Ben’s walking with giants on BBC One

Published: 13 January 2016 at 12:59

Credit: Robin Cox/BBC

Anglia Ruskin Teaching Fellow appears in programme with Sir David Attenborough

Anglia Ruskin University Teaching Fellow Ben Garrod comes face to face with two giants on BBC One later this month. 

On Sunday, 24 January (6.30pm) Ben appears in a new programme about the discovery of the world’s largest dinosaur alongside a colossus of the broadcasting world, Sir David Attenborough.

Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur tells the story of the fossil discovery and reconstruction in Argentina of the largest known dinosaur, a new species of titanosaur. 

Measuring 37m long – close to four buses put end to end – and weighing 70 metric tons, calculations show that this new giant titanosaur is the biggest animal ever to walk the earth. 

In 2014, a shepherd spotted the tip of a gigantic fossil bone sticking out of a rock in the Chubut Province in the Argentinian desert.  When the news reached palaeontologists at the Egidio Feruglio Palaeontology Museum (MEF) in Trelew, Argentina, they set up camp at the discovery site. 

The first bone turned out to be a 2.4m long thigh bone, the largest ever found.  By the end of the dig they had uncovered more than 220 bones.  As the programme reveals, these fossils came from not just one dinosaur but seven, all belonging to a new species of the giant plant-eating titanosaur.

Filmed over the next two years, Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur follows the twists and turns of this forensic investigation.  Using state-of-the-art graphics the film reveals what scientists think the internal structure of a dinosaur looked like and how it worked.

Ben studied BSc Animal Behaviour at Anglia Ruskin from 2002-05 and in 2014 presented the six-part BBC4 series Secrets of Bones, which explained how bones have allowed animals to colonise the Earth.

For the new programme Ben, who teaches in Anglia Ruskin’s Life Sciences department, spent three weeks in Argentina, at the dig site and in the Patagonian city of Trelew where the titanosaur model was unveiled.  

He said:

“Getting the opportunity to work with David Attenborough has been absolutely incredible – and slightly surreal.

“David Attenborough turns 90 this year but to witness close up his passion for science and communicating science has been brilliant.  He genuinely loves what he does and has a natural curiosity and desire to discover more.

“The fact that the programme is linked to a new discovery and research that is yet to be published makes it so hard hitting and timely.  It’s big in every sense of the word!”