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RE: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
> Luis Rey
> Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 8:02 PM
> Subject: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs
> Second (and most serious of all)... why was the mechanical
> reconstruction of the T. rex skull done in steel while the same of
> Triceratops was resin?

Theatrics, I suspect. An all-steel T. rex is so much cooler! (as evidenced
by the fact that nearly all of the list discussion has been about the T.
rex, not the other critter!)

> The  supraorbital horns were covered in a hard material (that
> sharpened them and added resistance) while the nose horn was blunt
> and left as the rest of the resin skull (that is without covering).
> Needless to say the  frontal horns perforated the "belly" without
> problem but  the snout  couldn't withstand the impact and broke off
> in spectacular fashion... thus "proving" that Triceratops couldn't
> charge at full speed!
> Not only the full speed charge of the dummy  ignored the flexibility
> of the muscles and articulation of a real animal, it was unfairly
> unbalanced too!
> It seems that those experiments were pretended more like a gimmick
> without participation of any scientist... so that may have been the
> reason (or shall I say the "non reason").

Of course--it was totally television! After the filming for the Triceratops
charge (which was completed at MIRA, the big British crash-test facility),
one of the engineers on hand asked me if I thought I'd get any good data out
of the test. I shrugged my shoulders and said it made better television than
science. He said he was glad to hear me say that.

My main involvement with the "test" prior to filming was an opinion on a
possible top speed for a Triceratops.

But hey, it was still fun to see this in person! The whole experience was
quite surreal. Quite honestly, 15 mph looks a lot slower than I thought it
would (having witnessed the test). And I rather agree, at least on a
visceral level, that a "bull-like" flick of the horns vs. a full-on charge
is more likely. But who knows. . .it's ultimately, largely untestable!

> Flawed fun, but fun nevertheless. Much better than many other shows I
> have seen. Looking forward to see next week's Velociraptor chapter,

It was totally fun to be involved in the filming. The folks involved in the
program had a bit of a better head on their shoulders than other TV types
I've dealt with in the past, too. I feel like I was able to actually get
them to take a semi-conservative stance on some things!

Haven't seen the program yet, but am waiting for my copy. Should have
further comments then.

Back to work,

Andy "I take no responsibility for what happened to me in editing" Farke