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Re: MORE ON DINOSAURS ON TV OVER XMAS



From: <darren.naish@port.ac.uk>

> 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!

Careless behaviour to be sure, but you need to watch Animal Planet and
Discovery Channel more to witness the behaviour of certain well-known
individuals around extant crocs to realise what Marven's actions were based
upon. And people think The Crocodile Hunter has been good for television?

Twenty years ago, this programme would have been made very differently. It
would have transported David Attenborough back to the Cretaceous where he'd
have remained concealed in the bushes and whispered in awed tones about the
awesome sight before him, explaining the animal's behaviour, form and
function. Instead we had a guy running around scaring large creatures
(personally, I'd have preferred Calvin and Hobbes in their time machine).
While it's tempting to blame the BBC for this shift in approach, remember
its based upon audience expectations and ratings. WWD was one of the most
popular things the BBC has done, so you can't blame them for perpetuating it
and trying different approaches.


> It's always good to know that our work as palaeontologists
> is safe in the hands of TV people (more sarcasm).

Input from palaeontologists and zoologists to these programmes is usually
limited to reconstruction of the animals, and perhaps ensuring that
behaviour and scenarios are feasible. But WWD was not made by
palaeontologists for palaeontologists - it was made for an audience weaned
on Jurassic Park and The Crocodile Hunter. In that sense, it succeeds. It's
a shame there isn't more programming aimed at a slightly different audience,
one that responds if you push them a little.

Adam