The Ballad of Big Al (distributed as Allosaurus: a Walking with Dinosaurs Special) is a combination biography-sequel for Walking with Dinosaurs . It focuses on an Allosaurus (Allosaurus fragilis) named Big Al and his constant struggle to survive in a world filled with danger.
Animals featured are:
- Anurognathus (identified as a pterosaur)
- Brachiosaurus (unidentified)
- lizard (live-acted)
- salamander (live-acted)
- scorpion (live-acted)
- dragonflies (live-acted)
- flies (live-acted)
The special begins at the University of Wyoming, showing the bones of a sauropod followed by an Allosaurus named Big Al. The film then travels back in time showing a nest containing some eggs. Al and his siblings hatch and are helped out of the nest by their mother. She brings them to a river bank and the hatchlings start to hunt for insects. When the mother leaves the hatchlings temporarily, a year-old Allosaurus comes and kills one of them.
Al is then shown at two years old. He is trying to hunt a flock of Dryosaurus. He hasn't yet learned how to ambush so he fails to kill one of the swifter, smaller dinosaurs. Later, he snatches a lizard from a branch. Al comes across a dead stegosaurus and an Allosaurus struggling to get out of sticky mud. Meanwhile, another Allosaurus also gets stuck. She struggles to free herself, but fails. The Allosaurus are stuck forever and die.
Five years pass, and a herd of Diplodocus are migrating across a prehistoric salt lake. Al is joined by several other Allosaurus and they attempt to bring a weak member of the herd down. Once the herd left the sick "Diplodocus" the "Allosaurs" gather. Al is struck down by the neck of the Diplodocus.
A year passes by, and Al is shown drinking at a pond. He discovers the scent of a female Allosaurus. She is not interested, but he gets to close. She finally injures his arm and breaking his ribs, and deforming his right hand, though Al is lucky enough to escape with his life. Later the dry season comes, and Al is attempting to hunt a flock of Dryosaurus. Whilst ambushing them, he trips on a log, and badly breaks his right middle toe. As the dry season turns to a drought, Al's inflamed injury gets worse and soon, unable to hunt, he dies in a dried-up riverbed, where two hatchling Allosaurus are hunting for bugs and come across his carcass. He is said not to have reached full size, dying as a mature adolescent.
A "making of" documentary was made called "Big Al Uncovered". It focuses on the discovery and pathologies of the Allosaurus specimen nicknamed Big Al.
Critical Reaction Edit
American and Book Versions Edit
The American version was renamed Allosaurus: A Walking with Dinosaurs Special, along with combining the evidence with Al's life. Also they took out the one of the trapped Allosaurus and the birds and reptiles behavior, and shots of Al living in the 21st Century.
A children's book was made, called Allosaurus! The Life and Death of Big Al, and it differs from both the American and UK versions in some aspects.
- Al's sibling was killed by a male Allosaurus on the show, while it was killed by an Ornitholestes in book.
- The Stegosaurus was shown dead in the show, while it was alive and struggling (trying to fight off the Allosaurus pair) and soon died in the book.
- Al tripped on a log in the show, while he tripped on mount of dirt in the book.
The BBC launched an online Role-Playing Game involving Big Al.