Dinosaur dvds for the paleontologist in you
Happy New Year, everyone! Getting rid of our satellite tv was made easier by the documentaries and stuff that we tend to prefer watching. Here are 3 dinosaur dvds for the paleontologist in all of us.
- Dinosaur Planet – Real Big Stories: A thoroughly enjoyable set of 4 stories with a twist – the dinosaurs are given names like White Tip, Pod and Firefly, and each episode explains facts about the dinosaurs within the framework of a story. In one, the velociraptor White Tip’s pack is killed and she must survive on her own. In another, a small theropod named Dass is taught to hunt by his family. Periodically, they shift away from the story to a paleontologist who explains why they think some dinosaurs hunted in packs, how fast a T-Rex can run due to bone structure and muscle mass and so forth. It’s educational, but I found myself sucked into the stories of dinosaurs learning and surviving. Err, I mean M found himself sucked into the stories
- Walking with Dinosaurs: The series that started it all and made computer-animated dinosaurs the norm. These episodes are like traditional nature documentaries, with a slower pacing and thoughtful narrative. Like the old Mutual of Omaha shows, you see what meat-eaters do to catch and eat their foods just like you see the plant-eaters nibble on leaves and plants. Care is taken to describe the hows and whys of dinosaur behavior, but without any mention of fossils or explanations as to how their conclusions were derived. There are six episodes in all, covering the beginnings of the dinosaurs, sauropods, sea creatures, flying creatures, cold climate dinosaurs and the extinction of the dinosaurs.
- Chased By Dinosaurs: This one was a surprise – we figured it would be good since it was made by the BBC, but it was much more entertaining than we expected. It’s a cross between The Crocodile Hunter (RIP :-() and The Time Machine. Zoologist Nigel Marven has the task of travelling back in time to study dinosaurs. He has to be careful as being around the dinosaurs means tempting fate – sharp-toothed fate. It’s all in good fun and even though we know he’s acting, his enthusiasm is obvious and infectious. The big bonus for us was the inclusion of the 3 part Chased by Sea Monsters which is even cooler than the 2 dinosaur-oriented episodes. The biggest carnivores were not found on land and seeing Nigel (yes, we’re on a first-name basis with him now :-P) in round cage underwater, trying to get the creatures to eat something is rather amusing. It also has some cool animations going back and forth along a timeline. I would have totally eaten these up when I was a kid, and thankfully I never really grew up.