STL Science Center

STL Science Center

22 October 2012

The Movie Star

In part the fame of Argentinosaurus is owing to the size of the animal itself. In part it is famous because it was a part of a large group of animals, the sauropods, which played, in the northern hemisphere, a very tiny role in the Cretaceous, in terms of numbers of herbivorous species from unique families, whereas in the southern hemisphere they lived on as one of the primary and largest, overall not in size, herbivorous families living during that era. The titanosaurs, of which Argentinosaurus was one of the largest members, did exist globally, but where Pachycephalosaurs and Hadrosaurs as well as Ceratopsians were flooding the northern hemisphere we do not, or perhaps have not yet?, seen such a large influx of other species in the southern hemisphere, meaning that the sauropods, Argentinosaurus in particular, made up a greater percentage of the overall herbivorous animal numbers, which is both unique and pretty amazing. Therefore, when making documentaries about the southern hemisphere, and Patagonia exclusively, there is one dinosaur that cannot be left out because of the large part it played in the ecosystem; think of all the documentaries about North America that feature Tyrannosaurs and Hadrosaurs. That characteristic of the land, and of course there were other animals living there so the titanosaur sauropods were not alone, it may just be that we have not found enough skeletal material in South America yet, it makes sense that many of the documentaries created in the last few years that mention Patagonia in particular feature the massive bulk of Argentinosaurus. The BBC has put out two such documentaries, the more publicized ones out there with Argentinosaurus, and those are Planet Dinosaur and Chased by Dinosaurs, which is considered a part of the Walking With Dinosaurs family of shows. The other major one mentioned, Giants of Patagonia, was played in 3D in IMAX theaters and uses many of the Planet Dinosaur basic models, it seems (I am not an art student though, so it is just my interpretation that they are using the same computer models; this may not be completely correct). Regardless, the two BBC models of Argentinosaurus can be compared, as both are shown in short clips online; Youtube has clips that are presentable so there is not too much of a search that must be done in order to find Argentinosaurs parading across the screen. I will leave it to the clips to do their own talking, but as I stated Saturday, I think that the Planet Dinosaur/Patagonia model base is much better than the Chased by Dinosaurs model base; granted there were a few years between allowing for improvements both paleontologically and computer graphically/artistically.
Sorry about the audio here, on Chased by Dinosaurs, but we can see they are clearly slow plodding animals in this clip.

Planet Dinosaur: A bit more stylized, almost as plodding but more of a character.

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