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Dinosaur Planet, parts 3 & 4



Some observations of the the South American and European episodes of
Dinosaur Planet.  Again, much was good with the show.  However, picking nits
is more interesting, so...:

Actually, a general nit to pick: very few animations of theropods get the
lower jaw correct, and this  was no exception.  The lateral surface of the
lower jaw fits enirely within the tooth row of the upper jaw! Harumph!

The manus of Saltasaurus, like the manus of nearly all animated sauropods,
was too broad.

There is now a cliche of the "hordes of newly hatched sauropods running for
saftey in the trees" sequence, for which there is NO positive evidence.
Simplest assumption by phylogeny: sauropod parents stayed near their own
young through hatching into the first few weeks of life.

The abelisaurs did not have the forward facing nares that characterizes
Ceratosauria.  But, fair enough: I can't remember any animation that shows
that.

Carcharodontosaurids make unlikely neck-crunchers (although, fair enough:
sauropod vertebrae are not the most robust bony elements out there!).

SEMs of egg surfaces are not teeth.

That's RHABDODON! Not Iguanodon!!  (Hypothesis: the narrator had problems
saying "Rhab-do-don", so they made it something easier.)  Even on the
website the images are labeled "Iguanodon", but the etymology given is
"fluted tooth".

That was a pretty darn big head for an elasmosaurid!

Pack hunting would seem to be an adaptation that would be selected against
on island communities.

On the inhabitants of the Hateg Island: it was a continental island, not a
volcanic one, so its inhabitants would largely be descendants of the
original inhabitants of that region, rather than rafted immigrants.

And speaking of the latter, a sequence worthy of Paleoworld: talking about
the case of the Caribbean rafted iguanas, while showing the Galapagos marine
iguana...

                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