Monday, January 25, 2016

Attenborough and the Boyish Grin

Mostly thanks to pesky time constraints, I won't go in to too much detail about the BBC's latest dino-docu, Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur. Examining the discovery of what might just be the largest titanosaur (and therefore dinosaur, and therefore land animal) yet, it briskly chronicles the discovery, excavation, analysis, and reconstruction in a way that's made all the more compelling by the lack of sensationalism and CGI bullshit. (OK, there's a little CGI, including a brief clip recycled from a Walking With Dinosaurs spin-off. But really, it only enhances the tale.) Our companion through this wonderful voyage of discovery is David Attenborough, a man for whom the word 'venerable' was invented, and who is so likeable that he comes close to single-handedly redeeming the British people. (But not quite. Sorry, everyone.)

The second best thing about the programme is that it's about bones. So many dinosaur documentaries in the last couple of decades have shied away from focussing on the bare bones, even though that's (largely) what we know Mesozoic dinosaurs from. This is a reminder that the fossils can be the stars of the show by themselves, and not just the spectacularly huge thigh bones, bigger than men, but everything down to the tiniest eggshell fragments.

I've seen it mentioned that the show doesn't quite go far enough in linking modern birds with Mesozoic dinosaurs, and that's quite true. They're described as the "closest living relatives", which is true, but too little is made of their evolutionary kinship. On the other hand, I was just grateful for all the marvellous anatomical adaptations of sauropods to huge size were being carefully explained to a lay audience.

The best thing about the show, of course, was when Attenborough walked in on the fully reconstructed titanosaur skeleton in a warehouse, and grinned and giggled like a wee lad in a sweet shop.

Copyright The Beeb.

Fantastic.

6 comments:

  1. What a pity it can't be watched outside the UK. Hope someone uploads it on YouTube.

    ReplyDelete

  2. My cousin has put it up online - I'll find the link & post it .
    Oi ! Watch what you say about as Brits !! ;-)

    ReplyDelete

  3. My cousin has put it up online - I'll find the link & post it .
    Oi ! Watch what you say about as Brits !! ;-)

    ReplyDelete

  4. My cousin has put it up online - I'll find the link & post it .
    Oi ! Watch what you say about as Brits !! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I am one, I know all too well what we're like.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete

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