The Day the Mesozoic Died
This film tells the story of the scientific quest to explain one of the greatest, long-standing scientific mysteries: the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period.
The film traces the uncovering of key clues that led to the discovery that an asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction of animals, plants, and even microorganisms. This story can be used in many different science classes, as it presents a stellar example of many different disciplines (geology, physics, biology, chemistry, and paleontology) contributing to a compelling hypothesis.
The “Abbreviated Film Guide” provides a short summary of the film, along with key concepts and connections to curriculum standards.
An audio descriptive version of the film is available via our media player.
asteroid, Cretaceous, dinosaur, foraminifera, K-T boundary, mass extinction, Tertiary
Alvarez, L.W., W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, H.V. Michel. “Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction.” Science 208 (1980): 1095–1108.
Smit, J., J. Hertogen. “An extraterrestrial event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary.” Nature 285 (1980): 198–200.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2.C, HS-LS4.C, HS-ESS1.C, HS-ESS2.A, HS-ESS2.E
AP Biology (2019)
EVO-1, EVO-3, SYI-2
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 2.5, 9.9
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Vision and Change (2009)