Into the Jaws of Death
General information
SeriesSea Monsters
Episode number2
Featured creaturesDunkleosteus
Broadcast information
Original airdate16 September 2003
Chronological information
Previous episode
Dangerous Seas
Following episode
To Hell... and Back?

Into the Jaws of Death is the second episode of Sea Monsters, and the fourth episode in the Chased by... series overall. It first aired on 16 September 2003.

This episode focuses on Nigel Marven visiting the fifth, fourth and third deadliest seas. There he escapes the Dunkleosteus, encounters a bizarre rhino-like elephant that lives like a hippo, swims with a predatory whale, and is chilled by a giant shark.

Full synopsis

360 million years ago, Late Devonian (Ohio)

Continuing from the previous episode, the adult Dunkleosteus charges into the shark cage at high speed, leaving a large dent on it. As the placoderm swims away, it comes back and quickly snatches the Bothriolepis wrapped in chainmail off of Nigel, nearly ripping his arm out of its socket. The Dunkleosteus shreds through the chainmail as well as the placoderm's armour and drops some of the bait onto the seabed.

Nigel watches as a juvenile Dunkleosteus approaches the leftovers and begins to feed. However, suddenly, the adult returns and kills the juvenile, to Nigel's surprise and shock. The cannibal then devours the baby and swims off. Afterwards, the Dunkleosteus regurgitates the armour plating and chainmail. Nigel explains that the carnivore isn't being sick but is just removing the indigestible parts from its body. The fish then swims away. Soon after, Nigel travels forward in time to the Eocene.

36 million years ago, Late Eocene (Egypt)

Nigel arrives in a mangrove swamp in the Eocene. He explains that despite the environment now, he is standing in what is now Egypt and if he were to stand where he is for thirty-six million years, the Egyptians would build pyramids on his head. The Eocene marks the beginning of the mammal's success as they begin to dominate the land and the sea, and as Nigel is about to find out, they even rule the bit in-between.

Some time later, Nigel finds a long tail of splayed-out footprints in the sand. As he follows them, he finds a pile of fresh dung. Nigel examines the waste and explains that the smell is rather sweet so it indicates the animal that excreted the dung is a fruit eater. He continues his search through the overgrowth.

Shortly, Nigel finds a large animal waddling towards him. He identifies the creature as an Arsinoitherium. He says that it is a male as its double horn is more splayed out and that as a result, it actually handicaps his vision. Nigel, despite knowing that the creature was edgy, goes in for a closer look. Nigel pulls out an apple from his pocket and approaches the Arsinoitherium, hoping if it would like something from the 21st century.

Nigel slowly creeps towards the herbivore and accidentally walks into a small stream. Thankfully, the Arsinoitherium doesn't notice him. Nigel creeps ever closer and crouches down in front of the creature, confronting it. As Nigel submissively offers it the apple, the aggressive herbivore charges at him and chases him. As Nigel hides amongst the vegetation, the Arsinoitherium runs and flops into the water. Nigel shortly follows.

While swimming with the Arsinoitherium, he is accompanied by a small family of Dorudon, an ancient species of whale. In fact, whales are the reason Nigel has come to the Eocene. However, not for the Dorudon but for a far larger and far more dangerous species.

On The Ancient Mariner, Nigel, with a set of images, explains that the creature he is after is a Basilosaurus, a giant species of predatory whale. He explains that when palaeontologists discovered its remains, they thought that it was a sea serpent. However, it was later discovered to be an ancient whale. He then examines a photograph of a fossil skull of Basilosaurus and explains the functions of its many different types of teeth.

As modern whales are extremely noisy and make sounds all of the time, Nigel hopes that Basilosaurus are the same. So, Nigel lowers an underwater microphone to try to listen for any sounds. He is unable to hear anything and moves into another patch of water. He lowers the microphone again and one of the crew members manages to hear eerie sounds under the water. He alerts Nigel and Nigel quickly identifies the sound as the call of a Basilosaurus.

Back on board The Ancient Mariner, Nigel explains that he has recorded the noises and is playing them back via an underwater speaker. He says that he is using them to attract the attention of a Basilosaurus. However, he notes that when scientists try the same experiment on modern whales, it has mixed results but it is the only way to accomplish his mission.

Some time later, while the crew were listening to the sounds of Basilosaurus getting louder and louder, The Ancient Mariner is suddenly struck by something massive. Nigel rushes onto the deck and sees the fluke of a Basilosaurus. Not knowing how long the whale will stick around, he quickly gears up and dives. Using The Ancient Mariner as a shield, he waits.

Nigel turns and finds a large male Basilosaurus swimming towards the boat. Amazed by the leviathan, he quickly moves away as the whale tries to attack the speaker. Nigel wishes that the sound technician would turn off the speaker as it is starting to distress the whale. The Basilosaurus approaches the sound speaker and narrowly misses it. However, on its next approach, it grabs it and disconnects it from its cord. As the whale shakes the speaker like a rag doll, it swims away.

The narrator explains that the Eocene world is due for change and as the climate changes and the continents shift, the Tethys sea will disappear, marking the extinctions of Basilosaurus, Dorudon and Arsinoitherium. Nigel subsequently travels to the Pliocene.

4 million years ago, Early Pliocene (Peru)

On the coast of Pliocene Peru, Nigel shows of a cast of the jaws of a great white shark, the most famous jaws in history. However, he warns that anyone afraid of sharks will be a gibbering wreck after seeing what he is about to experience. He then walks through the massive jaws of the prehistoric shark Megalodon - the biggest carnivorous fish to ever exist.

As adult Megalodon are such dangerous creatures, disagreement arises between Nigel and the rest of the crew concerning the next course of action. While Nigel proposes that he should immediately dive with the adults, the rest of the crew says that it would be better to start with the juveniles and then the adults. In the end, Nigel had to agree.

Nigel travels to the shallow waters to dive with the juvenile Megalodon. As he swims into a large area of thick kelp, he notices a bizarre animal with a peculiar pair of tusks foraging for food on the seabed. He identifies the animal as a male Odobenocetops. He explains that the males use their long, conical tusks to joust in the mating season like modern narwhals.

As Nigel looks up, he suddenly sees a juvenile Megalodon swimming above him and ducks. As the Megalodon chases the Odobenocetops, the whale swims into the thick foliage and manages to escape. Nigel cowers in the kelp as the shark passes overhead. Nigel explains that the largest great white shark was twenty foot long and that the juvenile Megalodon is that size already. As the shark swims away, Nigel returns to The Ancient Mariner.

Aboard The Ancient Mariner, Nigel and the crew construct a cast Odobenocetops to attract juvenile Megalodon with its silhouette. After deploying the dummy, it is attacked by a Megalodon from below. When Nigel assesses the damage done, the cast has been broken in half. Nigel explains the Megalodon's hunting technique, which is to sneak up on prey from below and to perform a devastating attack. When the prey is close to dying, the shark would make the final blow.

In the deep seas off the coast of Peru, the crew chops up some fish pieces and fish guts and makes a large bag of fish meat, a concoction used to attract sharks. Meanwhile, Nigel shows off the shark camera. He explains that they needs to attach it to the dorsal fin of a Megalodon so that he can record a day of its life. The crew then begins to chuck the chum off of the side of the boat as well as the meat bag. The crew subsequently waits for a Megalodon.

Some time later, a crew member sees a large dorsal fin sticking out of the water. He calls Nigel and he immediately identifies it as an adult Megalodon. The crew quickly lowers the shark cage into the water and Nigel quickly follows. He then points out that he can see the fish oil and blood leaking out of the chum bag. Despite being able to stay brave on the previous dives, Nigel admits that he is scared by this encounter.

Moments later, an adult Megalodon appears and swims straight towards the shark cage. Nigel tries to attach the shark cam to its fin but it is too high. The giant shark approaches the chum bag but it is reeled up before it could get at it. As the shark swims underneath the shark cage, Nigel says that he really wants to shoot up to the surface to escape but he has to pull himself together. As the Megalodon makes a pass-by, he tries to attach the camera but fails.

Nigel says that trying to attach the camera is pointless as its fin is far too high. Shortly afterwards, the Megalodon approaches the cage and tries to bite it but fails and swims away. Subsequently, Nigel gets out of the shark cage and says that he needs to attach the camera from The Ancient Mariner's metal platform and tells the crew not to reel the chum bag over the edge. As Nigel readies himself, the Megalodon erupts from the water and attacks the metal platform.

To be continued...

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