Thursday, May 31, 2007

What if Dinosaurs Still Roamed the Earth?

Sarda Sahney posts at Scientific Blogging about the BBC Two program Horizon: My Pet Dinosaur. The show speculated on what the world would be like if dinosaurs had not gone extinct. They might be pets, they might be cattle, or, most fantastically, they might have evolved into something intelligent and humanoid. Sahney is skeptical of the idea of a Xindus-like Earth with co-existing "dinosauroids" and humans.

Dr Simon Conway Morris says: "The human is extraordinarily well designed," he says. The whole arrangement is actually designed for a particular mode of life, which, as you can see looking around us, is incredibly successful…If it's such a good solution for us, is it so difficult to imagine it could be a good solution for a dinosaur, therefore a 'dinosauroid'?"

The show even includes full-sized, bold constructions of ‘dinosauroids’. Ok so maybe I am being to harsh and this is just a little fun, but I like my popular science to at least have some element of science.

Watch a video of what BBC2 thinks 21st century dinosaurs might look like.

ETA: the Dinosauria web site has a pretty comprehensive list of dinosaurs in science fiction and fantasy (pdf), as does SciFan. The Internet Review of Science Fiction has an overview of which dinosaur stories can be considered "essential novels" and "essential short fiction" (free subscription required). Some of the recommended titles that include dinosaurs that survived to the present :
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  1. I think the worst part comes in the first 15 seconds of the film, where it says that "none the mammals we're familiar with would never have been able to evolve."

    ummm... shouldn't that include humans? So much for the entire premise of the show.

  2. But they wouldn't have been able to show those cute clips of the dino pet taking scraps from the dinner table if they were true to the science.

    Seriously, though, it's no wonder the general public so thoroughly believes that humans are "special" and not part of the biological world when even science programs promote the idea.


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