Over on Pterosaur.net Mark Witton has written a rather sad piece on the recent TV show that was laden with pterosaurs. Mark is rather critical of the science presented in the show and that is as predictable as it is annoying. What can only make it more frustrating is that he was one of the consultants for it and is even named in the credits.
Now I know it’s impossible for anyone to do something like this 100% accurately. For a start, some things are in conflict and you won’t even be able to create a pterosaur that one expert won’t like for the shape of the wings, or distribution of the pycnofibers or whatever. And we do understand that some things are exceptionally hard to animate or simply cost too much to do. Or deadlines can run out and leave things unfinished or with not enough time to do properly. All annoying, but understandable if not entirely acceptable. However, I do think it is fair to question exactly why they bother to hire professionals as consultants if they then don’t listen to them and fill the thing with absolutely basic errors.
Now I haven’t seen this but Mark and others have. They ignore all the early discoveries and apparently start historically with Dimorphodon conveniently ignoring the first half century of research. They feature Pterodaustro while saying that there were no filter feeding pterosaurs. This is basic stuff. You can find it out online in moments. The whole POINT of Pterosaur.net was to provide just this kind of information. If you knew nothing about pterosaurs at all you should be able to read the whole site in under and hour and come away with a reasonable understanding of pterosaur biology and science.
But despite having their own runners and researchers, and hiring researchers as consultants, they can’t get things right which are in the first few line of a damned Wikipedia article on the subject. Come ON. If you are going to get stuff like this wrong it’s going to look an awful lot like you hired people like Mark just to get a thin veneer of scientific respectability to your production safe in the knowledge that the scientists won’t complain, or if they do, no one will notice, but you might draw in a few more punters since you can apparently claim super accuracy and research. But surely the wouldn’t do that would they?