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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?


Julia Heathcote
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 5BD

-----Original Message-----
From: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Cc: abritton@wmi.com.au
Sent: 1/8/2003 9:50 AM

>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).