Walking With Wikis
Giant of the Skies (episode)
General information
SeriesWalking with Dinosaurs
Episode number4
Featured creaturesOrnithocheirus
Broadcast information
Original airdate25 October 1999
Chronological information
Previous episode
Cruel Sea
Following episode
Spirits of the Ice Forest
This article is about the episode, you may be looking for the soundtrack

Giant of the Skies is the fourth episode of Walking with Dinosaurs.

Full Synopsis

The episode begins with a male Ornithocheirus dead on a beach. Six months earlier, the Ornithocheirus, resting among a colony of breeding Tapejaras in Brazil, flies off for Cantabria where it too must mate. He flies past a migrating group of the iguanodont Dakotadon and the nodosaur Polacanthus (American Polacanthus identified as Gastonia in American version). He reaches the southern tip of North America, where he is forced to shelter from a storm. He grooms himself, expelling his body of Saurophthirus fleas; the crest on his jaw begins to change colour in preparation for the mating season. He then sets off across the Atlantic, which was then only 300 kilometres wide, and after a whole day on the wing, reaches the westernmost of the European islands. He does not rest there however, as a pack of Utahraptors are hunting Iguanodon; a young Utahraptor is bullied off an Iguanodon carcass by the adults. The Ornithocheirus flies to the outskirts of a forest to rest after stealing a fish from another pterosaur, but is driven away by Iberomesornis. Flying on, he reaches Cantabria, but due to the delays, exhaustion, and old age he cannot reach the centre of the many grounded male Ornithocheirus and consequently he does not mate. After several days under the sun trying to attract a mate, the protagonist Ornithocheirus dies from heat exhaustion and starvation. The same fate befalls others who had lost out in the attempt to attract a mate. The next generation of Ornithocheirus feeds on their corpses.

In the credits, it is stated that the pterosaurs continued to rule the skies for millions of years while the dinosaurs continued to spread across the globe, and the next episode would show how they conquered the most unexpected of environments - the dark forests of the South Pole.


127 Million Years Ago (Brazil)

127 Million Years Ago (Southern USA)

127 Million Years Ago (United Kingdom)

127 Million Years Ago (Spain)

Alternate Versions

  • In a rerelease, several scenes are either rearranged or cut:
    • The Tapejara scenes are cut, leaving them as unidentified background pterosaurs.
    • The rain scenes are cut, along with the introduction to Iguanodon's eating methods. The scene featuring a wasp pollinating a flower is also cut.
    • The two Utahraptor hunt scenes are merged into one.
    • The scene where a younger Utahraptor challenges the adults over the kill is cut.
    • The where the Ornithocheirus encounters some birds is cut.
    • The ending scene is shortened.
  • In the US dub, the North American Polacanthus is correctly identified as a Gastonia.
  • In the US dub, the marine reptile is erroneously identified as Liopleurodon.
  • In the US dub, the extended ending where the younger Ornithocheirus feed on the deceased males is cut.


  • This is the only episode of Walking with Dinosaurs to have a pterosaur as the main focus.
  • The episode is titled "Beneath the Giant's Wings" in the companion book.
  • The rain scenes are reused in a rerelease of New Blood.



  • The Utahraptor did not live in Europe, as no fossil of Utahraptor has been found outside of North America. Though, in the companion book, it is stated that the European Utahraptor are a speculated second species living outside of North America.
  • The Onithocheirus is too big, the wingspan of this animal was likely about 7 meters. The species featured is now placed in the related genus Tropeognathus.
  • The Appalachian Iguanodon are nowadays called Dakotatodon


Original airdate

  • 25 October 1999 20.30 BBC One


  • 26 October 1999 18.30 BBC Choice
  • 30 October 1999 20.00 BBC Choice
  • 31 October 1999 16.15 BBC One
  • 31 October 1999 19.30 BBC Choice
  • 4 December 1999 9.20 BBC Knowledge
  • 19 August 2000 20.05 BBC One
  • 29 January 2003 19.00 BBC Four
  • 9 March 2004 2.30 BBC One
  • 21 October 2006 20.00 BBC Three