A NEW PREHISTORY: WHAT KILLED GIANT INSECTS?

Today, insects are no longer giant except in our nightmares… But 320 million years ago, dragonflies measuring up to a meter (Meganeura) or centipedes the size of a human (Arthropleura) dominated the land and air.

Over the course of time, these fascinating giants became smaller and smaller before disappearing altogether. But who was responsible for their extinction? Scientists long believed that the decrease in oxygen after the Carboniferous period explained their disappearance. Insects are devoid of lungs and bloodstream and rely on microscopic holes on their bodies to oxygenate: the current composition of the air would suffocate their organs and paralyze their limbs. But this theory was put into question in 2009 when large fossils of Meganeuras that survived the oxygen depletion were discovered in the South of France… In 2012 others animals were suspected as being the source of the giant insects’ downfall. An American study points to prehistoric birds who were fierce predators and could have exercised pressure on insects and contributed to reducing their size… At the same time, a small Pterosaur was discovered in Germany, proving that these flying reptiles could also be aerial acrobats specialized in insect hunting. By combining state of the art scientific experiment, reconstitutions using CGI and interviews with paleontologists, stones will speak and explain why giant insects became extinct. Here is the true story of the conquest of the air.


Details: 52′ 4K HDR

A film by Emma BAUS and Bertrand LOYER