STL Science Center

STL Science Center

26 December 2016

Documentary Star

Where Tyrannosaurus is a full on movie star, Allosaurus is a documentary and television dinosaur phenom. Despite the number of appearances of Tyrannosaurus on television being considerable, lately the majority of documentaries have spent what appears to be a majority of their time discussing and showing Allosaurus instead. I have a few favorites in this group of documentaries, but not all of them are considered as scientifically accurate as others and as such I will only share a couple of the more widely accepted documentaries. The first video comes from BBC's Dinosaur Planet. The facts that are presented are typically seen and heard facts, however, the illustration and the sinister look of Allosaurus in this portrayal are what have really drawn my attention. This kind of representation is usually described as skin and bones interpretation and is often frowned upon as it ignores underlying muscle structures. Despite this problem with the reconstruction, the anatomy of the dinosaur is highlighted and discussed and, for anyone that has seen the skeletons of Allosaurus, this interpretation leaves the skeletal anatomy that is discussed easily seen in the animated recreation.
One of the better fleshed out versions of Allosaurus (though certainly not the absolute best) comes from the Walking with Dinosaurs special about an Allosaurus named Big Al. The reconstructed and animated version of Big Al is based on a skeleton housed and mounted at the Museum of the Rockies that contains a number of interesting pathological deformities and marks of skeletal repair. This more fleshed out reconstruction is important in that it adds some muscular tones to the body. The pathological conditions are hypothetically imposed on the dinosaur throughout its life during the documentary as well, allowing us to see changes in the reconstruction over the life of the dinosaur; this is an interesting and unique aspect of this particular interpretation of a dinosaur in a documentary. As such, this is a large reason that this video(a short clip from the documentary) is being included today.

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