Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sarcosuchus skull with hominid for scale. From the Royal Tyrrell Museum flickr photostream.
Sarcosuchus imperator, popularly known as "Super Croc," was an Early Cretaceous crocodile from Africa that grew to about forty feet long. That's about as long as a T. rex. It's also the subject of one of several National Geographic specials recently added to Netflix's instant play service. It covers paleontologist Paul Sereno's progress as he excavates a Sarcosuchus skull in Niger, then attempts to build a reconstruction at his lab in Chicago. Along the way, he tags along with herpetologist and Nat Geo personality Brady Barr capturing crocodiles in Costa Rica and gharials in India (which sound like enraged weed whackers when snared). It's a glamorized version of paleontology, but it's packed with great crocodile footage and covers just about every aspect of their physiology. The CG Sarcosuchus leaves a lot to be desired, but Sereno's model, sculpted by Gary Staab, is pretty awesome.
Other Nat Geo paleontology title recently added to Netflix include the pterosaur special Sky Monsters, the asian dinosaur specials Dinosaurs Unearthed and Dinosaur Hunters: Secrets of the Gobi Desert, and the seven part series on Cenozoic mammalian beasts, Prehistoric Predators.