Attenborough and the Sea Dragon

1 minute read

Recently, I’ve been involved in a documentary with the BBC: Attenborough and the Sea Dragon will be broadcast tomorrow evening (Sunday, 7 January 2018) at 8pm on BBC1. Here’s the trailer for the programme:

This documentary follows the story of a newly discovered ichthyosaur found near Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK. The collector, Chris Moore, is one of those lucky people who can spend much time on the beach, so has found many important fossils over many years. This includes the ichthyosaurs Leptonectes moorei, which is named after him. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen him not smiling.

I’ll post a bit about how I became involved in the programme, and some of the story alongside it, after it airs. I’ve only seen an earlier cut of the programme itself – at that point the producers, editors, animators, and many more had done a great job – and am looking forward to experiencing the final version. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it too.

As a bit of a spoiler, you can see write-ups of two parts that Fiann Smithwick and Emily Rayfield at the University of Bristol – and myself – contributed to the programme. These cover Fiann’s discovery of preserved skin on the ichthyosaur fossil and determining its colour patterning. And Emily’s and my calculating how powerful the bite was of another, larger ichthyosaur that was swimming around at the same time. The programme website is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09m2kgl.

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