infamous Archelon, both adults and juveniles become disturbed by Tyrannosaurus hatchlings. Watching an adult Tyrannosaurus struggle to flip one made me ponder what crane would be needed to carry one of these majestic creatures.

Tethydraco: The first named pterosaur in episode one, Tethydraco is shown as a caring parent on the beaches of North Africa. Much needed parenting when considering the next pterosaur of our list…


Phosphatodraco: On a series full of child murders, Phosphatodraco may be the worst of them all. The azhdarchid pterosaurs only role in the show is to hunt after baby pterosaurs, making it about as bad as Anakin Skywalker. 


Alcione: A small pterosaur from Morocco, Prehistoric Planet follows a colony of hatchlings as they make their way from the coasts to a forest. Unlike Tethydraco, the lack of parental care means disaster for (most of) the poor Alcione chicks. Always respect your parents, folks!


Barbaridactylus: The second baby-eater of the episode, Barbaridactylus hunts after the Alcione with devastating proficiency. A master of aerial combat, the diving shot of Barbaridactylus in the air is enough to raise hairs on the back of your head.  

Barbaridactylus (left) and Alcione (right)

Star of the episode – Tuarangisaurus: An Elasmosaurid from the coasts of New Zealand (or Zealandia, back in the day), Tuarangisaurus is featured in two scenes in the episode. While I never thought I’d say this, watching a mother and calf bond while eating rocks was a sweet experience.  


Unnamed Scaphitid Ammonites: A common family in Cretaceous North American seaways, ammonites survived until the very end of the Cretaceous. Whether they could glow in the dark is up for debate, but who doesn’t love a deep-sea light show?


Kaikaifilu: What a name. Kaikaifilu was a mosasaur species from Antarctica, though it may have occasionally swum north to hunt animals like Tuarangisaurus. Someone said that the mosasaurs in Prehistoric Planet are only around to ruin everyone else’s day, and I couldn’t agree more.


I do not take credit for any images found in this article. All images are credited to Apple TV.

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