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NEOVENATOR ON TV (Darren Naish)



Sender: "Darren Naish" <dwn194@soton.ac.uk>
Subject: NEOVENATOR ON TV

Hi, I'm back. Have missed out on weeks of mail, but I'll live.

Yes, I have been confused as to the presence of a sickle-clawed bird (*not*
_Vorona_) on Madagascar. Norm - your 'sand bears' are _Protoceratops_ I think,
though I recall the illustration including an ankylosaur, perhaps
_Pinacosaurus_. My initial vision was of a giant predatory tardigrade,
galumphing across the Cretaceous Gobi in search of a troodont snack.

NEOVENATOR

Part IV of 'The Great Dinosaur Trail' last week had Steve Hutt discussing
carnivorous dinosaurs on the Isle of Wight, and he spoke all about his 'new'
find while photos of the skull were put up on the screen. They were accompanied
by the caption: 'Newsflash: _Neovenator salerii_'. Well, now that it's been on
TV, I'm within my rights to put it (the name) on the internet. Steve created the
name about a year ago, but it still has yet to appear in print.

WARNING: DINOSAUR TV SERIES ARE BAD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Part V featured the Jurassic Park ride. As scary and awesome as the ride itself
may be, and as incredibly sophisticated and impressive the robotics are, the
dinosaurs are crap. They look like cartoon dinosaurs: chubby, dumpy, and with
broad heads and tubby bodies. The _Stegosaurus_ is the greatest offender,
looking just like something out of _Land Before Time_. Yet the people that make
these things assure us that they consulted thoroughly with palaeontologists. Oh
yeah?

I have to say that this series is really beginning to annoy me. They mislead
you, but the sad thing is I think it's unintentional. For example, a good five
minutes are spent showing a fossil dig, accompanied with narration about
dinosaur this, dinosaur that. A scute and snout end shows the fossil to be a
crocodile, something we are not told till the end of the sequence. Nothing wrong
with crocodiles of course, but this hardly tells the viewer much about
dinosaurs. As for factual errors - well, don't get me started. All dinosaurs,
it was said, were 'exothermic' (though later it was suggested that some may not
have been): this is absolutely the wrong word, and applies to chemical reactions
rather than physiological conditions in animals (yes?). The Hoatzin is _not_
'the only bird to have claws', as anyone who has prepared a chicken carcass will
tell you. And, BTW, hoatzin is pronounced 'whattzin', not 'hoe-at-zin'.

Anyway, don't mind me.

As for tuataras, a single healthy male found on North Island earlier this year
has lead to suggestions of a surviving mainland population!

"Welcome to Earth"

DARREN NAISH