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RE: Any Feathered Dinosaurs on Video?



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Dino Ralph and the Lady
>
> Are there any commercially available dinosaur documentaries on VHS that
> show the Chinese non-avian dinosaurs which exhibit the fossilized
> remains of a filamentous integument or feathers?

I believe Horizon (the BBC science show, some of whose episodes are shown in
the U.S. as episodes of Nova or Nature, or stand alone Discovery Channel
features) did an episode on feathered dinos a year or two ago.  I haven't
seen it, but I did see them filming the _Caudipteryx_ material.

> Given that neither "Walking With Dinosaurs" nor Disney's "Dinosaur"
> chose to feature any feathered non-avian dinosaurs, I'm wondering if
> there is anything out there on video that shows something of the Yixian
> finds, either as fossils or as restorations (or both).  If not, how much
> longer will we have to wait?  (Hint, hint, documentary producers).

Very likely, years.  It takes YEARS to produce a special-effects rich
documentary: it is not the same a doing a "talking heads" special for
Horizon or Nature or Nova, where one can send a film crew to interview
scientists and get shots of the specimens.  Special effects will take just
as much time for a documentary as for a movie (okay, movie FX will often be
more detailed, but they have MUCH larger staffs to work on it!).

When WWD was in preproduction, I and a few others brought up the potential
"menace" of feathered coelurosaurs with the integumenty committee of the
project.  At the time, _Sinosauropteryx_ was the only known protofeathered
nonavian dino, and in fact at that point only the pictures Currie had at SVP
had been circulated (the Chen et al. article was still a ways off then).  So
there was still question as to what the integument actually was, but there
was the pretty damn good chance it was feather-homologues.  This implied, of
course, that possibly _Tyrannosaurus_ and definitely _Utahraptor_ and the
Lancian dromaeosaur would have been feathery.

The decision was made, however, to leave these guys scaly, because of the
ambiguity of the nature of the integument and because non-feathered
creatures are a hell of a lot easier to animate.  As time went by and the
other critters started popping out of Liaoning, the producers decided they
needed to put in some protofeathers somewhere, and so added _Ornitholestes_
with its crest.  (There was apparently some discussion about putting fuzz on
the baby _Tyrannosaurus_, too, but they decided against it).

That's the story (from my end of things) from WWD.  However, one could
strongly argue that any animated special effects of coelurosaurs being done
NOW really should have some dinofuzz.  Still, that would mean it would be
sometime before it is seen.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796