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"Walking with Dinosaurs" Giant of the Skies (TV Episode 1999) Poster

Trivia

Featured creatures: Ornithocheirus, Tapejara, Iguanodon, Polacanthus, Utahraptor, Iberomesornis (the birds), Saurophtirus (the louse-like insect seen parasitizing the Ornithocheirus). According to the BBC website, the Liopleurodon-like pliosaur seen in one shot (recycled from the previous episode) is a Plesiopleuron.
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Since this episode aired, the American dinosaur the narrator describes as Iguanodon has been renamed Dakotadon (the European Iguanodon's name hasn't changed). It has also been proved that these animals mostly walked on their hind legs, thanks to their balancing tails. In this program, while the narration does tell us that they were capable of walking on two legs, the animals are mostly shown on all fours, and only rear up for feeding and running.
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The program's depiction of the carnivorous Utahraptor contains many flaws:
  • First of all, they are covered in scales. Fossil findings suggest that these dinosaurs were actually feathered, and had wings.


  • Their hands are pronated (palms facing back). Their palms should face inwards.


  • They are shown with the head of a much better known dinosaur, Deinonychus. Utahraptor had a more tubular-looking head.


  • Their tail is too long.


  • They also had teeth that pointed slightly outward from the tip of their snout.


  • Finally, some scientists also claim that these animals (and raptors in general) didn't actually hunt by bringing down larger dinosaurs.


  • Yet these inaccuracies cannot be listed as errors. At the time the program was made, some of these facts may not have been known, and the skull of the Utahraptor hasn't been discovered. The only true error is the lack of feathers, seeing as many paleontologists have already correctly theorized that they may have had them when the episode was created.


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The protagonist of the episode, the Ornithocheirus, would nowadays be called Tropeognathus, as it differs slightly from the actual Ornithocheirus genus.
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There is no direct proof of Saurophtirus sucking the blood of pterosaurs, but due to its resemblance to bat lice and the likelihood that pterosaurs were covered in fur it is considered likely.
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The pterosaur said to be Tapejara in the episode is nowadays called Tupandactylus, and is seen as a separate genus from the actual Tapejara. They are also shown living near the ocean and eating fish. Most modern paleontologists think that they lived inland and also ate fruit.
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One of the biggest plot-points of the story is that the Ornithocheirus has to be dry to be able to fly. However more recent findings show that these animals were good swimmers and being wet probably wasn't a hindrance to them.
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