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RE: Featherless Velociraptor on Nat'l Geographic Channel Feb. 8

I have not seen it yet because it has only just started showing in the UK,
but Dinosaur Secrets (Jurassic Fight Club) also appears to have naked
raptors.  It is all about budgets I suspect, with few programmes spending as
much as the original and still the best, Walking With Dinosaurs.

WWD is 10 years old in October.  I would love to see it getting an up to
date makeover.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ralph Miller [mailto:ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu] 
Sent: 24 January 2009 19:02
To: VRTPALEO@usc.edu
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: RE: Featherless Velociraptor on Nat'l Geographic Channel Feb. 8

Apparently documentaries have to use CG because it's "state of the art."
Too bad the state of the art wasn't up to the requirements of the program!
Feathers have certainly been simulated beautifully in CG, but only when
facilitated by ample budgets and schedules PLUS CG companies capable of
producing feathers.  Maybe the budget, the schedule, and the CG studio's
capabilities should be carefully considered before contracts are signed.
Imagine that.

Anyone who has been keeping up with current Mesozoic events must recognize
that the naked dromaeosaur hypothesis has been soundly refuted by fossil
evidence.  Furthermore, a documentary that is explicitly about the
dinosaurian origin of birds _must_ present dromaeosaurs as feathered because
the presence of feathers and the metabolic implications of this
characteristic are among the most compelling arguments for the dinosaurian
origin of birds.  Moreover, lay people find it much easier to visualize and
accept the transition from non-avialian theropods to flying birds --- the
"morphing" that is itself the very title of the program -- when they see
feathers on the dromaeosaurs.  Leaving feathers out of the picture defeats
the whole purpose of the show.  You might as well omit flippers from
discussions of whale evolution.

Ralph W. Miller III
Docent at the California Academy of Sciences
Dinosaur and Fossil Education
Member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
-----Original Message-----
Brad McFeeters writes:

Perhaps the documentary producers should stop insisting that all dinosaur
animations be CG!  Do you think it would be much of an added challenge to
make feathered dinosaurs look good in stop-motion animation?