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RE: dinotopia is just tv

From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of John Conway

>My last post might have sounded a little harsh, and I would like to make my position clearer. I think that the dinosaurs in
>Dinotopia are are quite good.
I wish I could say the same, but that wasn't my experience.  SOME of the externals of the dinosaurs were in general good; however, nearly all failed in the particulars.  To list a few:
The manus of the Brachiosaurus: far too much elephant, not enough sauropod.  They seemed to have done the very common mistake of making the hands of the sauropods essentially the same as the feet, rather than the very unusual structures that they were.
The "hadrosaurids" seemed an amalgam of Parasaurolophus head, large dryosaurid body, and old-style theropod hands.  URK!  Having Mike Brett-Surman help out with the hadrosaur hands represents one of the earliest stages of Gurney's attempt to do "serious" (or at least accurate) dinosaur restorations in the original paintings.
The ankylosaur had molars (!?!?!?!) which were big enough for the young female lead to grasp in her whole hand, rather than the pencil-width (in a very, very large ankylosaur: in general smaller) tooth that would have to be precision-grasped between fingers and thumb.
Zippo the "troodont" had very few Troodon features; indeed, it struck me as Jar Jar Binks in a vaugely ornithomimid form.  Yes, I know: animators want fleshy faces to express emotions.  Too bad they didn't feather the individual so that they could give him eyebrows...
(One the other hand, the T. rex individuals weren't too bad at all!).
Gorgeous landscapes, really cool sets, and (for TV) great human-CG interaction.  Since (in my opinion) it was the beauty of the landscapes/buildings and the whimsical dinosaur-human interaction, rather than the plots or verisimilitude, that made the Dinotopia books interesting, I think Disney managed to capture some of that quite well. 

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