[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
new BBC program(me)
Greetings all. Here is another FYI about the goings on professionally for me.
The BBC is doing another set of programs (programme for you in England) on
dinosaurs. They were here earlier in the month filming about ankylosaurs
(yeah!). Unfortunately, we filmed (again) at the core library at the US
Geological Survey. I was supposed to be looking for a box among the thousands
there on row-after-row of shelving (think: the end of Indiana Jones). Said box
had a scute of an ankylosaur and I discussed its function. They also filmed a
tail and tail club that they had provided me (Thanks BBC!). These items were
provided so that Frank Sanders and I could figure out the amount of force the
club could generate (2 ½-5 tons/sq inch). This was a natural continuation of
our work on Stegosaurus tail spike force. The results of that were presented as
a poster at SVP 2002, and the write-up in the theropod volume now at Indiana
University Press (due out early next year).
I was flown to London last Sunday (thanks BBC!) to continue filming, using a
moveable aluminum tail that they had reconstructed. The tail whacked a turkey,
which was a stunt-double for a Velociraptor (I hope the footage doesn't end up
on the cutting room floor). The turkey went flying; it did not explode as I had
hoped (maybe we should have used primer cord like Hollywood does?). A side of
pig (stand in for a larger theropod) was also whacked and that was impressive.
The ribs were fractured and the broken ends pushed into the chest cavity. They
would certainly have resulted in a punctured lung. Moral of the story:
ankylosaur tail clubs are dangerous!
The filming in England involved two versions of everything: one for BBC in
England (with an English host) and another for the Discovery Channel (US).
Regrettably, the Discovery version is greatly dumbed down at the demand of the
Discovery Channel executives. I could not say "we dissected an alligator tail"
but "we cut-up and alligator tail." Anyone notice how bad the Discovery Channel
has become? Anyone who has seen the English (BBC) and US (Discovery)versions of
Walking with Dinosaurs will know what I mean. Write to the Discovery Channel
and complain; we are not stupid and we have an attention span greater than 5
There had been other filming there involving reconstructed Triceratops and T
rex skulls (no, they were not interacting), as well as a Velociraptor foot. But
since those are not my stories, I won't elaborate (consider it a tease).
Naturally, once the new shows air (next year), there will be the usual
arm-chair paleontologist criticisms. But the shows are trying to separate what
we know from what is speculation, and does try to "test" hypotheses with
working models (hence the reconstruction). So try to view them as "half-full"
rather than "half-empty", know what I mean?
Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D.
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology &
Dept. of Earth Sciences
Denver Museum of Natural History
2001 Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80205
For fun: http://dino.lm.com/artists/display.php?name=Kcarpenter