This is actually a reissue of programs aired on the Discovery Channel in 1997, though the DVD has a 2009 date. The package date is very misleading, as both the facts given and the computer animation are 15 years old – before the first airing of Walking With Dinosaurs. The computer animation, in particular, is very poor, and I would certainly not buy this DVD to watch the dinosaurs!

The DVD includes four 1-hour programs: Renaissance of the Dinosaurs, Land of the Giants, The Killer Elite, and And Then There Were None. In order, they deal with the public fascination with dinosaurs, the large herbivores, the two-legged killers such as T-Rex and raptors, and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Luckily, the program concentrates not on the videos, but on the science of paleontology. Even that is a bit dated in describing what is known about dinosaurs, though the finding, excavating, packing and cleaning of specimens is worth watching for budding paleontologists. So is the history of our fascination with dinosaurs, including more than the usual information about how our views about dinosaurs have changed since the Crystal Palace reconstruction and the dinosaur wars between Cope and Marsh.

If you are looking for a video to entertain children, this is not it. On the other hand, the DVD does have a number of airings of scientific controversies and field operations.

One point I would disagree with. The question of whether dinosaurs resembled birds or reptiles in care of young is addressed by using fossil bone cross sections to determine whether newly hatched dinosaurs had strong enough legs to stand. I strongly suspect that some dinosaurs could stand and some couldn’t, and the same is true of modern birds. Certainly chicks and ducklings are on their legs and finding their own food almost at once, and I suspect at least some dinosaurs may have been the same. I have seen arguments in later DVDs that some pterosaurs (which admittedly are not dinosaurs) were able to fly shortly after hatching.

All in all, this is not a DVD I would consider entertainment, but it could be of interest to a budding paleontologist.

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