Spinosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus Lead the Way in New BBC Television Series

Well, the first episode of the new BBC series “Planet Dinosaur” has hit the ground running with an insightful and informative trip to the Cretaceous of North Africa (Albian to Cenomanian faunal stage).  One of the objectives of this new six-part series was to bring viewers up to date with dinosaur discoveries that have been made in the years since “Walking with Dinosaurs” was first aired.  We were intrigued to see how the narration would work with the narrator, the distinguished actor John Hurt, providing a voice over to the CGI action as well as commentating on the parts of the programme that focused on the research.  The difficulty we envisaged was how the factual evidence from institutions such as the Chicago Field Museum would be blended with the story-telling.  The production team have managed to merge the dynamic CGI footage with the vertebrate palaeontology upon which the story-lines were based; effectively.

The two big stars were of the apex predators Carcharodontosaurus and the more colourfully decorated Spinosaurus (loved the flashy red patches on the snout and skull).  The thrust of the programme dealt with how these predators would have interacted.  A nice touch was the Spinosaurus catching the Pterosaur and we enjoyed the sequence with the Spinosaur fishing, behaving something like a fifteen metre-plus Grizzly.

A quick mention for the musical score (Ilan Eshkeri) which we did not find as intrusive as we feared.  However, one comment – “talk about red in tooth and claw”.  The action was somewhat visceral and whilst we accept the need for authenticity in such programmes we wondered whether all the predation and fighting would frighten younger viewers.

The Spinosaurus featured, was an elongate form, not the robust bruiser from the Jurassic Park trilogy.  We thought this interpretation favoured those Spinosaurus replicas that were made by Safari Ltd and Collecta with their recent introductions of Spinosaurus replicas into their model ranges.

To view the models available from Everything Dinosaur including Spinosaurus: Dinosaur Toys

The ferocious carnivore Sarcosuchus was an interesting addition, showing the diversity of Crocodyliforms in the Cretaceous fossil record.  This particular prehistoric predator has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest crocodile of all time.

Can’t wait for episode two – off to China to view the arboreal antics of feathered dinosaurs and their cursorial cousins – Theropods behaving like Aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis) anyone?

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