Five Sources For Digging Deep Into Dinosaurs Under Quarantine
Look no further for the best dinosaur content currently on the web and your TV screens.
By Steven Ray Morris
Dinosaur fans have always fed their curiosity through museums, books, and movies. Our favorite creatures have been gone for more than 65 million years (well, except modern birds, of course), so we are used to searching far and wide for anything and everything we can learn about them. So, staying indoors right now for us won’t slow down our curiosity and imagination, but if you want a cheat sheet of where to explore, look no further than below for the best dinosaur content currently on the web and your TV screens:
Eons (YouTube Channel)
Part of PBS Digital Studios, Eons is an educational show focusing on the history of life on Earth. We’re here for the dinosaurs though, of course. These beautifully produced short docs dive into splashy topics every dinosaur enthusiast should know. Want to brush up on all things feathers on dinosaurs? Boom! They have a video for that: “The Facts About Dinosaurs & Feathers.” Want to know how and why some dinosaurs got so huge? Boom: “How Did Dinosaurs Get So Huge?” From the folks behind PBS’s other hit Youtube channel SciShow, Hank Green, along with paleontologist Kallie Moore, and science journalist Blake de Pastino, their concise and minimal videos never skimp on the details going way beyond late-night wikipedia dives, becoming something truly essential.
The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure (HBO/Amazon)
While the original Land Before Time, the 1988 animated movie about a group of lovable dinosaurs learning the power of friendship through a harrowing adventure that makes Bambi seem light in comparison, the very first sequel, The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, brings more to the table for dinosaur fans than you might think at first. While the original had amazing visuals and iconic moments (Treestar, anyone?), II introduces our first meat-eater to the pack, Chomper. Pre-dating the likes of Baby Blue and Baby Yoda by over a decade, Chomper is welcomed into the gang, but not without reservations (“A Sharptooth can never be one of us.”). Yes, this is a kid’s movie, but unlike the first, it goes a long way to explore the “circle of life,” showing that the predators aren’t just monsters, but caring, feeling creatures as well. This is the kind of complexity all dinosaur fans can get behind.
Common Descent Podcast (Apple Podcasts/Stitcher/Spotify)
Like the best podcasts about any topic, The Common Descent Podcast, a podcast about “the diversity of life: past and present,” feels like chatting and hanging out with your best friends. Hosted by two paleontologists (David Moscato and Will Harris), they cover not only what’s going on in paleontology news every episode, but also one specific topic in meaty detail like the Triassic Extinction to Mosasaurs to paleontologist Mary Anning, and much, much more. Learning about any new topic can be intimidating, but Moscato and Harris’s casual and conversational style makes it all accessible, feeling like your part of this living, breathing history even if its now just bones.
Bizarre Dinosaurs (Disney +)
For dinosaur nerds looking to widen their species vocabulary, look no further than Bizarre Dinosaurs. As its name suggests, Bizarre Dinosaurs takes you through menagerie of more obscure dinosaurs with odd-looking frills, horns, and appendages. Here, talking head paleontologists like Jack Horner and Robert Bakker describe in detail how these left-of-center creatures compare to the mainstream counterparts. Instead of T. rex, Stegosaurus, and Brachiosaurus, we get a look at dinosaurs like Carnotaurus (a devil-horned therapod), Tuojoisaurus (Stegosaurus, but with shoulder spikes), and Mamenchisaurus (a super duper long neck sauropod) respectively. Now it could stop here, but this pulpy feeling dinosaur doc attempts to get at what all of these interesting features are for, sighting LOVE as the reason, not for fighting. It’s like if Jurassic Park became a romantic comedy… and speaking of Jurassic Park…
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (iTunes/Amazon)
Look, Jurassic Park is the best dinosaur movie period (Sorry Prehysteria fans), but if you’re already a dinosaur enthusiast, big or small, you’ve already got your best Ian Malcolm impressions down and velociraptor screams memorized. I offer the fifth film in the Jurassic franchise as the next great flick for dinosaur nerds looking to widen their palate. Set 25 years after the original and three years after franchise ‘reboot’ saw a new park come crashing down, Fallen Kingdom’s animal advocacy angle (the survivors of Jurassic World now have to save the dinosaurs from an active volcano) is sure to resonate with anyone, and for dinosaur nerds, the film offers the biggest collection of dinosaurs yet (like the triceratops-like Sinoceratops) and the croc-like boi, Baronyx. While the original Jurassic Park was heralded for providing the most realistic look at dinosaurs on the big screen at the time (Dilophosaurus might take issue with this), Fallen Kingdom shows us that like all animals, dinosaurs were individuals with their own unique personalities and attitude. Life uh, finds a way indeed.
Obviously there’s so much more dinosaur content to explore out there, please let me know if you’re ‘digging’ (sorry) any of the above mentioned, and let us know what you’re watching/reading/consuming!