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Series / Mammals vs. Dinos

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Mammals vs. Dinos (known as In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs in European countries), is an obscure documentary mini series, co-produced by NHK and the Science Channel, that aired in 2007.

The documentary focuses on the evolution of Dinosaurs and Mammals from their debut in the Triassic to the K-Pg Extinction Event, with greater focus on how each group evolved to survive in the Mesozoic World.


Mammals Vs. Dinos provide examples of the following tropes:

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  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Repenomamus in the second episode is introduced as being the mammal that ate dinosaurs (well, baby ones, but still), only to find itself falling prey to the early tyrannosaur Dilong. Also an example of * The Hunter Becomes the Hunted
  • Anachronistic Animal: Like many other documentaries before it, Coelophysis is put in the late Triassic of 220 million years ago when it didn't appear until about 4 million years later.
  • Animals Not to Scale:
    • The Triceratops is way too small compared to the Rex.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Both the narrator and Dr. Gregory Erickson suggest that the bite force of T. rex could have been high as 18,000 pounds when 8,000 pounds is a lot more likely to be the maximum force in which a Tyrannosaurus could bite.
    • It is suggested that juvenile Tyrannosaurs had feathers and lost them as they grew which is not how feathers work.
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    • The Triceratops are shown galloping which, considering their large size, would have been physically impossible for them to do.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • The creatures, anatomically wise, look terrible for the most part.
      • Broken wrists on all of the theropods.
      • Coelophyis is shown to have three fingers when it should have a smaller fourth finger since it was an early dinosaur.
      • The Stegosaurus has plates that look way too jagged when they should be diamond shaped.
      • Sinosauropteryx has a way too pointy skull.
      • The frill on the Triceratops resembles more of the box shaped frill you would see on some other Ceratopsians when it needs to be more round. Also its horns are ridiculously small.
      • The Allosaurus is the worst offender of this. Its head is way too small, it lacks the head crests that it's known for having, it's incredibly skinny, its fingers are too small, and it has very incorrect feet.
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    • Many animals' sizes are inaccurately stated:
      • Metoposaurus is said to be about 3 feet long when the largest specimens reached a length of 5-7 feet.
      • Stegosaurus is stated as being almost 30 feet long. While there is a species of Stego that could grow that big the species depicted is most likely Stegosaurus Stenops who could only reach a length of about 23 feet.
      • Allosaurus is stated as being over 15 feet tall, which is 7 feet taller than the largest individuals.
      • Repenomamus is said to be 3 feet long but that size is more akin to Repenomamus giganticus and not Repenomamus robustus, which is the species depicted, who could only reach a length of about 1 foot.
      • It is stated that the holotype specimen of Sinosauropteryx was over 3 feet long when, while we have found Sinosauropteryx fossils that big, the first specimen was only about 27 inches long.
      • Tyrannosaurus is said to reach a height of almost 20 feet when the largest specimens are no taller than 12-13 feet. If that wasn't bad enough, the European version of the documentary claims Tyrannosaurus was 39 feet tall (perhaps they meant 39 feet long).
    • Grass can be seen several times when we know it mostly didn't exist during the Mesozoic.
    • The show makes the claim that Adelobasileus was discovered in the Chinle Formation in New Mexico when it was actually discovered in the Tecovas Formation in Texas.
    • It is said that Supersaurus was first discovered in 1994 when the first specimen was really discovered in 1972 and wasn't named until 1985.
    • The Supersaurus can be seen chewing even though the narrator accurately claims that they couldn't.
    • Hyphalosaurus is mis-identified as a Dinosaur in the European version.
    • We have no evidence that Sinosauropteryx and Dilong hunted in packs.
    • Microraptor is implied to be one of the first Dinosaurs to be able to glide when there was another small dinosaur from the Jurassic Period called Archaeopteryx that could also glide. It is also implied that the first birds appeared during the Cretaceous period when birds had existed since the Jurassic period, Archaeopteryx being one of the first.
    • Tyrannosaurus rex is said to have appeared 70 million years ago when it really appeared 68 million years ago.
    • Besides the inclusion of feathers, the juvenile Tyrannosaurs look almost identical to the adult which, based on fossil evidence, we know was not the case. The narrator even states that they would have looked different.
    • The narrator repeatedly states that Tyrannosaurus had the strongest jaws ever when the giant shark Megalodon had an even more powerful jaw.
    • It is highly unlikely that an entire herd of adult Triceratops would be scared off by 2 juvenile Tyrannosaurs.
    • Cimolestes is claimed to be the first mammal with a placenta when a much older placental mammal called Eomaia, which lived about 125 million years ago during the early Cretaceous, was already known at the time.
  • Bloodless Carnage: For the most part. The only time we see blood is when the Tyrannosaurus is eating the Triceratops.
  • Eats Babies: The Repenomamus eats a baby Psittacosaurus.
  • Expy: In the Triassic segment, a Placerias that looks like a straight rip off of the one from Walking with Dinosaurs, same color scheme no less, can be seen.
  • Meek Mesozoic Mammal: The entire documentary shows how tiny mammals evolved and developed in the shadow of the dinosaurs, either as prey or utterly beneath the notice of the reptilian giants. Even Repenomamus, a relatively large Mesozoic mammal and shown as a predator of dinosaur hatchlings, is depicted being quickly killed and eaten by a pack of Dilong.
  • Mighty Roar: The T. rex, they even have the screen shake when it roars.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The series ends with the asteroid wiping out all non-avian Dinosaurs.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The fossils being resurrected in the modern world.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • All the bits with the scientists.
    • The Stegosaurus has the throat pouch that is often missing in most depictions of the animal.
  • Tail Slap: A Supersaurus does this to an Allosaurus that was trying to attack it.

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