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Re: Dinosaur Revolution Review



Sim is right in that art or entertainment does not have to be
constrained by reality, even if based on it. Movie 300 was original
and entertaining as action, although with lots of improbabilities and
historical inaccuracies. But Jason is right for the educational part.
Correct me if I am wrong, but Discovery Channel is a documentary
channel (does it have a mission statement?), and I interpret
documentaries take their name by attempting to document truths. This
is why I do not much liked that show on which they tried to show true
dragons studied by science, obviating stating all the "facts" were
lies (at least in the Spanish-traslated version I observed). May it be
considered related with the difference between art and science, with
the latter being more constrained by likeliness than the former?
Differing from documentaries, movie 300 does not attempt to erect
itself as a documentary of the Thermopilae battle, just entertainment
based on it.

You can assume most people is either bright or dumb, but in my
opinion, they seem to admit scientists, as journalists, know more than
them, and commonly choose to believe in stuff for which they do not
have other arguments to oppose. They can even use documentaries as
proof of fact. So I think documentary makers should have some ethical
restrain for presenting only true, and as probably they have to
include some speculation (for example, colour dinosaurs some way, for
they cannot make them transparent, which would require an even more
unlikely speculation), a good thing may be that narrator voice (or
subtitle) indicates what are speculations. More important to science,
those speculations which imply siding with one hypothesis should be
also clearly stated.

Other thing: I would like for dinosaur documentarists to make more use
of parsimony, namely the Extant Phylogenetic Bracket, in restoring
behaviour. Some of the observed behaviours in the series more resemble
those of humans or mammals instead of these in nearer relatives as
birds, crocodiles (or just in case, turtles). For example, the
"Labrosaurus" specimen playing with the skull of the small coelurosaur
as a dog would. Some mammal-like young play is present in parrots, but
not in crocodiles, turtles, and, as far as I know, more basal modern
bird clades. Regarding antropomorphism, there is the possibility that
theropods tried to shut up animals in order to sleep, as well as
signaling the direction to look to other clan members with their
second finger. Perhaps the best reason to dismiss behavioural
anthropomorphism (which for a human are perfectly reasonable
behaviours) if we vie for verosimilitude is parsimony, on the same
grounds we should reject dog-like traits. It appears that when we
humans tend to compose characters, we tend to make them think like us,
and the EPB can help if used as a check of this.