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RE: What do you hate about dino-docs?
A few of my beefs:
Incorrect reconstructions, or, paraphrasing Gregory S. Paul, the skeleton
can't be fitted into the restoration.
Old errors repeated. Example: hadrosaurs chewing like cattle with a lateral
component to the jaw movement, not just shown as such, but this movement
highlighted as an animated cineradiograph, and described as the innovation
that enabled efficient oral processing in hadrosaurs, in "When Dinosaurs
Roamed America." Have they no shame?
Feathers. Way too few feathers on the theropods. "Walking With Dinosaurs"
and all its follow-ups rarely show feathers on coelurosaurs. That's why I'm
boycotting "Walking with Dinosaurs, the Live Experience" (as if they care
what I think)! It's like showing someone a photo of the (nearly)
featherless chickens bred in Tel Aviv and telling them that this is what
typical chickens look like. "Dinosaur Planet"'s "White Tip's Journey"
segment provides the best CG image of _Velociraptor_ to date, in my opinion.
Show us the Jehol Biota! "Prehistoric Park" featured a few Liaoning
critters, but some of these weren't very well done. I would like to see the
Jehol flora and fauna recreated in all its diversity, as there is abundant
fossil evidence for restoring the plants and animals in vivid detail, and
even evidence for lots of trophic interactions, i. e. who was eating whom!
As much as I love well done CG, I would like to see the pendulum swing back
a bit so that we also see paleontologists presenting what the fossils tell
us about the appearance and behavior of the animals as well as the regional
paleoecology, so we have some idea about the actual basis for the amazing CG
action. And would it be too much to ask for an admission that certain
aspects were, shall we say, speculative? Apparently.
All that being said, it's nice to see how far we've come since "Dinosaurs:
the Terrible Lizards."
Dino Guy Ralph
Docent at the California Academy of Sciences
Dinosaur and Fossil Education
Member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology