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World’s Oldest Bird Fossil To Be Explored In PBS Doc

EXCLUSIVE: PBS has gained exclusives access to the work excavating a fossil of the oldest modern bird, dating back some 68 million years, and is forging a documentary.

Rise of Birds, Dinosaurs Among Us [working title] is being made for the U.S. network’s science strand by Rise and Fall of the Mayas producer Pernel Media and will follow the work of Daniel Field, a Cambridge palaeontologist. His discovery, uncovered three years ago, opened a new window of opportunity to tell the journey of how dinosaurs evolved into modern birds, survived the last mass extinction, and rose to be one of the most diverse classes of animals in the world.

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The series, which counts France Télévisions, Ushuaïa TV, Radio Canada, NHK, and CCTV9 China (CMB) as partners, will investigate the latest discoveries and ongoing research on the extraordinary features of birds, the role of their feathers, their singing abilities, their wings, and how they became the undisputed masters of the sky.

Penned by Eric Pincas and Thomas Cirotteau, and directed by Thomas Cirotteau, the doc is currently in post-production and is due to be delivered in the first quarter of 2024.

“Who knew that pigeons and chickens descended from the same branch as the infamous T-Rex?,” said Céline Payot Lehmann, an exec producer at Pernel. “Dinosaurs are not extinct, they are all around us. That’s how relevant and universal this story is.”

Deadline revealed late last year that Pernel is making a series about Genghis Khan.

ZDF Studios is distributing Rise of Birds.

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