#PreshistoricPlanet Ep. 2: Deserts – An Oasis of Dinosaur Fact and Wonder

Looks like we’re moving right along with our second post for #JurassicJune (2022), this time it’s a review of the second episode of Prehistoric Planet, a new (ish) show on Apple+ which takes a documentary style look at our humble blue marble, and attempts to recreate what it would look like back in our ancient past during the Cretaceous period (between 145 – 66 million years ago).

Two (ish) weeks ago I gave my initial thoughts on episode 1 -“Coasts”, which were generally enthusiastic, and awed by what the show has been able to accomplish. I loved watching the little T. Rexes hunt baby turtles (although obvi I was sad for the baby turtles to die) and seeing the Pterosaurs take a leap of faith off the coastal cliffs caused my heart to soar (I’m thinking Ptero“soar” was an opportunity missed by science). I was a little confused by where we were in time, and I felt without that grounding, it was a little discombobulating but I deemed that a general audience would probably find it fine, and that I was only curious because I’m a huge dinosaur nerd.

In the end, I was looking forward to the next chapter, and even — since it was centered around desert climates — anticipating the possibility that I might get to see some of my favorite dinosaurs from Egypt, like Paralititan and Spinosaurus.

Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed pretty quickly, but I did get to watch some giant sauropods duke it out in a fight for supremacy over the affections of lady sauropods relaxing nearby. The sauropods in question were Dreadnoughtus Schrani (meaning “fears nothing”) discovered in Argentina by Kenneth Lacovara who long-time blog followers may recognize as the author of Why Dinosaurs Matter which I reviewed in 2021 for #DinosaurDay. As if the image of these massive beasts fighting weren’t striking enough, the added image of orange air sacks which went up the animal’s necks in columns, inflating and deflating as a kind of mating display was weird and amazing all at once. According to ‘Prehistoric Planet’: an unofficial scientific guide to ‘Deserts’, their use here was speculative, but even so, I found it both intriguing and fascinating to ponder.

Perhaps the next most interesting part for me was again about the Pterosaurs. I was struck by the massive tuning fork like crests showed in the last episode (it seemed like it would be a foil to flight but apparently it isn’t), but was more staggered to see that some of the males do not have them, and would essentially impersonate female pterosaurs to get close to them without alerting the dominant male. Then, if it was a match, they’d essentially sneak around behind the other male’s back. #PrehistoricSoapOpera

Finally, my last favorite bit was about the hadrosaurs. It was really strange to see them roaming the desert sands in search of an oasis, and to think they might have been adapted to hear the ocean’s waves over long distances, and use the stars in the sky to navigate. This is something I’d love to do some more of my own reading on, and really see how the scientists think it might have worked (and maybe it will find its way into a future Egypt and Dinosaur adventure!)

Anyway, I thought this was a great episode, and I’m really excited to watch the next one!

What were your thoughts? Anything strike you as being completely fascinating? Too unbelievable? Let me know in the comments.

Wow, thank you for reading all the way down through the post. I’m glad you enjoyed #PreshistoricPlanet Ep. 2: Deserts – An Oasis of Dinosaur Fact and Wonder. This may be a weird spot for an ad or newsletter signup, but as you may have guessed, this episode’s desert setting really spoke to me, and seemed a well of information I might be able to use in future iterations in my Ancient Egypt and Dinosaurs setting.

If such a setting sounds intriguing to you, I recommend you check out my short story Narmer and the God Beast. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

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