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  • Walking with Dinosaurs:
    • After its first episode aired, it found itself a target for angry palaeontologists because of one scene that showed a Postosuchus urinating and not excreting its wastes the way its modern relatives, birds and crocodilians do (despite the fact that some archosaurs are, in fact, capable of urinating in addition to excreting uric acid). Later episodes gave more fuel to the debates. While beloved by many, and hailed as a milestone in paleo-documentaries, a number of dino enthusiasts still frown upon its "spectacle over science" approach.
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    • The series also had scaly dromaeosaurids, an Ornithocheirus increased to the size of a large azhdarchid, a 25-meter Liopleurodon, and an Ornitholestes with a nose horn (though the last one is a result of science marching on) among other inaccuracies. At least none of the dinosaurs breathed fire or tried to eat everything in sight.
    • One of the more controversial additions was giving the Diplodocus an ovipositor, though chiefly because thanks to the computer modelling of their skeletons, the crew had no idea how it could lay eggs from a great height. Thus, they invented the ovipositor (admitting that it was theory in the Making Of video, and since there's no evidence they lacked one...). Chased by Dinosaurs did away with the ovipositor and portrayed Argentinosaurus almost violently expelling eggs from a great height, that didn't break upon impact by some miracle. If only for that, the ovipositor can consider itself (almost) vindicated.
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    • In the episode "Spirits of the Ice Forest", the Leaellynasaura is seen kicking dirt at a mammal (played by a coati). According to the companion book and website, it's supposed to be a Steropodon. The problem is, Steropodon is basically a prehistoric platypus, which a coati... doesn't resemble.
    • Darren Naish particularly dislikes the Tyrannosaurus rex model because of the neck being excessively thin, causing the head to appear disproportionately big and skull articulations to stick out for no reason. Also, the legs are too upright.
  • The sequel, Walking with Beasts, gives early Eocene primate Godinotia an appearance similar to modern Capuchin monkeys - but Godinotia was a member of the Adapidae, a prosimian family more related to lemurs and bushbabies, and like them, it most likely had a hairy face, hands and feet, and a "dog-like" snout. The eyes are also too small for a nocturnal animal, like what Godinotia is believed to have been - and the show portrayed it as.
    • Megafauna experts criticized the documentary for giving credence to Fariña & Blanco's fringe theory that Megatherium complimented its vegetarian diet with carrion and prey stolen from carnivores. The theory has the arguments "it is not impossible" and "it would be really cool if these claws were used to stab sabertooth cats" going for it, and pretty much everything that is known about ground sloths against.
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    • Other errors include Basilosaurus being an open-sea hunter, sabretooths chasing prey and living in lion-like prides, indricotheres that behave entirely like white rhinoceroses minus a couple cosmetic changes, and in an extreme case of Science Marches On, depicting the herbivorous Gastornis as a hunter.
    • The show is also guilty of Prop Recycling their bear-dog model from Oligocene-era "Land of Giants" as a miacid carnivoran in Eocene-era "New Dawn" (miacids were weasel-like, arboreal and plantigrade, unlike the show's bear-dog which is terrestrial, cursorial and acts like a dog); and their Pliocene sabertooth Dinofelis model from "Next of Kin" as a Pleistocene cave lion in "Mammoth Journey". In the second case, they bothered to give the animal another coat and a big cat's long tail (though this promotional image and others show it with the original short sabertooth cat-like tail), but the sabertooth proportions are still evident in its longer forelimbs, arched back, flat head and protruding saberteeth. Compare this actual restoration of a cave lion in BBC's later miniseries, Ice Age Giants.
    • "Next of Kin" has an Australopithecus gang opportunistically feeding on a zebra carcass... almost one million years before the genus Equus entered the African continent.
  • The second sequel, Walking With Monsters, presents arthropods as having no brains and being incapable of intelligence (some arthropods are actually among the smartest of animals) the jawless fish Cephalaspis as ancestral to land vertebrates (it belongs to the wrong branch of fish), diapsid Petrolacosaurus as ancestral to synapsid Edaphosaurus (one is in the line to modern reptiles and birds and the other is more related to mammals), Dimetrodon as ancestral to gorgonopsian Inostrancevia (too derived for that) and Diictodon as ancestral to Lystrosaurus (the second appeared before the first), although it could be argued it wasn't supposed to be a literal representation. Also, the eggs of Petrolacosaurus and Dimetrodon are depicted as mineralized, but this is an exclusive feature of archosaurs (crocodiles, dinosaurs, birds); other tetrapods (such as lizards and monotreme mammals like the platypus) lay soft, almost elastic eggs.
  • Jurassic Fight Club, the Poor Man's Walking with Dinosaurs on The History Channel. Hosted by "Dinosaur" George Blasing, this does not involve lines like "you are not your fucking primitive feathers" or a Tyrannosaurus trying to punch itself in the face with those stubby little arms. It's just a bit of paleontological pretext to some Cretaceous predators having dust-ups. Let's take a look at the errors:
    • They have the same naked generic "raptor" dromaeosaurs and improbably fierce dinosaurs that have been hanging around since Jurassic Park, plus the weird, unfounded suppositions about how dinosaurs behaved ("raptors" coordinated their hunts by using hand signals? Okay, then...) from Walking with Dinosaurs without quite the special effects quality of either.
    • Juvenile T. rex did NOT look like exact miniature copies of the adults and, in fact, looked more like Nanotyrannus. Oh, and also, there is a debate among paleontologists as to whether or not Nanotyrannus was even a separate genus of dinosaur at all or if the specimens found were really that of juvenile T. rex skeletons, with evidence leaning toward the latter. However, for all its other flaws, the series does dedicate a portion of that episode to the controversy over whether or not Nanotyrannus was its own genus.
      • It's interesting that in the narration they did say that juvenile T. rex were not shaped like miniature adults and were in fact physically very similar to Nanotyrannus. But then in the actual animation the juvenile T. rex were copies of the adult models and shrunk down. They could've at least used the Nanotyrannus model and changed the color scheme.
    • There is some anachronism in the series as well. Episode 8, "Raptor's Last Stand", has a flock of pterosaurs standing on the back of a Gastonia. Only problem, they were miniature azdarchid pterosaurs, pterosaurs who in some cases were bigger than a giraffe, and were at least condor-sized (although more recent discoveries suggest that some azhdarchids were pretty small, only the small ones rarely get preserved). There is the little fact that azdarchid pterosaurs didn't appear until the Late Cretaceous, which began around 100 MYA, while Gastonia and Utahraptor lived a full twenty-five million years earlier. That is the equivalent of a entelodont being labelled a contemporary of man. However some isolated bones suggest they may have appeared at the very beginning of the Cretaceous, so this may turn out to be the least of this show's issues.
    • Also, Pachyrhinosaurus is portrayed with a horn on its nose. What's the problem, you might ask? It got famous for lacking this feature. The fact it has a horn is based on the hypothesis that the boss was a base for a keratinous horn that didn't get preserved, but is now largely ignored.
    • Majungasaurus, just Majungasaurus. Not only did the show not get the memo that the dinosaur had gotten a name change from Majungatholus to Majungasaurus (talking head Tom Holtz reported that he brought this up but was ignored), but the host goes on to state that Majungasaurus's ugly appearance was caused by inbreeding, leading to horrible mutations.
    • They fail animal behavior pretty hard, too. The Nanotyrannus episode, for example—large predators kill competing species and their young all the time. Just look at the interactions between lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and cheetahs on the African savannah. It isn't even unheard of for a predator to continue to maul the carcass of a threat or rival long after such attacks are necessary. But the mother tyrannosaur tearing up the remains of the Nanotyrannus and scattering them around as a warning to other predators? That's probably giving them credit for a little too sophisticated of thinking. If anything, scattering blood, guts, and bone around the area would have drawn other predators closer. Fail.
    • The animal behavior issue also comes up in the episode where a "raptor" pack takes on an Edmontosaurus as well. The narrator repeatedly says that the dromaeosaurs normally wouldn't take on such large prey, but they're driven to protect their territory. That's not quite how territoriality works. Have you ever heard of a family of foxes attacking a moose to drive it out of their territory? Carnivores defend their territories from other members of the same species. They don't care about keeping every living thing out of their space. After all, what would they eat if they did that? If it was near a den/young or if they were desperately hungry that would be one thing, but it makes no sense for them to keep attacking such a formidable animal because it's in their territory.
  • Monsters Resurrected, a Discovery Channel series, is easily one of the most inaccurate documentaries on prehistoric animals ever made, particularly in regards to the Spinosaurus episode. If anyone thought Jurassic Park III did a misleading job at portraying the creature, it was nothing compared to this episode. Essentially, the Spinosaurus is portrayed as the ultimate predator of all time, able to effortlessly kill any other predator that lived in its time and region. In short, it is depicted as devouring a Rugops with one bite, killing a Carcharodontosaurus with one swipe across the face with its claws and effortlessly tearing apart the giant crocodylomorph Sarcosuchus (which was extinct by that time to boot). And that isn't all, its size is practically Godzilla-portioned, as it is able to pick up a 30ft long Rugops in its mouth and the thing appears to be no bigger than its head. Spinosaurus didn't grow much larger than 60ft, meaning the one depicted in the episode would have been close to 300ft. The episode also seems to take a lot of facts that we know about the animal out of context, seemingly with no other reason than to turn Spinosaurus into some kind of prehistoric Villain. One notable error in the Varanus priscus/Megalania episode was the fact that the aboriginals depicted in the episode had European skin colour. This does not need any explaining at all. That episode also gets extra fail points for actually underrating its main species as stupid, just because it was a reptile (its very close relatives are as smart as any equivalent mammal and it would have been as well), plus making it only one-quarter its actual size.
  • Clash of the Dinosaurs showed obvious signs of this trope, like making Quetzalcoatlus a scaly, flying reptile hunting eagle-style from the air instead of the fur-covered, terrestrial pterosaur it was, and having dinosaurs defending themselves with sonic weapons. It really caused grief to one of the paleontologists they interviewed by QUOTE MINING him.
  • Animal Armageddon, while not a bad program when it comes to explaining geological science, had some of the worst and most ugly-looking CGI dinosaur recreations imaginable, almost all of which suffer from anatomical inaccuracies. The episode on the Toba eruption ("Ice and Fire") picks its fauna at random. It shows the giant rhinoceros Elasmotherium living in herds in the Sumatran jungle and being hunted by lion-sized "Sumatran leopards" that are fast as cheetahs, a description that better suits the giant cheetah, Acinonyx pardinensis; however neither lived in Sumatra or a jungle environment, but on the Eurasian plains,note  A. pardinensis was also extinct by this time, and likely fed on deer and antelopes rather than on the giant Elasmotherium, which was probably solitary and had no real predators. Gigantopithecus, also extinct at the time, is portrayed fending off black "pumas" in what is now Vietnam, that are described as its main predator. There is no evidence that pumas ever existed in SE Asia, or that Gigantopithecus had any predators at all.
  • ITV's March of the Dinosaurs had dinosaur-freaks up in arms with just its preview images. While feathered tyrannosaurs and arctic mosasaurs might have looked awesome, the not properly feathered, small-winged (they should have actual wings with wing feathers) Troodons worked as horrible eye-sores for them. Indeed, we live in a time in which popular dinosaur restorations are forced to take a middle route between being too feathered for the general public's comfort, but not feathered enough to please dino-maniacs.
    • This is without mentioning the Quetzalcoatlus; its anatomy is messed up beyond repair, to the point that it's bipedal and lacks its wing claws.
  • While not specifically about prehistoric life, The Most Extreme messed up big in episode 65, Awesome Ancestors. Just what did they screw up on, you may ask? Tyrannosaurus rex was more closely related to your standard chicken than it was to the Komodo dragon. A more appropriate ancestor for the Komodo dragon would be the 50-foot long mosasaur, a predatory sea-going lizard that lived around the same time as the last dinosaurs and are thought to be distantly related to modern-day monitor lizards.
    • T. rex had many traits similar to those modern-day birds and was most-likely warm blooded, unlike the cold-blooded Komodo dragon which has more standard reptilian traits. Oops.
      • Megalania would work just as well, being an actual giant lizard related to the Komodo dragon.
  • The Dinomorphosis episode of Naked Science. Even disregarding that woefully outdated and unrealistic reconstruction of Oviraptor, it had actual scientists lamenting over the fact that the "poor T. rex" may have been feathered in real life, as if this somehow made it less badass. Um, nice job trying to forward the latest findings to the audience there, by explicitly saying how lame the new dinosaur image is. Surely, its immensely powerful bone-crunching bite and title as the baddest North American predator around at the time mean absolutely nothing now that we know it had fuzz somewhere on its body.
  • Paleoworld had an episode on prehistoric rhinoceroses that used an animatronic Triceratops. (To be fair, the palaeontological advisors did say that Triceratops was not, in any way, very closely related to any rhinoceros. The higher-ups did it anyways because Triceratops looked like a rhino slightly, and they had the footage, so they put it in the episode. So it's more an example of Executive Meddling.) Another episode contained the implication that Carnotaurus was older than Allosaurus.
  • There is an episode of Ancient Aliens that claims that dinosaurs survived into historical times, and were nuked by extraterrestrials. Not only does all shown evidence look fake or exaggerated, but they have religious archaeologists and come up with all sorts of strange ideas, including that aliens used genetic engineering to reintroduce animals like coelocanths and crocodilians because they existed in the Mesozoic and somehow had to appear in the present, and that dinosaur bones are painted with lead because they are extremely radioactive!
    • There was actually a fringe theory in the 1970s that the Cretaceous extinction event was a nuclear holocaust by a yet-undiscovered sapient theropod (so, Ultra Terrestrials rather than aliens). There are a few resemblances between the conditions observed at the end of the era and the effects of nuclear fallout, and any evidence of a civilization would have vanished in 66 million years. The theory, however, had more to do with Cold War anxiety than scientific plausibility.
  • Although not a bad program for explaining science, National Geographic's Evolutions somehow had a pair of Monolophosaurus kill a Diplodocus. Misplaced Wildlife and Anachronism Stew aside, the rationale for this basically came down to "Diplodocus was big, it was slow, and its teeth were ill-suited for combat". Try telling that to pretty much any large herbivore alive today. On the other hand, the Velociraptor has feathers with wings, and the Archaeopteryx model that briefly appears has long leg feathers.
  • Life After Dinosaurs somehow managed to produce a CGI model of Smilodon, in 2012, that has inaccuracies not seen in paleoart since the 19th century. The show's animal is built like a modern big cat, its lower incissors are shorter in the middle forming a "V" for some reason, and it walks with all its claws extended at all times. Being a sabertooth cat (one too big to climb too), Smilodon obviously retracted its claws when it wasn't fighting.
  • The French documentary L'odyssée de l'espèce shows the famed Lucy and other australopithecines struggling to walk upright. There is no evidence to back this beyond the documentary makers' preconceived opinion that because australopithecines were "primitive" compared to us, their locomotion should look difficult and imperfect. Every study on australopithecine fossils has shown, however, that while their legs were proportionally shorter than ours, they were entirely prepared to walk upright, and that their gait wouldn't be noticeably different from our own (the more primitive hominid Ardipithecus, who had less human and more simian-looking feet, might have been different). Paleoartist Mauricio Antón compared the images of mo-cap actors struggling to walk "imperfectly" in the documentary's making off to the zombie dancers in Michael Jackson's music video, Thriller.
    • Adding insult to injury, Lucy's species Australopithecus afarensis is shown to walk even worse than, and be outcompeted as a result by, the species Australopithecus anamensis. In reality, A. anamensis lived before A. afarensis and was the more primitive of the two. In fact, A. anamensis is likely the direct ancestor of A. afarensis.
    • Unlike Australopithecus and previous hominids Sahelanthropus and Orrorin, Homo habilis was played by actors wearing prosthetics rather than by Serkis Folk, and they walked perfectly. In real life H. habilis had the same "simian" long arms and short legs of Australopithecus. Any of them would have been as much a good or poor upright walker as the other.
  • Everything You Didn't Know About Animals (which isn't bad with facts about modern animals) confused Smilodon with the metatherian Thylacosmilus and claimed that the Italian Miocene owl Tyto gigantea preyed on people (which were limited to Africa at the time).
  • The episode "Extreme Dinosaurs" (no, not those extreme dinosaurs) of the BBC documentary series Horizon stated that sauropods and large theropods never coexisted (with the exception in focus being Mapusaurus and Argentinosaurus). What makes this egregious claim even more bizarre is that they recycle the Allosaurus and Diplodocus models from Walking with Dinosaurs to represent Mapusaurus and Argentinosaurus respectively, meaning they were probably aware this wasn't true and/or wilfully ignored evidence contrary to the episode's claim for some reason.
    • An explicit example was even given to try and provide evidence to their claim, that Tyrannosaurus didn't coexist with sauropods... except that isn't true either! The gigantic titanosaur Alamosaurus was a contemporary of Tyrannosaurus along the southern part of its range.
  • A New Prehistory features several glaring errors, including a sprawling, quadrupedal Microraptor (their excuse is that the wing feathers on its legs would make it harder for it to walk, which makes no sense at all), Yutyrannus coexisting with said Microraptor (geographically accurate but temporally wrong) and a David Peters based pterosaur in all its ugly, hideously deformed glory.
  • 2017's Ancient Earth features rather old-fashioned animal models that would have looked more at home in a show made a decade earlier. Most bizarrely, the animation confuses the small, long-tailed Triassic flying reptile Eudimorphodon with the gigantic, long-necked Cretaceous Quetzalcoatlus. Adding to this strange error, Eudimorphodon-like pterosaurs make their appearance in the Cretaceous episode next to an actual Quetzalcoatlus, despite these animals having lived about 140 million years apart. By this point, it should be no surprise that they're shown with scales instead of fuzz.
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