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RE: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs

Hmm... there's a lot in that, but at the same time I'd have to say that
in terms of popularity, something like the Blue Planet does manage to
hold its own against the dodgy Australian idiot who tries to get bitten
by various deadly creatures, and I'm sure that in a few years time, only
the Blue Planet will continue to generate repeat fees...

People won't accept a T.Rex walking upright, or an Apatosaurus attacking
a mammoth, but they probably would have in the 70's.  I think you're
right that people want to see what they expect, but they also expect to
have their expectations challenged.  The upshot of all these
documentaries is to make the audience more sophisticated in their
expectations (albeit by smaller increments than we'd like) and I'm sure
there will be more palaeontologists in the future because of this kind
of TV.

I'd put Conan Doyle's The Lost World as one of the inspirations of my
interest - even though the science of the book was 90 years out of date
when I read it....  

Incorrect facts can be challenged, but they only ever will be if
interest is created in the first place.

Christian Darkin


From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] On Behalf
Of Craven, David
Sent: 31 August 2005 11:22
To: christian@darkin.demon.co.uk; '-Dinosaur Mailing List-'
Subject: RE: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs

The problem is, people don't necessarily want to see realistic
They want to see the behaviour they expect.

So even if all the dinosaurs look "monstrous" and are of the same
it's not going to be the animals behaving realistically they want, it's
going to be the animals behaving monstrously!

I'll guarantee that for many, the best bit of the Killer Dinos programme
will have been the steel T.rex eating the Mini. Just because it is
engaging and "cool".

A programme showing dinosaurs engaged in social behaviour, parenting
behaviour, engaging peacefully will always come second to one that shows
animals tearing lumps out of each other, realistically or not.

David Craven

-----Original Message-----
From: Christian Darkin [mailto:christian@darkin.demon.co.uk] 
Sent: 31 August 2005 09:48
To: '-Dinosaur Mailing List-'
Subject: RE: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs

But this is basic Darwin.  There's a competition between T.Rex's built
for the media, and it's not a competition between models and scientific
reality.  What's operating here is a natural selection where viewers are
food, and that favours the more monstrous whether you're looking at
T.rex or Gerry Springer.

The only thing that will change that is an audience which values
intelligence and accuracy above sensationalism....  and rather oddly, it
occurs to me that this is exactly what the current dinosaur programmes
are encouraging - people are becoming more educated because it's great
fun watching T.Rex attacking a Triceratops, and once the dinosaurs in
competing shows are of roughly equal monstrousness, the public idea of
what's believable ought to shift towards what behaviours make sense
rather than what the monster looks like (as it has in the
palaeontologist community over the last 100 years).

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