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Chapter 1. Prologue
Introduction to the show's theme: the balance between evolution and extinction
A brief definition of extinction and basic facts about species' lifespans
The natural process of extinction creates opportunities for new species
Are humans causing a new mass extinction?
Chapter 2. The Mother of All Extinctions
Geological research into the planet's largest mass extinction
Uncovering fossils from the Permian period
Exploring the cataclysmic event that destroyed almost all Permian species and began the Triassic period
Description of the dramatic environmental changes that produce mass extinction
Chapter 3. The Dinosaurs Win Out
Dinosaurs and mammals after the Permian extinction
The evolution of dinosaurs, the dominant species after the Permian extinction
The evolution of small mammals, minor species during the dinosaurs' era
Researching dinosaur and mammal fossils in the Gobi desert
Chapter 4. KT-Extinction, Triumph of Mammals
The end of dinosaur supremacy, and the rise of mammals
The K-T extinction event: an asteroid impact that changed life on earth
Dinosaurs die, but small mammals survive
Mammals grow larger, diversify, and spread out across the world
Emergence of monkeys, apes, and, eventually, human-like primates
Chapter 5. Thailand and the Empty Forest
Human dominance and the escalating rate of animal extinction
Are humans causing the next great extinction?
Exploring animal disappearance in a pristine-looking Thai forest
The disappearance of large carnivores, the sign of a failing ecosystem
Natural habitats and the relationships among plants, herbivores, and carnivores
Human destruction of natural habitats, a primary cause of extinctions
Chapter 6. Hawaii and Biological Invasion
Invasive species, and the extinction of native life in Hawaii
The formation of Hawaii's unique ecosystem
Fossil research in a Hawaiian sinkhole: documenting the arrival of Polynesians, Europeans, and invasive species
Humans spread invasive species around the world
Two examples of invasive species: zebra mussels and brown tree snakes
The costs of trying to contain invasive species
Chapter 7. Planet of Weeds
Understanding "weed species"
What makes invading species successful?
Humans: the most invasive weed species on earth
The accelerating rate of extinction as a threat to all life
In North Dakota, using one weed species to battle another: leafy spurge versus flea beetle
Chapter 8. Return to Thailand
The health of the Thai ecosystem, and of our planet
Is it too late to stop change in the Thai forests?
Knowledge, the greatest tool against extinction
Can we slow the rate of human-caused species extinction and return to the natural cycle of evolution and extinction?