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NOVA; Megabeasts' Sudden Death


Green Label Master- Former title: Last Extinction * Includes all title change updates made for 2/23/10 broadcast

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Megabeasts' Sudden Death
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Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

Former title: Last Extinction

What killed the mastodons? Thirteen thousand years ago, these tusked beasts disappeared from North America, along with some 35 genera of oversized mammals, including woolly mammoths, saber-tooth cats and even camels. For four decades, debate has raged over the cause of this extinction. In THE LAST EXTINCTION, NOVA presents an exclusive investigation of a startling and controversial new hypothesis which suggests that a cosmic collision could be the culprit. If a comet exploded in the upper atmosphere over the Great Lakes, the blast would have vaporized everything within a 100-mile radius. From coast to coast, wildfires would have raged and turned forests into cinder. Now, at more than two dozen sites across the continent, a multidisciplinary team finds evidence that just such a fire once ravaged North America. But other scholars argue that ancient hunters armed with a distinctive, lethal stone weapon -- the Clovis spear point -- drove the giant beasts into oblivion. Still others believe the unstable climate at the end of the Ice Age was responsible. Now the dramatic new evidence of a cosmic explosion suggests a third possibility -- that mammoths and mastodons already stressed out by human "overkill" and climate change may have received a fiery coup-de-grace as devastation swept across the continent.

In May 2008, a scientific team made worldwide headlines by announcing evidence of a previously unsuspected impact from space that had devastated prehistoric North America at the end of the last Ice Age. According to this controversial new claim, the extinction of more than 34 types of large prehistoric animals (or "megafauna") was caused not by climate change or the arrival of the first human hunters, but by the massive breakup of a comet over the Great Lakes region. NOVA explores this provocative new theory about what killed off America's mammoths and may have come close to extinguishing early human populations as well.



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Broadcast program

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Chicago: “NOVA; Megabeasts' Sudden Death,” 02/23/2010, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 20, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_64A0B342FDE74B64BEE4798689D97504.
MLA: “NOVA; Megabeasts' Sudden Death.” 02/23/2010. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 20, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_64A0B342FDE74B64BEE4798689D97504>.
APA: NOVA; Megabeasts' Sudden Death. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_64A0B342FDE74B64BEE4798689D97504
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