“Jurassic Park” has had us all daydreaming of what it would be like to be one of those characters in the movie, strolling alongside dinosaurs as they stomped across the land, leaving giant footprints and shivers in their wake. And while that will never unfortunately be a reality, regardless of whether you believe that to be a good or bad thing, how about making it a virtual reality? Thanks to an extraordinary new program, you can immerse yourself in the Jurassic from the safety of your own home.
Better than that, this jaw-dropping film from the BBC takes you on a guided tour of what was one of the largest dinosaurs to have ever existed – a titanosaur. All with the help of your favorite broadcaster, beloved British biologist Sir David Attenborough.
The story begins with the accidental discovery, made by an Argentinian shepherd, of a previously unknown species of titanosaur a few years ago. After spotting a gargantuan bone poking out a rock, paleontologists were quick to the scene, eventually unearthing more than 220 fossils, the first of which was a 2.4-meter-long (7.9-foot-long) femur. Amazingly, these belonged to seven different individuals, and pretty massive ones at that.
“Hearing that it’s longer than a blue whale – 37 meters (121 feet) – and weighs as much as 15 African elephants (70 tonnes, 77 tons) is incredible, but they’re the sort of dimensions you simply need to see for yourself,” said the program’s co-producer and director Sam Hume. “That’s what triggered the idea to produce a 360-immersive experience, where you can stand alongside the titanosaur and see it for yourself.”
After a laborious two years of excavation, fossil cleaning, and scientific investigation, the work culminated in the production of both a model of the beast’s humongous skeleton and a CGI dinosaur, both based on digital scans of the bones. It is the latter you are given a guided tour of in the movie, visualized as if it is striding along in its natural habitat.
While the species has yet to be named, we already know that titanosaurs were an incredibly diverse group of sauropods – the long-necked herbivores that includes the well-known Diplodocus. While some reached staggering sizes, such as this latest discovery and the size-rivaling Argentinosaurus, others were significantly smaller, like the 12-meter (40-foot) Saltasaurus.
If all this has left you itching to learn more, check it out: