ATTENTION, Dino-fans! It has come to my attention that 'Clash of the Dinosaurs' is bunk. It's not science, it's pseudoscience.

'Well', you might say. 'Big deal!' You'd be right - because that's not even close to the worst part of it. It has more recently come to my attention that the producers of the show also have engaged in some extremely dishonest QUOTE-MINING, taking quotes out of context to distort their meaning. In other words - "SPIN"! You know... the same BS tactic that crooked politicians in America use to talk about imaginary 'death panels' and 'taxpayer-funded abortions' in the hopes that their money-grubbing insurance company campaign contributors never have to worry about REAL health care reform putting a damper on their rampant greed and ungodly price-gouging profits. The same BS tactic that Creationists use to claim that such and such respected paleontologist is against evolution when they are really for it, etc...

Except now the Discovery Channel is doing it. Or rather, more precisely, the production company they hired to do the show, Dangerous Ltd. This is a very influential documentary production group with lavish offices in the famous and expensive Covent Garden district of London. What exactly did they do that was so dishonest?

Well, let's make it short and simple: Dr. Matt Wedel, the PhD paleontologist who described Sauroposeidon, was deliberately edited out of context on Clash of the Dinosaurs to make it look like he supported the outdated (and nonsensical) notion that sauropods had a "second brain" in their hips. In fact he was merely discussing and then rejecting this popular but false myth.

Judge for yourself; here is what Matt Wedel REALLY said in the full video interview (bold letters and underlines mine):

Ok one of the curious things about sauropods is that they did have a swelling in the spinal chord in the neighborhood of their pelvis.  And for a while it was thought that maybe this was sort of like a second brain to help control the back half of the body.  Erm there are a couple of misconceptions there.  One is that most animals control large part of their body with their spinal chord.  If you’re going through day to day operations like just walking down the street and your minds on something else your brain isn’t even involved in very much controlling your body.  A lot of that is a reflex arc that’s controlled by your spinal chord

So its not just dinosaurs that are controlling their body with their spinal chord its all animals.  Now the other thing about this swelling at the base of the tail is we find the same thing in birds and its called the glycogen body.  It’s a big swelling in the spinal chord that has glycogen which is this very energy rich compound that animals use to store energy.  Problem is we don’t even know what birds are doing with their glycogen bodies.  Er the function is mysterious – we don’t know if the glycogen is supporting their nervous system – if its there to be mobilised help dry [should be 'drive' -ed.] their hind limbs or the back half of their body and until we find out what birds are doing with theirs we have very little hope of knowing what dinosaurs were doing with their glycogen bodies.

Here is what the show had him saying, courtesy of Dangerous Ltd's inane editing room staff:

One of the curious things about Sauropods is that they did have a swelling in the spinal cord, in the neighborhood of their pelvis.  This was sort of like a second brain to help control the back half of the body.

Wow! They actually CUT OUT the "And for a while it was thought that maybe" part! That wasn't even a whole sentence separating those two lines, it was like 2 seconds worth of airtime difference, so WHY did they cut that out to make it look like Wedel endorses the "second brain" myth? I mean, assume you forget about the whole glycogen body part (which isn't too terribly hard to make understandable for non-scientist viewers; glycogen is basically nothing more than a sugar compound, and sugar = energy, not brain). Even THEN, it's very odd that Dangerous Ltd. would edit out those few words "And for a while it was thought...." to make it look like Matt was expressing his own personal view if they simply were editing things for brevity's sake. They are flat-out LYING in his name.

Here is Matt's own testimony from SV-POW:

"I was very clearly explaining why a misconception is no longer held, and they edited the tape to make me regurgitate the misconception as if it was not just a commonly accepted fact, but a fact that I accepted. That is beyond quote-mining, it is the most blatantly dishonest thing that you can do with someone’s recorded words. Let’s see what they have to say about it (quote continues with no omissions):
In your email, you said: ‘Someone in the editing room cut away the framing explanation and left me presenting a thoroughly discredited idea as if it was current science.’ In your interview you carefully set out a context in which you made your argument, a context that was perhaps not included in the show as carefully as it could have been. Whether this was in the interests of brevity or not, I entirely appreciate your position. We had no wish to suggest you were presenting an old, discredited argument, we were simply working on the show ever aware of the demands of our audience. This does not excuse a part of the program which was perhaps not edited with as much finesse as it could have been and consequently I will make your concerns clear to the production team in the hope that we may avoid such situations again.

While I hope this clarifies our position, I will endeavour to call you to ensure all your concerns are properly heard.
Notice that there is not even a whiff of an apology anywhere in here. They were “ever aware of the demands of [the] audience”, this part “was perhaps [!] not edited with as much finesse as it could have been”, and they’re going to try to do better next time.
This is crap, crap, crap, just total crap from top to bottom. If you have a segment of an interview that covers ground that you decide is too complex for the audience, JUST DON’T AIR IT. Or, if you insist on presenting this very old and very stupid idea is if it is accurate and current, LEAVE ME OUT OF IT."
.
That should make things pretty clear. The producers deliberately cut Matt's sequence to support this inane "second brain" theory that, much like a bad case of shingles, just won't go away....

This isn't just a case of misinforming the public; Dangerous Ltd. has also put Matt's credibility (and quite possibly his very career as a published researcher) on the line and may have already damaged it severely by dragging his name through the mud of pseudoscience-inspired LIES. This is nothing short of SLANDER and it is both UNETHICAL and ILLEGAL. Frankly, they deserve to be sued for every last dollar they made from that show.



UPDATE:

I wrote to Dangerous Ltd. as well as Discovery (as did a number of other dino-bloggers), and to my knowledge, Matt Wedel and the other SV-POWsketeers were also contacting them regularly. Eventually, a man at the Discovery staff (who has asked to remain anonymous) promised to fix the problem today, which was a lot faster than anyone had expected. In Matt's words:

"He said that the program would not be broadcast again until that segment was fixed, and that the fixed version would be in the DVD/Blu-ray release."

This is an amazingly good response by Discovery to this whole embarrassing quote-mining situation. And they are to be commended for their speedy resolution to this problem. However, there is one burning question in my mind - WHY did Discovery or Dangerous Ltd. let this happen in the first place?

I mean think about it:

1. They had plenty of interview material from Matt Wedel, from which it is obvious that the second brain is not even a valid theory - more like a whimsical tongue-in-cheek hypothesis that was long ago discarded for sheer lack of evidence in the face of far more credible and well-supported possibilities.

2. There were plenty of paleontologists that were interviewed for the show and served as consultants. They had Robert Bakker, Tom Holtz, Larry Witmer, Mike Habib... does Dangerous Ltd. expect us to believe that NONE of them had any objection to the "second brain" myth in all the time it took to produce the show? Sorry, no dice there.

3. It takes months of planning, animation, production, filming, and post-production to make such a series. They had months to get it right and listen to Wedel's advice. Yet it seems that months before the final cut, the production staff already was hell-bent on presenting the "second brain" myth (and plenty of other dinosaur myths) as absolute fact. According to Matt Wedel, they had indeed been pushing the idea for months. Indeed, this is a pattern I've seen with a lot of science programs. It seems that only NOVA and a few other PBS documentaries have any scientific integrity these days. I haven't seen a decent dinosaur show on ANY corporate network since the days PaleoWorld aired on TLC in 1995 (in those ye olde days, The Learning Channel wasn't plagued by its present pitiful lineup of endless house-hunting fad shows and 3-hour long blocks of  "who-has-the-cutest-baby-after-40" programming - back in those days, it was a lot less dumbed-down and actually lived up to its titular obligation of promoting LEARNING).

In fact, I'd venture to say that the more corporate a science program becomes, the more idiotic and less scientific it's bound to be. And it's flat-out shameful how they claim their BS myths are "fact" in order to drive up their ratings. If dinosaur fact is truly stranger than fiction (and let's be honest here - it often IS) then why do corporate production teams feel such a need to support so many blatantly FALSE and ridiculous theories for their shows? Aren't REAL dinosaurs already interesting enough without having to turn them into magical dragons, or circus sideshow pinheads with the IQ of a cactus? Why are these guys so obsessed with things like second brains? Come to think of it, why did Spielberg make his Velociraptors too big and leave them unfeathered when they had both Robert Bakker and Gregory Paul as consultants, both of whom supported feathered raptors? There's just too much of a profit motive in producing stereotypical movie monsters. A real dinosaur film or series would DUMP the stereotypes and shock audiences with the TRUTH so they don't have to wait 15 years to learn that raptors actually did have feathers... And the same is true of Clash of the Dinosaurs. There was a good deal of BS "junk science" in Walking with Dinosaurs and Jurassic Fight Club. But that all pales in comparison with what was done in Clash. Because NOW, for once you have a literally all-star lineup of the top experts in the field, offering their commentary, but the show still manages to get so many things wrong! And in Wedel's case, the producers deliberately and dishonestly twisted his words to SUPPORT an obviously wrong conclusion! And then they claimed that they were merely doing this to "meet the needs of the audience" which is an insult to the audience, the scientists, and the science itself. Basically they're TRYING to say: "we lied and quote-mined because we felt the audience is too stupid to understand the real science".

Well then, if that's the case, you're producing nothing more than dumbed-down entertainment, so don't call it a frickin' documentary!

What were these guys thinking? Here's one quick guess: "Hey Mac... lets make some changes to the script to "meet the needs" of our "audience".... A smart sauropod that cares for its eggs? No way, scratch that - it will hurt our ratings and profits because it isn't what we think the "audience" wants to see. Big plant eaters HAVE to all be dimwits who can't tell their front from their rear! Didn't you new guys ever see Fantasia as a kid? And what's this - a raptor that actually has some realistic limitations on its strength? No way, that will also hurt our ratings and profits, everyone likes to see the bad guy win, the plant eater can only be allowed to live if he has horns..."

And in the end Dangerous Ltd. STILL never apologized, it was the Discovery Channel that finally bit the bullet and promised to fix Dangerous Ltd's dishonest editing of Matt's comments. Once again, Dangerous Ltd. has FAILED to apologize for its actions, which are still SLANDEROUS, UNETHICAL, and ILLEGAL.

I won't even bother putting up a "Wall of Shame" for the unrepentant guilty parties at Dangerous Ltd. - they've already done that job for me! Just click HERE to see who's who....

But let's just quickly go over what ELSE the Dangerous Ltd. production staff got wrong besides the "two brains" fiasco - the list is indeed damning:

1. They claim T. rex was so slow that it often needed to scavenge to survive. This is pure outdated NONSENSE to anyone who has actually bothered to look at a T. rex tibia, let alone read Bakker's and Paul's papers on giant theropod limb biomechanics. Seriously people, just save yourself the embarrassment and buy a secondhand copy of The Dinosaur Heresies. If you can't understand it, RESIGN!!!!

2. They claim T. rex could see fine details from four miles away. In reality there's no way to tell how far it could see because the eyes are soft tissue and don't get preserved! They just pulled that figure out of their asses. All we know for sure is that T.rex had binocular vision and PROBABLY had large and very good eyes. How good? We just don't know.

3. They claim Sauroposeidon had a cheeseburger-sized brain with a barely developed cerebrum - in reality, the brain they're talking about is a 3D model of a Camarasaurus brain, a creature barely a third the size (i.e. mass) of Sauroposeidon. Nobody has ever found the braincase of Sauroposeidon, and the Camarasaurus brain wasn't even scaled up. In addition, the cerebrum of Camarasaurus actually looks to be the BIGGEST part of its brain...

4. They claim Sauroposeidon just abandoned their eggs and moved on - and then they show animation of Sauroposeidon leaving its eggs UNCOVERED in the middle of a barren desert. This is bullcrap; even animals as primitive as sea turtles hide their eggs before returning to the sea - and sauropods were not bound by any aquatic lifestyle. Even cold-blooded crocodiles care for their young for weeks or months. Even if they wanted to push the whole outdated "dinosaurs were cold-blooded idiots that didn't care for their young" myth down our throats, they could AT LEAST show it correctly with them COVERING the nest with sand or leaves!

5. They show a teenage Sauroposeidon the size of a house, being killed by TWO puny dog-sized raptors (meanwhile they show Matt Wedel describing how a LARGE PACK of raptors could kill Sauroposeidon HATCHLINGS). Are these guys so incurably addicted to portraying sauropods as pathetic failures unworthy of their 100 million-year survival record, that they will blatantly animate anything that CONTRADICTS the simultaneously broadcast statement of the foremost sauropod expert on the show, just to have their way???

6. They misspell Sauroposeidon and also mispronounce Parasaurolophus REPEATEDLY. That's just stupid. Learn your ABC's, Dangerous Ltd! It's Para-sauro-LOAF-us, not "Para-sa-ROFL-us". Methinks these guys have been chatting a bit too much on AIM. ROFL-us... next they'll have an "LMAO-a-saurus". Just watch them.

7. They make all kinds of bogus claims about the supposed "abilities" of creatures, such as the claim that Quetzalcoatlus could detect dino-urine from miles above in some sort of infrared vision, or the claim that "Parasa-ROFL-us" produced some insanely loud, eardrum-shattering noise form its crest to keep predators away. In reality, the crest was only acoustically capable of producing a harmless mating call.

8. They claim that Sauroposeidon had stomach acid strong enough to dissolve iron. Again, total BS. And it's not even necessary BS. Acid doesn't even digest the food! It only weakens the chemical structure of the plants, and provides an environment where pepsin and other digestive juices can function. Those are what REALLY breaks down the plants, and it's bacteria in the cecae of the intestines that digest the cellulose into more manageable compounds. Crazy-corrosive iron-melting acid isn't necessary, and it would probably also kill the animal by eating through its stomach mucus layer and thus the stomach wall as well!

9. They show T. rex attacking a Triceratops HEAD ON and trying to bite off one of its horns, losing an eye in the process! This is ridiculous - would any SANE predator try such a needlessly risky attack? Is it worth breaking all your teeth, let alone losing an eye? I thought predators were supposed to be opportunists, picking off the sick and weak, and always going for vulnerable spots on the flanks and the ribs, never the front of a horned animal! That T. rex truly deserves the Darwin Award for eliminating herself from the gene pool...

10. They imply in the baby T. rex segment that Deinonychus and T. rex lived at the same time. In reality, Deinonychus was already extinct millions of years before T. rex evolved. Someone really needs to teach those ignorant producers at Dangerous Ltd. the difference between Early and Late Cretaceous.

11. There are some mistakes that are just plain silly and unnecessary - for example in one of the T. rex segments, the narrator is talking about T. rex while a silhouetted scientist is shown examining the skull of Acrocanthosaurus instead! Another segment shows a Camarasaurus skull while the narrator talks about the teeth of Sauroposeidon. ARRRGH! Camarasaurs are NOT brachiosaurs! They don't even look the same! And brachiosaur skulls are not that hard to locate... there's the Felch Quarry skull in Wyoming, the O' Hare airport mount's skull (for which the Field Museum undoubtedly has casts and molds) and of course the three Giraffatitan skulls in Berlin. Any of these would have been a far better stand-in for Sauroposeidon than a Camarasaurus skull. And don't tell me that Dangerous Ltd. can't afford the plane tickets! They filmed American paleontologists in the USA, but their headquarters are in London! A film company with an international presence surely has the budget for a couple of cameramen to fly to Berlin and film the correct damn skull... Berlin isn't THAT far from London. Heck, they could just buy the licenses for some stock photos of the Berlin skulls at the very least!

12. A whole HOST of anatomical errors: the Sauroposeidon's neck is too short. Just call it a Brachiosaurus altithorax instead, it'll be a lot more believable. Sauroposeidon, if nothing else, is most famous for having a freakishly long neck even by brachiosaur standards. Also, their T. rex has these big ugly jowls under its lower jaw, which are completely copied from horizontal-necked crocodiles. No theropod had this sort of neck-throat structure, it looks like the Dangerous Ltd. guys didn't know a bloody thing about dinosaur throat/hyoid anatomy...

And unlike the quote-mining disaster, the Discovery Channel staff has shown no inclination or even INTEREST in remedying these obvious errors! And I've done my part by making them known to Discovery... This is corporate "science" at work my friends, and until you make your opinions known to Discovery Channel (which hired Dangerous Ltd. to do such a crappy job in the first place) then nothing will change. I encourage you all to write to Discovery about your concerns HERE. Just keep your complaints about the mistakes short and to the point, and avoid any insults or threatening language. Also be sure to make your voice heard by Dangerous Ltd. HERE, and inform their parent company Zodiak Entertainment of their subsidiary's dishonest and illegal behavior HERE (choose the "scripted products" email address). And this isn't some airy-fairy utopian fantasy ideal. Discovery did, after all, cave in and promise to fix the quote mining issue after Wedel and company turned up the heat on them. With enough grassroots email pressure they and Zodiak/Dangerous may well feel inclined to fix these other mistakes as well.

Clash of The Dinosaur TV Specials!

Posted by Nima On Sunday, December 13, 2009 4 comments



Have you ever anticipated some new event with excitement – perhaps a movie or a concert, or something more mundane, that is of particular importance to you…. But then once you experience it, it just keeps promising and not really delivering all the way? 
It’s only every so often that a scientific TV series on dinosaurs gets produced. In fact there have been only a handful of good ones since “Walking with Dinosaurs” was made by the BBC in 1999. So you can imagine my interest when I heard about the newest title: “Clash of the Dinosaurs”.
 
I recently watched the new Discovery Channel series “Clash of the Dinosaurs” after I read Dr. Matt Wedel’s comments on it on SV-POW, and I must say, I was impressed by the quality of the animation. A decade on from “Walking with Dinosaurs” the computer animation quality had improved nicely. And watching it was no doubt fun. The dinosaurs came to life as never before and the look of real living pulsating flesh was insanely well-done. But as for scientific ACCURACY, I had some big issues with it as well. And if you’re wondering what any of this has to do with paleo-art…. well, paleo-television IS paleo-art, just as film-making is an art in general. A well-done dinosaur series is just as pleasing and satisfying to the Paleo King (and any other real dino-fan) as a beautiful lifelike painting by Greg Paul or Raul Martin. And a bad series is just as distasteful as a lousy, inaccurate painting by…. well, that’s another critique for another post.
Zach Miller already posted about “Clash of the Dinosaurs”, but I thought I’d go into more detail about exactly how bad the errors in this otherwise good series were. I don’t like to complain, but this series was in many ways a mixed bag. It had some okay science and some very nice animation, but also a lot of mistakes and outdated theories.
First though, let’s cover THE GOOD: -Great animation, very lifelike. A lot of proportions are based on the real skeletons, not cheesy maquettes or models.  
-Smooth movements  
-Good, accurate scenery and foliage (for the most part). The CG trees are also a lot better than they would have been a few years ago.  
-The show actually features commentary by REAL paleontologists – not just self-proclaimed “experts” with no qualifications. You get the TOP scientists at the cutting edge of paleo-research, like Larry Witmer, Pete Larson, Matt Wedel, Tom Holtz, Mike Habib, and the legendary maverick himself, Bob Bakker. YES – after his ‘mysterious’ near-absence from TV for the past decade, Bakker is BACK! And what’s funny is, this time nobody is really disagreeing with him anymore.  
-The transparent skeletal/muscular/circulatory system models are top-notch, I haven’t seen 3D models of dinosaurs this good… EVER. The Discovery CG guys really did their homework this time, with few exceptions. Now, THE BAD: This series for all its skillful animation and its impressive roster of PhD paleontologists, still has a LOT of MISTAKES that prove its producers didn’t really listen to those same aforementioned paleontologists – if they had, you wouldn’t have such tomfoolery as follows: -Triceratops is described by the narrator as having forelimbs splayed out like a lizard. Not simply bowed out like rhino. Not even semi-erect like a croc. But fully sprawled like a LIZARD (lizard sprawls are easily a full 90 degrees between humerus and lower arm… which makes no sense for horned dinosaurs whatsoever, as the producers would have known if they actually READ Bakker’s book, which isn’t exactly hidden knowledge). The real Triceratops arm posture was erect but slightly bowed out by about 15 degrees at the elbow, and ceratopsian trackways show that the hands and feet were DIRECTLY under the body, not out to the side. There was no sprawl. Oddly, the 3D skeletal model in the show features sprawling arms (a rare exception to the CG staff doing their homework), but the actual live animated Triceratops has the correct, erect rhino arms!   
-The narrator couldn’t pronounce “Parasaurolophus” if his life depended on it! He switches the ph and the l. For those of you that are confused about this, the correct way is to pronounce it: “Para – sauro – LOAF – us” (or “loff-us” if you are David Weishampel…. but I’m not). The narrator instead said “Para – saur – OFFalus”. What the hell is that? Para – Garofalo? Pay czar offal-puss? Snuffle-upagus? (BTW, “offal” means entrails… not exactly Parasaurolophus food). These shows just may need a bona-fide dino-nerd to narrate them. When I was in third grade the class used to say “Para-sa-loph-o-saurus” even though it doesn’t have a “saurus” at the end of its name. And I corrected them. Congrats, narrator: a third grader knew better in 1995 - because he actually read the name and watched PaleoWorld, where the narrator somehow did his homework and got the pronunciation right. -The T. rex is a bit too, er, fleshy. The head-neck junction is swollen with “jowls”, a bit too much like a crocodile or komodo dragon neck. The throat is too fat to the point where the head is poking out of the neck, looking a bit small – but it’s really because the underside of the neck is too fat. They overflesh the throat muscles as well. Sure it was a big predator, but this neck was no fat squat crocodile neck. It was lean and s-curved, but the only time when the animated T. rex in the series seems to curve its neck is when it bites down on Triceratops’ face. No more Disney T. rexes please! (ugly) And a few cryptic camouflage patterns on their T.rex wouldn’t hurt either - so far it just looks like a big tan blob.  
-T. rex was made out to be some insanely smart brainiac whereas all the other dinosaurs were supposedly idiots that relied on instinct alone. But in reality other dinosaurs were not necessarily any dumber than T.rex. They just had smaller olfactory lobes, which in T.rex, make up nearly half of the brain. That’s right, T. rex wasn’t exceptionally smart for a dinosaur – it just had an exceptional sense of smell. 50% of its brain mass was dedicated to the nose alone! Raptors had a bigger cerebrum, and most dinosaurs had fairly well-developed senses – and all but a few had pretty decent social communication abilities like birds today.  
-The T. rex is too slow. This series hired Bakker to make some appearances, but they totally disregarded his writings on T. rex! T. rex was a runner –not as fast as smaller predators, but still a cursorial animal with athletic legs. Here instead we get a slow, ponderous T. rex that walks not much faster than an elephant. They simply regurgitate MacNeill Alexander’s old discredited theory that “if it’s as big as an elephant, it must be as slow as an elephant” without ever stopping to think that T. rex’s leg design has nothing to do with elephants and everything to do with fast running ground birds. Same goes for the new pet theory about chicken models for T. rex indicating that a fast T. rex would have needed 90% of its mass in its legs (this theory seems to have influenced the producers). A chicken the size of a 'rex might need that much leg mass, but T. rex had proportionally much longer legs and stride than some tubby poultry! An ostrich would be a much more logical model.    
-The narrator claims T. rex could see fine details from four miles away. LOL did he just pull this number out of his ass? Who makes up these “facts”? None of the experts on the show said it! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying T. rex had bad eyesight like they claimed in Jurassic Park - there’s no doubt that T.rex had excellent vision, since it had forward-facing eyes and deep eye sockets like those of birds, as well as a big visual cortex in its brain. Good eyesight, but in all honesty you simply can’t measure it! There are no living T.rex eyes to dissect today, all we have is their eye sockets, which only tell us that the eyes faced forward – NOT how far they could see. Perhaps it could see a mountain from four miles away. But a prey animal? Please. These guys took T. rex vision to the opposite extreme from Jurassic Park’s equally whimsical legally blind T.rex. Perhaps just saying “It could see very far and in great detail” would be more scientifically credible than any of this “lets just pick a cool number” BS.    
-T.rex attacks a Triceratops head-on and tries to bite one of its horns off, losing an eye in the process! Now ask yourself, would any sane predator EVER attack its prey in its most well-protected area? NO! They would go for the flanks or the ribs or other exposed areas. That T.rex should win the Darwin Award for being stupid enough to rush headfirst into the most dangerous part of a very dangerous herbivore, and thus getting blinded and incapable of hunting and living to pass on its genes. I don’t care how strong your teeth are, biting the horns is a lot dumber, more dangerous and self-defeating than simply going for the obvious weak spots!  
-The narrator claims Sauroposeidon’s stomach acid was corrosive enough to dissolve iron. This is total imagination. It wouldn’t take acid that strong to digest plant cellulose (even though cellulose is a LOT tougher to digest than meat). In fact, stomach acid only weakens the chemical structure of the plants, it does not digest the food. That’s the job of pepsin and other digestive juices and enzymes. Without them, all the acid in the world would only soften the plants, not turn them into manageable compounds the body can actually absorb. Furthermore, if the acid could dissolve iron, wouldn’t it also be able to dissolve the mucous membrane of the stomach and then eat through the stomach lining? I don’t care if the stomach wall is a foot thick, if iron can’t survive the acid, neither can mucus or flesh.    
-Larry Witmer claims in one segment that Sauroposeidon had a brain the size of a cheeseburger (just a regular one, not a double or triple cheeseburger FYI, as Witmer demonstrates with hand geatures). In reality, even its smaller relative Brachiosaurus had a brain larger than a cat’s brain. So Sauroposeidon’s brain would have been even bigger than that.    
-Also they use a CG model of a brain purported to be from Sauroposeidon, and claim the cerebrum was barely developed (even though the highlighted area in the model was the very CENTER of the brain to which all the other lobes attached! This was the core of the brain they showed, not some rudimentary lobe.)    
-In addition, the “Sauroposeidon brain” in the show was a hoax – they actually showed a CG model of a Camarasaurus brain (Camarasaurus was a much smaller sauropod, and the brain wasn’t even scaled up). The actual skull and braincase of Sauroposeidon have NEVER been found. The CG model of the skull and skeleton was essentially copied from Brachiosaurus, with an unscaled CT scan of Camarasaurus' brain added in. A scaled-up Brachiosaurus brain would have been a better choice at least, but nobody bothered to scan either a B. brancai (Giraffatitan) skull, OR the Felch Quarry skull referred to B. altithorax.  
-Larry Witmer claims Sauroposeidon is “dumb as a fencepost”. In reality, it would have needed a complex brain for social herd behavior and also storing data on the long journeys, landmarks, etc. required to find food and water in a seasonally dry landscape. A small brain does not necessary imply stupidity, nor does a small brain-to-body mass ratio. You don’t need a huge brain unless you need lots of dexterity or precision acrobatics – and considering sauropods were slow, 4-legged graviportal animals whose fingers and toes were pretty much immobile and permanently bound together by tight tendons, acrobatics and dexterity weren’t really important for them.    
-The Sauroposeidon’s neck is shown TOO SHORT. They basically animated a bulked-up B. altithorax and just called it Sauroposeidon. And yet the main reason this guy is so famous is the freakishly long neck… freakishly long even proportionally, and even for a brachiosaur, so as to dwarf the already impressive neck of B. altithorax. This is one of the few times they messed up the skeletal CG as well.    
-A young Sauroposeidon sixty feet long and as massive as a few elephants gets killed by only TWO dog-sized Deinonychus. And doesn’t even fight back. Matt Wedel talks about big packs of raptors killing baby Sauroposeidons, not merely two of them tackling the huge half-grown ones that could crush a house! Yet the animators chose to have precisely just such a large teenage Sauroposeidon being killed, not by a whole pack of raptors as Wedel said, but only by a single PAIR. What should have happened is the Sauroposeidon whacking those wimpy raptors with its tail and breaking their spindly legs and paper-thin rib cages. In fact, it’s unlikely they would even try to take on something that big – the speedy little raptors were not sauropod-killers, they were built for hunting much smaller, faster dinosaurs like beaked Ornithopods. The only predator of the time who could take down even a half-grown Sauroposeidon was the huge allosauroid Acrocanthosaurus, which was only a bit smaller than T.rex. And it would take at least four or five strong Acros to take down even a half-grown Sauroposeidon. Matt Wedel himself was understandably angry at this visual bowlderizing of his words, as you can read in Zach Miller's comments section HERE.  
-The show has Sauroposeidon dumping its eggs in an open nest in the middle of a barren desert and just LEAVING them there UNCOVERED! No burying the eggs to hide them from predators, no foliage nearby for the babies to eat, no first meal, not even laying them somewhere secluded for protection! This runs flat in the face of the actual evidence: every sauropod nest ever excavated shows evidence of the mother having hidden the eggs under sand or dirt. And the nests are often found in clusters or colonies, indicating that several sauropods purposely made nests in the same area instead of haphazardly dumping and abandoning eggs any old place - and that only makes sense if they collectively cared for the babies at least for a while. Indeed, there is NO group of dinosaurs that’s actually been proven to abandon their eggs. Their maternal instincts were at least as developed as those of crocodiles, which guard and care for their hatchlings for at least a week or two. Basically the Discovery guys show sauropods as land-living sea turtles! And even creatures as primitive as sea turtles still COVER the eggs with sand before they abandon them! If Discovery’s that hell-bent on ramming the outdated notion of stupid cold-blooded egg-abandoning dinosaurs down our throats, they should at least do it correctly! There’s an understandable way to be wrong, and then there’s a simply idiotic way – apparently it’s called the Discovery channel way.  
THE UGLY, ODD, AND JUST PLAIN WEIRD:  
-In the "Infamous Jaws" clip, at about 00:12 seconds, the narrator is talking about T.rex, but a silhouetted scientist is shown inspecting the skull of an Acrocanthosaurus (lol, I bet the post-production team didn’t catch THAT one).  
-In the "Cretaceous Meatball" clip with the baby T.rex, Deinonychus was shown as one of the many threats a T.rex hatchling would face growing up. But this is plainly WRONG because Deinonychus lived millions of years earlier! It was already extinct by T.rex’s time. Somebody should really teach the producers the difference between Early and Late Cretaceous.  
-At one point they even show a Camarasaurus skull when talking about Sauroposeidon’s teeth. Camarasaurs are NOT brachiosaurs. Although the teeth are roughly similar, the two animals have distinctly different skulls and are not even in the same family! At least show a Giraffatitan skull, a flight to Berlin can’t be that pricey for just one cameraman to get 5 seconds of footage! The days of the Soviet Bloc and the Cold War are over! Is East Berlin that hard to get into? And if that’s too far, then how about the Field Museum in Chicago? They casted their own Brachiosaurus skull, so might they also not have a duplicate cast? And what about the Felch Quarry skull from Wyoming? You don’t have to compromise for a Cam when a Brach is present and not locked away by some hostile foreign bureaucrats. It’s a bit like Loma Linda hospital when a surgeon transplanted a baboon heart in the patient instead of a chimp heart – and when the patient died, the doctor claimed there was no real difference and that evolution and genetics aren’t legit sciences. Yeah. Sure. If humanity still manages to confuse species so horribly when it comes to surgery, that doesn’t say much for dino-television!  
-The same stock footage of the animated dinosaurs was played OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I know this was a short program, and fairly low-budget compared to things like Walking with Dinosaurs, but at least the animators could have rigged up some more scenes or settings! Even showing the Sauroposeidon herd making the exact same movements in a forest or a floodplain rather than just that same desert over and over, would have made my day. And that’s just a matter of quickly making and texturing a different setting in CG, something that’s way easier to do than the dinosaurs themselves, since the setting is static and doesn’t move or need to be animated! As far as CG technology has come in the past decade, you’d think this would be a piece of cake compared to most of the things the animators pulled off.  
  
-The narrator is the same guy that narrated whale wars. Not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just a bit funny to hear that cold, monotone voice again… he should either stick to whales or at least spend an hour or two reading up on dinosaurs BEFORE making a bunch of unfounded BS claims about T. rex visual range, sauropod nesting behavior, or butchering the name of Parasaurolophus. Bring back well-narrated dinosaur shows like PaleoWorld! Long live Ben Gazzara!    
Well, that’s my rant on the topic so far. Not that I like to complain about stuff like this, but even a more entertainment-based dinosaur series like Jurassic Fight Club didn’t make as many mistakes! JFC had a lot fewer paleontologists giving commentary on the show, and more armchair amateurs who were simply labeled as “experts” not curators or PhDs or professors…. but despite all that, it still didn’t make such openly unsupported claims about so many different things. Nor did it show the wrong skull or brain for any animal.
But don’t just eat up what I say. Watch the clips for yourself, and you be the judge. PS. sorry for any messy formatting errors. Blogger is giving me a real headache.