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Re: The Lost Dinosaurs Of Egypt (just seen it).
Quoting Julia Heathcote <email@example.com>:
> I saw it last night too, and completely agree with Luis. I did
> think that the whole story could have been broken up into episodes (if
> there was a demand for that) as it would have been interesting to go
> into more detail about the sediments, and the palaeoenvironment.
Much of the geology was interpreted by A&E as less interesting to
audiences than big dinosaur stuff and was cut. The early versions
didn't really resemble what you saw all that much. Much more science.
> The dig and the bits about Stromer tended to distract from each other
> a little too. The animation was good, but I cringed at the
> *Spinosaurus* wading scene - Walking With Dinosaurs is still the only
> animation to get that completely right (Jurassic Park doesn't count,
> because they used robots).
Yeah, well...again, I will cite the differences in budgets and
production times. I was pretty damn happy at the end with the
_Carcharodontosaurus_ and _Paralititan_ reconstructions, but I was
never really happy with _Spinosaurus_. The director of the program,
Jim Milio, probably has 300 emails from me on file with respect to this
(as do the guys at Rainbow Studios who did the CG).
> I saw camels at the end, but Josh wasn't on one, and there was
> no riding off into the sunset (although there were MANY sunsets!).
Hmmm...I guess that scene must have gotten removed from the final
version of the foreign edit. I guess we have a few months to wait
before that hits the air then.
> I'm very interested to know how programmes about digs are made.
> Was it the case that the cameras were with you on the expedition to
> capture the discovery, or did you go back later and film it? It
> didn't escape my notice that there were only photographs of the
> humerus in situ. Whatever the answer is, is that typical for
> dinosaur programmes? Any comments from anyone else who's involved in
> these sorts of programmes?
During the 2000 season, because everything was on such a shoe-string
budget, the film crew was only in the field with us for the first half
of the expedition. Most of the _Paralititan_ excavation occured after
they left and used photos that I took from the field and such.
But yes, the cameras were rolling when we came off the plane in Cairo
and were there with us every minute of every day during the time they
were there. Most of the interviews were done before or after back at
Penn or in Cairo. The filming took about two years overall. Two crews
came with us during the 2001 season and spent the entire 8 weeks with
us in the field. 99% of THAT footage did not appear in THIS film....
> And the visit to the mangrove swamps - is that a normal part of
> research in the USA, or was that part of the TV show, to bring the
> palaeoenvironment to life for the viewer? I'm afraid I'm incredibly
> naive when it comes to this sort of thing! My dig experience is
> sadly lacking. :-(
The Florida trip that was filmed (and they had some absolutely GRAND
footage from this that never made it to the screen sadly) was the
second of three trips we have made so far to the 10000 Islands area.
When Ken Lacovara (one of our geologists, who was well portrayed in the
film and who many of you might have heard talk about mangroves at SVP
or GSA) began to formulate the mangrove hypothesis as an explanation
for the sedimentary structures and relationships we were seeing in
Bahariya during the latter part of the 2000 season, he remembered
having spent some time in that part of Florida and thought that this
region might be a good analog for Bahariya in the Cenomanian. It had
really nothing to do with the film per se other than we sort of
demanded that they come along with us to film the stuff because we
thought it would be essental to understanding HOW we do the science.
However, no, I don't think that paleontologists spending lots of time
in modern analog candidate environments is a common theme of US
research, or of much paleo research for that matter. In my experience,
the majority of vertebrate researchers know precious little about
Department of Anthropology
18 Traymore Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
Project Director, Bahariya Dinosaur Project