For the non-fiction fans out there, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best documentaries about dinosaurs. There are a lot to choose from, but here are five to start:
Dinosaur 13. A documentary by Todd Douglas Miller. The documentary chronicles the epic tale of Sue, a T-rex found near the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota. It involves love, protests, and federal prison, and reveals the deep passion of paleontologist Peter Larson. Highly recommend.
The Ballad of Big Al. A BBC documentary that focuses on one particular Allosaurus, Al. Big Al is the name of a real Allosaurus fossil. The film follows Al’s birth until his death as a mature adolescent, from injuries.
Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia. A film that goes back and forth between the work of Rodolfo Coria, who co-named Argentinosaurus and discovered Giganotosaurus, as well as other famous South American dinosaurs, and life in the early Cretaceous. Of course, it focuses on the lives of an Argentinosaurus and Giganotosaurus.
How to Build a Dinosaur. Another BBC documentary, but this one goes over how paleontologists rebuild a dinosaur, including muscles and skin color, from a bunch of bones. Dr. Alice Roberts details the process on how dinosaur museum exhibits are created.
When Dinosaurs Roamed America. The film goes through different segments of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. It portrays the dinosaurs as quick and has good animation.
This week’s list we thought we’d recommend some family entertainment. Below are five of the best family-friendly movies and TV shows.
The Land Before Time.A classic story that brings together dinosaurs from five different herds: a long-neck, a three-horn, a flyer, a spike tail, and a swimmer. They travel together to get to the promised Great Valley, in hopes of reuniting with their families. Careful, this one’s tear-jerker. But don’t bother with all the sequels and TV spin-off.
Dinosaurs. Produced in part by Jim Henson Productions, this sitcom from the 1990s was about a family of five dinosaurs living in Pangea: Earl Sinclair, his wife Fran, and their kids Robbie, Charlene, and Baby. The show covered political and other topical issues, and it took multiple puppeteers to perform each dinosaur character.
Dinotopia. A four-hour miniseries, this show depicted a utopia where dinosaurs and humans lived together. Basically, two brothers accidentally crash land on the island, and learn about this world. It’s pretty magical.
Dinosaur. A live-action/animated Disney film, that is basically a remake of Land Before Time. There is an orphaned dinosaur, who joins a new clan, and must make it to a valley full of food to survive. The animation is pretty enjoyable.
We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story. An animated film that kids will like. The story is told from the point of view of Rex, a T-rex who traveled to the future and ended up in modern day Manhattan. He and other dinosaurs are given a special food that increases their intelligence.
We’ve shared our favorites, now you share yours! What are some of your favorite family-friendly dinosaur movies?
Last week we covered five amazing fiction dinosaur books. This week’s list is all about non-fiction adult books about dinosaurs, for those enthusiasts who really want to learn more. Don’t worry, there are no dry textbooks here, just a lot of interesting stories and amazing illustrations.
Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by their Trace Fossils. Written by Anthony J. Martin, this book combines Martin’s personal experiences as a paleontologist with amazing research and facts people can learn from dinosaur nests, tracks, and even fossilized poop. Pay special attention to the chapter on how sauropods probably shaped our modern landscapes. Mind. Blown.
The Bumper Book of Dinosaurs. Written by Keiron Pim, this giant, heavily illustrated book contains many, many facts and statistics. It’s a great resource, and easy to look up information about specific dinosaurs.
Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up. Written and illustrated by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart, this pop-up book is sure to impress even those who are not dinosaur enthusiasts. Every page has elaborate, detailed works of art to show different dinosaurs at different stages of their lives. Plus there are some crazy facts hidden under the art.
In the last post we covered some dinosaur film gems. But what about books? Here’s a list of 5 great books that all revolve around dinosaurs. They’re all adult books, all fiction (though some blend wonderful facts with the action) and come highly recommended, so there’s no excuse not to read them.
Raptor Red, by Robert T. Bakker. Bakker is a famous paleontologist, who consulted with the Jurassic Park team while they made the first movie. Raptor Red is the fictitious, but realistic tale told by the point of view of Red, a female Utahraptor, as she hunts, mates, and struggles to survive.
Cretaceous Dawn, by Lisa M. Graziano and Michael S.A. Graziano. An action-packed adventure story, also written by scientists, that follows the journey of four people who accidentally time travel to the Cretaceous period. The story gives a whole new perspective into how T-rexes may have acted.
Love in the Time of Dinosaurs, by Kirsten Alene. This bizarro fiction story combines monks, dinosaurs, magic kung-fu, and guns. And of course a man falls in love with a dinosaur. It’s an epic tale, and though the content may seem bizarro, the story is very well written.
All My Friends Are Dead, by Jory Jon and Avery Monsen. This well-known, little dark comedy book may not revolve around dinosaurs, but the drawings and concept were too good not to mention. Plus, bonus! There’s a sequel: All My Friends Are Still Dead.
A Lovely Love Story, by Edward Monkton. Combining poetry with heartwarming drawings, this little book makes for a great gift. The dinosaurs are adorable, and the message is timeless.
Have you read any of these? Tells us what you thought of them in the comments! Next time we’ll post a list of nonfiction books, for all you knowledge-pursuers out there.
The most famous dinosaurs in films may be the ones in Jurassic Park, but dinosaurs have been capturing the hearts and imaginations of audiences for many decades, well before Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg teamed up to make them mainstream in pop culture.
Here is a list of 5 films that feature dinosaurs, starting with the oldest, from 1914:
Gertie the Dinosaur: a short animated film released February 8, 1914. Cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay created Gertie as part of his vaudeville act. In the 12 minute film, Gertie is playful and can do many tricks.
Brute Force: A short, silent film, released on April 25, 1914. It was probably the first live-action film with dinosaurs, and the story revolved around dinosaurs and cavemen.
Unknown Island: Released October 15, 1948, this action film seems awfully similar to Jurassic Park. In a simplified synopsis, a group of people go looking for an island they have heard is inhabited by dinosaurs. They get stranded and must survive, while avoiding epic fights, such as the one between a giant sloth a T-rex (really a Ceratosaurus).
Lost Continent: A sci-fi movie released on August 17, 1951. Apparently it is similar to Arthur Conan Doyle’s book, The Lost World. Basically, a group is sent to get back a lost atomic rocket. They crash land on a tropical island, where a bunch of dinosaurs live, and they must escape.
The Missing Link: Released May 21, 1980, this animated French-Belgian film is about an abandoned caveman named O. But it features a whole cast of dinosaurs, including a Brontosaurus (Apatosaurus), Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Pteradactyl–basically t cast of Land Before Time (another great Spielberg dinosaur movie).
Got any other gems to share please us? Tell us in the comments!
In the 1978 a giant crater was discovered on the Yucatan peninsula next to Chicxulub, Mexico. 35 years later we have real evidence to show that the impact coincided with the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Data shows that the impact matches to within 32,000 years of the dinosaurs extinction. This is contrasted with previous studies that estimated the demise 300,000 years earlier—which is why some had maintained that other causes could have wiped out the dinosaurs.
Thanks to some clever radiometric dating of debris near the crater they are convinced that the 100+ mile crater caused an extremely long winter that killed the dinosaurs. For a visualization of the event see the video below.