Mommy Issues

This is a general PSA that you should watch Prehistoric Planet if for no other reason to see some really cute baby dinos of all sorts!

But in all seriousness the team behind this documentary series have clearly put in the work from presenting us with some of the most life-like dinosaurs imaginable to presenting us with the most up to date ‘dino facts’. Among this of course is the traumatic separation of the baby Triceratops from his mother – as well as the tough times faced by many of the other baby dinos.

It might seem cruel to put the CGI’ed baby dinos through such trauma. This isn’t a nature documentary in the traditional sense (although I wish it was), so why do the babies have to die?? I mean it’s up there with having the dog die in the film!

Showing us the tough times that we might expect baby dinos to have gone through arguably lends to the realness of the series and is probably the reality of how things really were. Many species (often reffered to as “r-selected”) have large broods or litters to try and compensate for the inevitable death of most of their brood – and we know from the fossil record that most dinos were no different.

Tanya Strydom is a PhD candidate at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.

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