Alif Productions
57, rue d'Alleray
75015 PARIS

Tél : 00 33 (0) 1 56 08 32 00
Fax : 00 33 (0) 1 56 08 32 01

When mammals lived side by side with dinosaurs

Written and directed by: Pierre SAUNIER

The Cretaceous period started 135 million years ago. While the end of the Jurassic is well-known, the beginning of the next era remains mysterious. The sites of that period are few and far between, and Champblanc (near Cognac in Charente) is by far the major site in the world.
The site of the huge quarry, covering more than 30 hectares, was located in a seaside area, either a lagoon or a delta populated with dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles and sharks…

Today, it is the biggest excavation dig in Europe. The goal of the excavations, under the direction of Jean-Michel Mazin, Senior Researcher at the French National Research Centre, is to decipher a still mysterious episode of the beginning of the Cretaceous period.

Today the prevailing species is homo sapiens, and it can be divided into two groups : on the one hand the quarrymen driving their « bulldozaurs » and disrupting millions of years of archives to turn them into plaster, one the other hand palaeontologists, coming from all Europe, who extricate fragments of bones and sift sediments, looking for microscopic remnants.

The samples which are sorted and prepared on the spot are afterward entrusted to various teams of specialists in Poitiers, Lyon, Bordeaux, Paris, Copenhagen, London and Würtzburg. Together, these European experts are trying to solve the enigma of the Champblanc quarry.

Long ago, the first mammals appeared among dinosaurs. Indeed, many mammal teeth can be found in the Champblanc sediments, which is very rare indeed. These small beasts were to outlive the big ones and would end up giving birth to creatures who, a hundred and thirty five million years later, would be able to recreate the site through computer-generated pictures.

Indeed, today science makes it possible to fathom what the period looked like and to propose a likely representation of it. Obviously, the film will tell the story of this scientific adventure, following the researchers in their investigations but it will also allow us to travel into time and space, 140 million years ago, thanks to illustrations and computer-generated images.