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RE: DINOSAURS ON TV OVER XMAS & The Future is Superlative

> From: darren.naish@port.ac.uk [mailto:darren.naish@port.ac.uk]
> BTW, Dale Russell was the technical advisor for the
> therizinosaur episode and Adam Britton, Tom Holtz and Per
> Christiansen were advisors for the 'Land of Giants' one. Not
> that they were to blame you understand:)

In fact, I was called (on the phone) for comments about this one a couple or
three years ago.  (I haven't seen these yet, but did hear about the concept
of putting a presenter into them at the time).

As for The Future is Wild...  I'll be interested in seeing the original BBC
version of this sometime, since what we got in America is the usual cable
hack job.  There were entire biomes cut out of the show (the Mediterranean
Basin at the -5 Ma time slice; the Antarctic Forest at the -100 Ma time
slice); many of the details of the biology of the animals were removed (for
example, the heterchronic timeshift of the bumblebeetle reproductive cycle;
the evolution of pseudoflowers in the coralline red algae); and the addition
of silly superlatives and other attempts to make it Extreme Biology (e.g.,
hyping up the predatory daytime bats when in fact they are about as
**!!EXTREME!!** as a redtailed hawk.).

The worst, for me, in the Americanization was getting stuff just plain
wrong.  These include the use of Quetzalcoatlus to show an early bird
(eek!!), talking about how the showy rainbow squid has his "pick of the
ladies" when in fact it is clearly a bunch of males showing off to a single
female, and the like.

I've got the book on order, and that looks a lot more entertaining;
something more like the original After Man (still a favorite after all these

P.S.  I was glad that Dixon was able to slip in another Tolkien name into
his creations (Shagrat, which is not only a good description of giant rodent
with muskox fur but was also the orc captain of Cirith Ungol).  In After Man
there is a toad with a tongue shaped like an earthworm, which it uses to
lure in prey.  It's genus name is, of course, _Grima_...

                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