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Re: New BBC series research

Alex Freeman's message got truncated for some of us. Here is it again (with my comments below):


Hi - I've just joined the Dino mailing list for the first time, and
would like to introduce myself.  Firstly, apologies for those also on
the vrt paleo mailing list who already know me and have already heard of
the new series I'm working on.

I'm working at the BBC Science department, starting research on a new
series on vertebrate palaeontology (mostly dinosaurs, but other mesozoic
creatures will be covered).  It will feature CGI animation, but also at
least 50% of the programme will be on the actual research, showing what
we can tell from a fossil, and how (we want to showcase a variety of

We're trying to avoid the 'Usual Suspects' (T rex and the like), and
feature less well-known (by the public at least) beasts and recent
discoveries.  Having said that, the usual TV requirements will not go
away - big, fierce, and weird are all winners!

So, I'd love to hear from anyone about their 'favourite' beast which
they think deserves the limelight, stunning fossils that tell us a lot
about a particular species, group, or environment, unusual techniques
that are revealing new findings - anything, really!  At this stage it is
almost carte blanche.

I can't tell you all too much about the series apart from the above, for
commercial confidentiality reasons.  It is pretty well-funded (we hope
to be able to film fossils wherever they are) and is a co-production
between the BBC and a US channel, with worldwide distribution.  Feel
free to Google me if you want to know more about my credentials - I
don't want to fill up your inboxes unnecessarily!  I'm not a
palaeontologist, but I have a biology background.

Thanks for your time,



I must say, that's wonderful. I don't know where to start with suggestions. Triassic marine (trematosaurid) and possibly euryhaline (metoposaurid, cyclotosaurid, plagiosaurid) temnospondyls? (The plagiosaurid *Gerrothorax* recently became famous as the toilet-lid animal.) Dinosaurs like *Limusaurus* or neovenatorids or the insanely bizarre *Nigersaurus*? *Sinoconodon* (which was a lot bigger than most people seem to think, and not as crown-mammal-like)? Jurassic tyrannosauroids (*Proceratosaurus*, *Guanlong*, perhaps *Tanycolagreus*)? *Leedsichthys*? *Neoceratodus africanus*, the lungfish whose size is open-ended? (Ask Paul Sereno about the dinosaurs and crocodiles that lived around it.) *Mawsonia* and *Megalocoelacanthus*? Terrestrial crocodiles? Omnivorous and herbivorous terrestrial crocodiles? Marine crocodiles from *Teleosaurus* and *Steneosaurus* over *Metriorhynchus* to *Dakosaurus*? *Eocaecilia*? Noterpetontid salamanders... well, their fossils are utterly unphotogenic...but the Chinese salamanders (some, probably all, of which are cryptobranchoid) would kick ass on camera. Cretaceous marine squamates (mosasaurs, dolichosaurs, whatnots, *Adriosaurus*, snakes)? Cretaceous terrestrial snakes, monstersaurians ( = total-group helodermatids) and goannasaurians ( = total-group varanids)? Sphenodontians -- *Pleurosaurus*, *Ankylosphenodon*, *Priosphenodon*, *Cynosphenodon*? Triassic ichthyosaurs? And if it goes down to the Middle Triassic: chroniosuchians?

In short, I'm trying to suggest an overview over the wide wondrous diversity of vertebrates in four dimensions.