Above: A Sea Scorpion. If Nautiloids were "the first weapon of mass destruction" and the "jet powered torpedo of the deep, the Sea Scorpion must be some sort of "double-espresso plasma hydrogen bomb cannon of the depths"...
Part 5 is sort of a transitional section, in several ways. First, it deals with the transition of life onto land. Second, it is a transition from the science-based (I use that term loosely) part of the movie, into part 6, which is basically fantasyland. But we’ll be talking about how far Alice falls down that rabbit hole tomorrow – today we need to deal with the transition:
“It’s these generalist type of organisms which tend to be much better at coping with these types of overall ecological shifts.” (0:18)
Right off the bat, I would like to note that the first minute of this part actually contains solid science. Mass extinctions do affect organisms at the top of the food chain most. Kudos!
“But if we thought the field was open to us, we were in for a big surprise. With the super-snails gone, an old adversary had risen again – the mega-bugs were back.” (1:02)
The good times sure didn’t last long. The suck returns.
“[The bugs] would soon be defeated for good, and we would be victorious at last.” (2:50)
Funny, I don’t recall the Arthropods being driven to extinction. But I guess the fact that we’re the ones with the movie camera means that we’ve “defeated them for good.”
“There are no fossils of these first pioneers, but Simon Brady want to know what they looked like … he has turned to modern computer graphics to unlock the secrets of bug body design”(4:15)
Take note of this moment, because it starts a trend that spirals downward out of control later on in part 6. During this section, they seem to be basing their reconstructions on some actual science. That won’t always be the case.
“And in the arms race more than anywhere, size mattered.”(6:44)
They’re talking about how exoskeletons limited the size that arthropods could grow to on land. This is interpreted by the movie as a fatal flaw for arthropods, because vertebrates could grow larger than they could. Of course, in reality, size only matters in a race for… size. At times, the movie seems to suggest that the biggest organism is the “winner” of evolution. This makes no sense, since the movie also implies pretty strongly that humans are the “winners.”
Here is the movie:
Comment away! The sixth and final part of the series will be online tomorrow!