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Joking With Dinosaurs
I remember my first meetings with Tim Haines, the coordinator of BBC
"Walking With Dinosaurs". We were discussing anatomical details and colour
The policy of the new dinosaur TV series was to give "certainty to people".
I wondered since when Paleontology could be considered an 'exact' science.
I have just started watching the series (and studying the book that comes
with it) and certainty is something definitively in the agenda: the only
words absent from last night TV programme were 'possibly', 'perhaps' or
So we can be certain now that Postosuchus urinated like a cow (when we all
know that reptiles or birds don't); that couples of cynodonts mated for
life (after all we descended from them and we all know that humans are
monogamous... ha.); that animals do all sorts of noises while being wary of
predators; that T.rex has plated skin or that Ornitholestes had a varanid
face with a horn etc.etc.
By the way, originally Ornitholestes was going to be feathered, but they
chickened-out it seems... too revolutionary. Lizards, we need lizards!
But some of the best information pearls come in the book: now we know that
Brachiosaurus ate fruit (maybe those conifers were already producing
mangoes) or that Stegosaurus was seven meters tall(!)
And I have just started to read it. Surely there will be more 'certainties'.
Artistically speaking I can foresee that the next time I'm doing a drawing
session for children at the BMNH, the children are not only going to come
complaining: "T.rex IS NOT that colour" but now "T. rex HAS a Godzilla
The BBC is once again giving us certainty. Of what, it is uncertain.
I'm specially sorry for Mike Benton or my friend David Martill or the rest
of paleo-consultants. They put their names in it and now they are going to
be blamed, when we know they are NOT to blame.
Darren Naish is looking for more juicy details into the series, so look
forward for his next post.
Once again, a series that could have become a landmark is a triumph of
special effects wizzardy over substance. But then, who cares... "they are
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