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RE: MORE ON DINOSAURS ON TV OVER XMAS
I found the therizinosaur episode particularly frustrating. Marven took
nearly half an hour to work out that Therizinosaurus was herbivorous, when I
suspect every palaeontologist (and probably every child between the ages of
7 and 12) was on the case within 10 minutes. I found myself getting all
nostalgic for the golden days of WWD when Kenneth Branagh would have said
something along the lines of "Therizinosaurus may look fearsome with its
however-many-metres-long claws, but it is actually a plant-eater", and then
got on with showing us fantastic graphics of said dinosaur going about its
business. We had perhaps 3 minutes of it right at the end making some sort
of Edward Scissorhands-like gestures at the Tarbosaurus and that was it!
Who is Nigel Marven anyway?
The Natural History Museum
London SW7 5BD
Sent: 1/8/2003 9:50 AM
Subject: MORE ON DINOSAURS ON TV OVER XMAS
>On the Nigel Marven vs the _Sarcosuchus_ scenes from the
>WWD xmas special, Adam Britton wrote...
>[BTW this is a spoiler]
>Well you should have seen what I talked them out of. My
>role here was primarily assisting with the reconstruction so
>it looked as real as possible, and advising on what kind of
>behaviour their presenter could get away with without
>buying the farm (which he would have done according to
>their first draft!). As I only saw the storyboard and have yet
>to see the final version I'm not sure how closely they
>followed those suggestions.
>While Marven didn't buy the farm he should have. To begin
>with, he lingered dangerously close to the waterline (i.e.,
>well within lunge distance.. an extant _Crocodylus_ could
>have caught him, let alone a giant _Sarcosuchus_). To add
>insult to injury he splashed at the water surface with a big
>stick to attract the animal closer! This is where natural
>selection should have come into play and Mesozoic
>crocodyliforms should have removed anachronistic
>eutherians from the gene pool.
>I forgot to mention that the therizinosaur episode also
>featured _Protoceratops_. These were portrayed as (cue
>GSP soundbite) 'nasty little snappers' so Marven's walk
>through a nesting area was portrayed as potentially
>dangerous. How did he get round this? He fashioned a flag
>from another stick and a bit of red material and waved it
>around to distract the dinosaur's attention. How sensible;
>this is exactly what I would do (sarcasm).
>It's always good to know that our work as palaeontologists
>is safe in the hands of TV people (more sarcasm).