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/Famous Figures

Important and influential figures in science or from other related areas concerning dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.

8 05, 2020

Happy Birthday Sir David Attenborough

By | May 8th, 2020|Animal News Stories, Famous Figures, Main Page, TV Reviews|0 Comments

Happy Birthday Sir David Attenborough

Today, May 8th, is Sir David Attenborough’s birthday.  Sir David Attenborough has enjoyed the best part of seventy years as a broadcaster, narrator and television presenter.  His energy and enthusiasm for the natural world shows no sign of deteriorating despite him being just six years short of his centenary.  Over recent years, the veteran broadcaster has become an active campaigner raising awareness about climate change, global warming and the impact of our species on the planet.  He remains as busy as ever, with the BBC producing a new five-part television series narrated by Sir David, highlighting how natural forces such as ocean currents, seismic activity, sunshine and volcanoes contribute to maintaining a sustainable natural world.  A source close to Everything Dinosaur has stated that the series is entitled “A Perfect Planet”.

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough.

A gentleman and a scholar.  Sir David Attenborough is 94 years old today.

Many Happy Returns

The television programmes will also highlight how some animals such as snub-nosed monkeys, wolves and bears are having to adapt as the world around them changes.  Birdlife from the Galapagos islands including vampire finches will also feature in the series.

Commenting on the significance of these programmes, Sir David stated that:

“To preserve our perfect planet we must ensure we become a force for good”.

The fifth and final episode will look at how our species has impacted upon the environment and the billions of other organisms that share our world.

Sir David added:

“Our planet is one in a billion, a world teeming with life.  But now, a new dominant force is changing the face of Earth: humans”.

Team members have been lucky enough to have corresponded with Sir David Attenborough, he remains as enthusiastic as ever and passionate about conservation.  Many happy returns Sir David, stay safe, keep well.

Sir David Attenborough – A Nonagenarian Passionately Campaigning to Raise Awareness About Climate Change

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough veteran naturalist and broadcaster.  An active campaigner raising awareness about climate change and global warming.

Picture Credit: BBC

7 03, 2020

Happy Birthday Zhao Chuang

By | March 7th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Famous Figures, Main Page|0 Comments

Happy Birthday Zhao Chuang

Today, we celebrate the birthday of renowned Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang, one of the leading lights behind scientific illustrations in Chinese scientific literature.  Fans of dinosaur and prehistoric animal models will also be aware of his work through the PNSO product line and their range of museum quality figures.

Celebrating the Contribution to Scientific Illustration of Zhao Chuang

Compsognathus illustration by Chuang Zhao.

A beautiful feathered Compsognathus catches its lunch (artwork by Zhao Chuang).

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang/Everything Dinosaur

Illustrating Many Scientific Papers

This palaeoartist has been tasked with illustrating a number of scientific papers and press releases.  Interpreting scientific data and helping to depict a long extinct animal, place it within the context of the fossil discovery and in essence, to bring the animal back to life.  The picture (above), illustrates a Compsognathus.  It is shown as a brightly coloured, feathered dinosaur.  The artist is helping to promote the idea that far from being slow, sluggish animals, many dinosaurs were very bird-like.

Illustrating Ancient Landscapes and Ecosystems

The Late Cretaceous of northern China

Northern China in the Late Cretaceous.  A dromaeosaurid (left) takes evasive action as a herd of hadrosaurs approach the waterhole.  An armoured dinosaur (Pinacosaurus grangeri), has nothing to fear from the duck-billed dinosaurs or the small theropod but decides it is time to leave as well.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

It was Zhao Chuang who created all the spectacular prehistoric artwork that was put on display as part of the “Dinosaurs of China – Ground Shakers to Feathered Flyers” exhibition in Nottingham (England).  As a palaeoartist at the Peking Natural Science-Art Organisation (PNSO), Zhao Chuang has worked with numerous members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and he has also collaborated with dozens of leading scientists from other research institutions around the world.  His work has been published in many academic publications.

Many happy returns.

19 02, 2020

José Bonaparte – The Father of Palaeontology in Argentina (1928-2020)

By | February 19th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Famous Figures, Main Page|18 Comments

José Bonaparte (1928-2020)

Today’s blog post is dedicated to José Bonaparte, one of the greatest palaeontologists of the 20th Century and regarded as the “Father of Argentinian Palaeontology”, who has passed away.  He died yesterday (18th February), at the age of 91.  Social media has been filled with tributes to this dedicated, passionate and influential scientist, who was such an inspiration to a whole generation of palaeontologists.

José Fernando Bonaparte (1928-2020)

José Bonaparte - the father of palaeontology in Argentina.

José Bonaparte (1928-2020).

Picture Credit: Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”

El Padre de la Paleontología en la Argentina

Respected and admired by many professional palaeontologists, the self-taught José Bonaparte was regarded as a workaholic and a tough taskmaster, but perhaps, he more than anybody else is responsible for introducing the remarkable vertebrate fossils found in Argentina to the rest of the world.  Dinosaur palaeontologist Peter Dodson stated that “almost single-handedly he’s responsible for Argentina becoming the sixth country in the world in kinds of dinosaurs”.

His legacy will live on and his contribution will continue to be recognised, for example, last year alone there were something like ten new genera of non-avian dinosaurs described from fossil remains found in Argentina.

Bonaparte, who spent the majority of his career as head of the Vertebrate Palaeontology Division of the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, in Buenos Aires was responsible for, or at least played a significant role in the study of iconic dinosaurs – famous animals such as Carnotaurus, Amargasaurus, Abelisaurus, Argentinosaurus, Noasaurus and numerous others.  He made many other hugely important discoveries such as the finding of the first fossilised remains of Mesozoic South American mammals and he was amongst the first scientists to lead the “dinosaur revolution” inspired by Ostrom in the 1970’s.

Robert Bakker nicknamed Bonaparte the “Master of the Mesozoic” (Maestro del Mesozoico).  He was responsible for training a generation of palaeontologists, many of which are now regarded as leaders in the field – scientists such as Luis Chiappe, Rodolfo Coria, Agustín Martinelli, Fernando Novas, Jaime Powell, Guillermo Rougier, Leonardo Salgado, Sebastián Apesteguía and many others.

El Maestro del Mesozoico – José Bonaparte (1928-2020)

José Bonaparte "El Maestro del Mesozoico".

José Bonaparte (1928-2020) the “father of Argentinian palaeontology”

Picture Credit: Télam

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” in the compilation of this article.

2 08, 2019

A Jinzhousaurus in Trouble

By | August 2nd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Famous Figures, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

A Jinzhousaurus in Trouble

Continuing our occasional series, in which we post up illustrations from renowned palaeoartists, today, we feature a dramatic scene as depicted by the well-known Chinese artist Zhao Chuang.  An unfortunate Jinzhousaurus is being attacked by a flock of “raptors”.  The fast-running theropods will not find the Jinzhousaurus easy prey, Jinzhousaurus was strongly built and at over five metres long and weighing perhaps as much as three-quarters of a tonne, it was a formidable opponent.

Zhao Chuang’s Illustration of the Jinzhousaurus Attacked by Dromaeosaurids

Jinzhousaurus under attack from "raptors". An illustration by Zhao Chuang.

A Jinzhousaurus under attack from a flock of “raptors”.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang (PNSO)

Jinzhousaurus yangi

Named and described in 2001, Jinzhousaurus (J. yangi) is known from an almost complete skeleton (including cranial material) from north-eastern China (Yixian Formation, Liaoning Province).  The exact taxonomic position of Jinzhousaurus remains controversial.  The skeletal material ascribed to this genus shows a mix of basal and more advanced characteristics.  At first it was thought that this Ornithischian was related to the likes of Dollodon, Mantellodon from Europe and Bolong (B. yixianensis) from north-eastern China.  It was described as an iguanodontoid, however, more recent analysis places Jinzhousaurus as a member of the Hadrosauroidea Superfamily.

Which Dromaeosaurid or Troodontid?

There is certainly no shortage of candidates as to which dromaeosaurid or troodontid might be depicted in this illustration.  The Maniraptora is well represented in these Early Cretaceous deposits.  However, as Jinzhousaurus is confined to the Dawangzhangzi Beds section of the Yixian Formation, this does narrow the field somewhat. It could be Sinornithosaurus, but as this genus is regarded as one of the smallest of the dromaeosaurids, then unless the Jinzhousaurus in the artwork is a juvenile, this seems unlikely.  It could be an as yet, unnamed member of the Maniraptora whose fossils have yet to be formally described.  Perhaps the attacking “raptors” are a flock of Zhenyuanlong dromaeosaurs.

An Illustration of the Early Cretaceous Dromaeosaurid Zhenyuanlong suni

Zhenyuanlong illustrated.

Very probably a ground-dwelling predator.  An illustration of the dromaeosaurid Zhenyuanlong suni.  This artwork was also created by the talented Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

Zhenyuanlong suni

Zhenyuanlong is one of several dromaeosaurid genera from Liaoning Province, for an article that compares these various dinosaurs and comments on whether they were ground-dwelling or otherwise: Updating the Winged Dragon.

To read an article about the scientific description of Zhenyuanlong suniNew Winged Dragon from Liaoning Province.

Although Zhenyuanlong was only recently named and scientifically described, there is already a prehistoric animal figure available that represents this dinosaur.  In fact, in the Beasts of the Mesozoic model series, there are two Zhenyuanlong figures available.  Our congratulations to the team behind these wonderful display pieces for being so quick off the mark when it comes to adding new dromaeosaurids to their “raptor” range.

Not One but Two Zhenyuanlong suni Figures are Available in the Beasts of the Mesozoic Range

Beasts of the Mesozoic "raptor" figures - Zhenyuanlong suni.

Beasts of the Mesozoic Zhenyuanlong suni “raptor” figures.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Zhenyuanlong figures and the rest of the splendid Beasts of the Mesozoic series: Beasts of the Mesozoic Prehistoric Animal Figures.

18 01, 2019

Supporting Women in Science

By | January 18th, 2019|Educational Activities, Famous Figures, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Supporting Women in Science

Whilst preparing to undertake a dinosaur and fossil workshop with a year 1 class, one of our team members spotted a superb display in the school hall, highlighting the role of women in science.  The concept of working scientifically is one of the key elements of the new national teaching curriculum that has been introduced.  It is wonderful to see the role of women in science being showcased to children at primary schools in this way.

Celebrating the Role of Women in Science

School poster acknowledges the role of women in science.

Celebrating the role of women in science.  A school poster showcases some of the leading female scientists and their contribution to building a better understanding about our world.

Picture Credit: Ilderton Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Chien-Shiung Wu, Hedy Lamarr, Sandra Faber and Rosalind Franklin

The poster explains some of the principles required to be a scientist such as gathering and recording data, making observations and devising experiments.  The work of four women are highlighted on this prominent poster.  Firstly, there is the physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, who worked on the Manhattan Project and become the first female tutor at the prestigious physics department at Princeton University in America.  Hedy Lamarr, perhaps better known for her acting career but also an accomplished mathematician and inventor is also featured.  She helped pave the way for today’s wireless technology.  During World War II, Hedy Lamarr worked on a radio guidance system which was more robust and difficult to jam and distort.  The principles of her work helped to lead to the development of today’s Bluetooth technology.

The poster also features Englishwoman Rosalind Franklin, a biophysicist who pioneered X-ray crystallography (XRC), a method by which the atomic and molecular structure of an object can be determined.  Her work helped to reveal the internal structures of complex minerals and most famously DNA.

A Poster in the Hall of a Primary School Celebrates the Work of Biophysicist Rosalind Franklin

The double helix of DNA.

Rosalind Franklin helped to unravel the structure of the double helix of DNA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Last but least, the display poster features the work of astronomer Sandra Faber.  Sandra Faber has been instrumental in the Hubble Telescope programme helping to provide some of the most detailed images of the universe ever recorded.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is great to see the work of famous women scientists highlighted in this way.  During our dinosaur and fossil themed workshops, we explore the contribution made to palaeontology by Mary Anning, who during her lifetime was given very little credit for her discoveries, but now is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Earth sciences.  Let’s hope the poster helps to inspire girls to think more seriously about a career in the sciences.”

Providing such positive role models to young girls may help encourage them with their own experiments in the school science classes.  It is important to highlight and celebrate diversity, helping to inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists.

12 09, 2018

Remembering Mary and Joseph Anning

By | September 12th, 2018|Educational Activities, Famous Figures, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Remembering Mary and Joseph Anning

When team members at Everything Dinosaur visit the coast of Dorset, they always try and take time out of their busy schedules to visit the grave of Mary Anning and her brother Joseph.  The grave of Mary and Joseph Anning can be found at St Michael the Archangel Church, in the appropriately named Church Street in the picturesque town of Lyme Regis.  In 1811, Mary along with her brother Joseph, discovered the fossilised remains of an Ichthyosaur, their first major, documented fossil discovery.  Within the Church itself, there is a stained glass window that honours the life and work of Mary Anning.  It was paid for in part, by members of the Geological Society in recognition of her contribution to this branch of scientific enquiry.

The Grave of Mary and Joseph Anning at Lyme Regis

Mary and Joseph Anning are buried here.

The grave of Mary and Joseph Anning.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Paying Tribute to Mary Anning (1799-1847)

A stained glass window in the church is not the only way in which the contribution of Mary is remembered.  Over the last few years it has become something of a tradition to place a fossil or a pebble from the beach on the grave.  This is a touching gesture, one that allows tourists as well as professional fossil hunters to acknowledge the work of a pioneer in palaeontology.  Everything Dinosaur team members have done much to support the inclusion of the story of Mary Anning and her fossil discoveries within the English National Curriculum.  Mary Anning is one of the historical figures included in many study texts and schemes of work associated with English Primary School curriculum.   Her life and work provides an excellent role model for many people, especially girls, who can learn about a female scientist, someone who might help and inspire them to take a greater interest in science subjects.

Within the town of Lyme Regis, a blue plaque has been erected on the site of the Anning family’s residence and Mary’s first fossil shop.  The house has long gone, but in its place stands the Lyme Regis Museum which contains numerous displays of Mary’s fossil discoveries as well as some of her personal effects.

The Blue Plaque on the Wall of the Lyme Regis Museum Commemorating the Life and Work of Mary Anning

Mary Anning 1799-1847 - her blue plaque.

The blue plaque commemorating the birth of Mary Anning outside the Lyme Regis Museum.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

9 06, 2018

University of Bradford Archaeologist Awarded MBE

By | June 9th, 2018|Famous Figures, Main Page|0 Comments

Bradford Archaeologist Honoured with MBE

Professor Vince Gaffney, Anniversary Chair in Landscape Archaeology at the University of Bradford, has been honoured with the award of the MBE in the Queen’s 2018 Birthday Honours List.   The award is for services to archaeology.  Our congratulations to the professor.

Professor Gaffney is a world-renowned expert in archaeological landscape studies who, over the last four decades, has engaged with young and old, passionately presenting his subject matter as an exciting and thought-provoking study of people and their environments in the present and the past.  He continues to attract tremendous international media interest and to inspire the next generation of aspiring archaeologists.

Honoured with the Award of an MBE – Professor Vince Gaffney (Bradford University)

Professor Vincent Gaffney.

Professor Vincent Gaffney (Bradford University).

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

Vince has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards.  In 2017, his work in the Stonehenge landscape was awarded the “Research Project of the Year “ and he was recently shortlisted for Archaeologist of the Year by the journal “Current Archaeology”.  Five years ago, he received the European Archaeological Heritage Prize and his work also received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Higher Education, for use of novel technology within the Wroxeter Hinterland Project, providing the first comprehensive geophysical survey of a major Roman town in Britain.

A Pioneer of New Research Techniques

Professor Gaffney has pioneered the application of computing in archaeology.  His work on the Croatian Adriatic Islands provided the first substantial use of geographical information systems (GIS) in Europe.  More recently, he has led the UK team creating three-dimensional and virtual imaging of the “Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes”, from an extensive programme of geophysical surveys of the largely unmapped landscape and which will change our understanding of Stonehenge and shape history as well as inform student teaching and learning.

His work on archaeological landscapes lost to the sea after the last glaciation received the 2007 award for Heritage Presentation at the British Association for the Advancement of Science.  This research was also selected by Research Councils UK as one of top hundred ground-breaking UK research projects as part of its “Big Ideas for the Future” publication.

In 2010, Professor Gaffney’s book on this subject, “Europe’s Lost World”, was awarded the “Best Publication” prize at the British Archaeological Awards.   Professor Gaffney and his colleagues were also invited to exhibit their work on underwater landscapes in the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition.

Surveying the Extensive Palaeolandscapes of the North and Irish Seas

The extent of the palaeolandscape prior to sea level changes.

Approximate maximum extent of marine palaeolandscapes off the Irish and British coasts (survey areas in red).

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

Recently, Everything Dinosaur has featured the research into the hidden landscapes of the southern North Sea basin.  This study funded by a European Research Council grant, represents one of the largest, continuous areas to be mapped using geophysical data ever attempted.  The aim of this extensive project is to document evidence of human settlement in these hinterlands, prior to the flooding of this part of Europe.

To read more about this research: In Search of a Prehistoric Landscape Under the Sea

Commenting upon this accolade, professor Gaffney modestly stated:

“It is both a surprise, and a great pleasure, to learn that I have been selected to receive an MBE for services to Archaeology.  When receiving such an honour within Higher Education it is, of course, completely appropriate to recognise that an individual’s career is actually a result of the labours of numerous students, researchers and the many colleagues one works with over the years and I would like to think that I am accepting this honour for them all.  It is also important to note the value of such awards to universities and their communities.  Archaeology may be associated with Stonehenge and many glamorous monuments but to us, the archaeology of Bradford Park Avenue is equally important and our work there and elsewhere in Bradford and Yorkshire, links the University and the town and is the basis for future, globally important research.”

8 05, 2018

Happy Birthday Sir David Attenborough

By | May 8th, 2018|Animal News Stories, Famous Figures, Main Page|0 Comments

Happy Birthday Sir David Attenborough

Many happy returns to Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster, naturalist and someone who has done so much to help the public understand the wonders of the natural world.

Happy Birthday Sir Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough.

Still enthusing about the Natural World – happy birthday Sir David.

The Plastic Age

Throughout a broadcasting career that has spanned more than sixty years, Sir David has played a prominent role in highlighting the plight of the natural world.  In the recent, BBC television documentary series “Blue Planet II”, the damage caused by plastic pollutants in marine environments was emphasised and this has led to a number of plans and initiatives to reduce plastic use, especially items that are classed as “single use plastics”, such as plastic drinking straws.

The team behind “Blue Planet II”, including the narrator, Sir David, has helped raise awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution.   In the highly praised television series, there was one particularly distressing scene where a mother pilot whale was filmed holding her dead calf, which is believed to have died after consuming the mother’s milk which had been contaminated with toxic chemicals resulting from the breakdown of plastic in the marine environment.

Nonagenarian and Still Campaigning for the Natural World

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David raising awareness about the problems of plastic pollution.

Sir David Attenborough was born on this day in 1926, all the team members at Everything Dinosaur would like to take this opportunity to wish Sir David many happy returns.

Keep on campaigning sir.

9 03, 2018

Working to Honour Mary Anning and Mary Leakey

By | March 9th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Famous Figures, Main Page, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Helping to Honour Female Scientists

With International Women’s Day having been very much in the news this week, Everything Dinosaur is taking this opportunity to honour two female pioneers in the Earth sciences, both called Mary.  Today, March 9th, is the anniversary of the death of Mary Anning, the famous amateur fossil collector from Dorset who did much to bring the amazing geology of that part of the coast of southern England to the world’s attention.  It is only in the last few decades that her contribution to the nascent science of palaeontology has begun to be recognised.  As part of our continuing work in schools, we have developed a lesson plan based around researching the life of Mary Anning for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils.

Everything Dinosaur’s Non-chronological Report Focused on Mary Anning

Mary Anning Non-chronological report.

A non-chronological report exercise based on the life and work of Mary Anning.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Non-chronological Report Focused on Mary Anning

A non-chronological report is a non-fiction report that is not written in time order.  Usually written in the third person, these reports help children to practice structuring texts and working with a variety of writing styles.  They involve a planning phase in which the compiler has to research the subject area and to decide what to include or discard.   It helps children to evaluate sources of information, encourages cross-checking of references and provides the opportunity for the teacher to check learning.  Everything Dinosaur’s lesson plan includes a template for the creation of a non-chronological report focused on the life and work of Mary Anning.

Mary Anning Honoured in a Google Doodle

Google celebrates the life and work of Mary Anning.

Google pays tribute to Mary Anning (1799-1847).

Picture Credit: Google/Everything Dinosaur

Mary Douglas Leakey (1913-1996)

The British palaeoanthropologist Mary Leakey, who along with her husband Louis, did much to improve our understanding of the evolution of humankind has also been the subject of a Google doodle.  Everything Dinosaur is working towards honouring the work of this ground-breaking scientists by having a blue plaque erected at her childhood home in London.  We shall update blog readers with regards to our progress in the near future.

A Google Doodle Honouring the Work of Mary Leakey

Mary Leakey honoured by Google.

Celebrating the role of women in science.

Picture Credit: Google/Everything Dinosaur

To read more about the life and work of the remarkable Mary Leakey: Celebrating the Role of Women in Science – Mary Douglas Leakey

27 09, 2017

New T. rex Documentary Coming Soon to the BBC

By | September 27th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Famous Figures, Main Page, Press Releases, TV Reviews|2 Comments

T. rex” Documentary with Chris Packham

Naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham will be presenting a special one-hour documentary on the “King of the Tyrant Lizards”.  Sources close to Everything Dinosaur expect this television programme to form part of the corporation’s Christmas 2017 schedule.

Chis Packham Brings Tyrannosaurus rex to Television

Chris Packham naturalist.

Naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham will narrate a documentary about T. rex.

Picture Credit: BBC

New Insight into the Life and Behaviour of an Apex Late Cretaceous Predator

Life-long dinosaur fan Chris Packham once told Everything Dinosaur team members that one of the first things he made at school was a plasticine model of T. rex.  His model with its kangaroo stance and tail dragging on the floor was based on pictures of Tyrannosaurus rex he had encountered in books.  In the fifty years or so, since Chris made that model, our understanding of this iconic Late Cretaceous predator has been transformed.  This sixty-minute, one-off television programme, aims to bring viewers up to date and combines state-of-the-art computer animation and the very latest research into one of the largest land carnivores known to science.

Viewers Can Expect T. rex to be Depicted with a Shaggy Coat of Feathers

CollectA hunting T. rex model.

A hunting T. rex.  The latest dinosaur models show T. rex as a feathered dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the programme, Chris embarks on a journey to expose the myths and misconceptions surrounding T. rex.  He aims to separate the science from the often inaccurate portrayal of this dinosaur as seen in many movies.  Viewers can expect further information about the running speed of this 7-tonne monster, it is unlikely there will be any scenes with a Tyrannosaur chasing down a jeep à la Jurassic Park.  Taking inspiration from the “Tyrannosaur Chronicles – The Biology of the Tyrant Dinosaurs” by palaeontologist Dr David Hone (London University), the programme will explore the biology, diet, behaviour and anatomy of T. rex.

The Truth Behind an Iconic Theropod

Chris will meet numerous international experts and joins an excavation site in the Badlands of South Dakota to see how fossilised bones are excavated and prepared for study.  One of the aims of the production team will be to produce the most accurate CGI model of a T. rex created to date, that’s a long way from the plasticine figure from Chris Packham’s childhood.  Expect to see plenty of feathers in what is being hailed as a trailblazing documentary blending the latest research from palaeontologists, ideas from zoologists and ground-breaking computer technology.

To help put “flesh on the bones”, as it were, Chris will have access to Tristan (Tristan Otto), one of the most complete T. rex specimens ever found.  Discovered in 2010 in the Hell Creek Formation (Montana), some 170 bones from a single individual have been collected.  Tristan is housed in the vertebrate fossil collection of the Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin).  It is the only actual fossil T. rex skeleton exhibit in Europe and a team of scientists are currently involved in an extensive research project to learn more about the life and times of this twelve-metre-long monster.

“Tristan Otto” on Display at the Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin, Germany)

"Tristan" Tyrannosaurus rex on display (Berlin).

“Tristan Otto” the T. rex specimen on display in Berlin.

Picture Credit: Carola Radke (Museum für Naturkunde)

The documentary makers promise new information and insights into Tyrannosaur brain function and more details on those deadly, bone crushing jaws.

Chris Packham commented:

“Big, fierce and extinct!  It’s the most famous, most glamorous poster pin-up in the zoological world; it’s the greatest animal that ever lived.  And yet perhaps the most misrepresented too.  It’s time to put that right.  T. rex has evolved more in my lifetime than the last 65 million years.  It’s gone from a grey tail-dragging dullard to an intelligent, social super-predator.  Using science, we will at last tell the truth about T. rex.  Don’t bother to put the kettle on!”

Dinosaur fans in the UK can expect this documentary to light up their Christmas viewing, it will probably be available in other countries too, as broadcasting rights get sorted.

“T. rex” for BBC2 is a co-production between Talesmith and Cineflix.  The Executive Producer is Martin Williams and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Diene Petterle.

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