Project Related Questions
What does "Dinosauria" even mean?
Dinosauria is the proper scientific name for the clade of animals we typically call dinosaurs. So it's basically just the word dinosaur but a little more proper. There's nothing wrong with just saying "dinosaur" though, we just chose to use it in our title because it makes it sound more unique. I mean, you gotta admit, "Dinosauria" does have a nice ring to it.
When will the documentary be finished?
The episodes will be released one at a time as soon as they're finished (meaning the first episode will be released as soon as its done, and then work on the second episode will begin), so the time it takes for the entire series to be complete will depend on how long each episode takes to produce. We're hoping to have the first episode released by the end of 2022.
Where will I be able to watch the documentary once it's out?
We will upload the completed episodes onto our YouTube channel.
Will Dinosauria cost money to watch?
Yes. We're sorry if this is disappointing, but the people behind this project are investing a ton of time and money into it, and we cannot afford to have no return on investment, especially since the money made from each episode will be used to fund the next one.
Besides, our goal here is to create a professional, high quality nature documentary, and thus it will be treated as such, both in how well-made it is and how it's released.
What will the price be for Dinosauria?
The price for each individual episode will be $2, meaning the whole series, once finished, will be $20.
However, during our upcoming IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign we'll be offering it for a special $15 price ($5 off the whole series), so if you want the entire series for a discounted price be on the lookout for it! If you pre-order the whole series for that price during the campaign, you will be given the episodes for free as they are made.
How many episodes will there be? How will the series be formatted?
There will be 10 episodes, and each one will take place in a different time and ecosystem (a lot like Walking with Dinosaurs did). For example, the second episode will take place in the Chinle Formation, 220 million years ago in the Late Triassic Period, the fourth will be set in the Morrison Formation,150 million years ago in the Late Jurassic Period, and the final episode will be set in the Hell Creek Formation, 66 million years ago at the tail end of the Cretaceous Period.
There will of course be more episodes then these, some of which taking place in formations not seen before in paleo-documentaries, but we're not going to reveal those just yet (let's just say there are things we'd like to keep a surprise).
Are you accepting more people onto the production team?
Absolutely! If you have a skill that would help us produce this project, please don't hesitate to fill out our Join Team form on our Team page.
How will this project be funded?
We currently have a page on Patreon on which you can support us. You can find it here: https://www.patreon.com/dinosauriadocumentary
Additionally, once a scene currently being produced by one of our animators is completed and released (which will work not only as a scene in the actual documentary, but also as a teaser and proof of concept), we will also begin a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo.
Contributing to our campaign and Patreon page will allow you access to exclusive content (the amount of content a backer will have access to will depend on how much money is being pledged), such as:
Being able to purchase the entire series in advance for a discounted price ($15 instead of $20)
Early access to pictures of work-in-progress and completed animal models that won't be revealed to the public for some time
Exclusive access to view bits and pieces of scenes from the series as they are being completed
Exclusive behind the scenes information (you'll hear about what episodes and animals our series will have before anyone else)
Exclusive HD posters, concept art, and photos/renders (including an exclusive physical poster you can hang on your wall!)
Exclusive audio commentary tracks done by Alex for when the episode's are done (which will reveal behind the scenes information and talk about why we made some of the scientific and storytelling decisions we did)
Monthly Q&A streams where patrons can ask Alex questions about the documentary
Will the series be filmed on location?
No, the entire series will be CGI. In the very early days of Dinosauria, filming on location was actually something taken into consideration (briefly), as it does contribute to the very realistic look of Walking with Dinosaurs (Dinosauria's inspiration) and WWD has often been praised for that. However, multiple factors have led to the decision that the scenery will be CGI.
First, the practicality. Not only do the personal lives of Dinosauria's team make it impossible for even the essential members to have the time to fly to different places around the world and film on location, but that also adds a tremendous amount of additional costs that would also be impossible for Dinosauria's team. Filming on location actually costs much more then CGI environments, and CGI environments also allow for Dinosauria's team members to work together online without intruding on personal lives to the extent that flying to different parts of the world would.
Second, the scientific accuracy. Filming in real locations does mean sacrificing accuracy, as the flora that is around today was not the flora that was around in the Mesozoic. Yes, there are still some conifer forests and fern prairies around today (though they are rare), but they aren't the same species that were around during the Mesozoic (for example, the species Araucaria araucana is commonly seen on dinosaur documentaries and paleo art, but wasn't actually around when dinosaurs existed; it is an extremely derived species that's very different the Araucaria in the Mesozoic). However, having CGI environments allows us to have not only completely accurate flora, but also a completely accurate environment in general. We will be free to create the environments as we please, and complete scientific accuracy is what suits our fancy.
Finally, CGI has progressed so much that even freelancers (like the ones that work on Dinosauria) that aren't even part of a studio are able to create incredibly convincing CGI that just wasn't possible back then, but is possible now. Therefore, the environments being CGI is not an issue in terms of how realistic the documentary will look, and it will still look fantastic.
Through cinematography and amazing, realistic-looking computer-generated models and environments, we will ensure that Dinosauria will be as immersive as Walking with Dinosaurs, and will look like we actually filmed real life dinosaurs in the real Mesozoic.
Why do you make no mention in the series description that dinosaurs are extinct?
Contrary to popular belief, dinosaurs actually aren't extinct. This is actually one of the biggest dinosaur misconceptions of all time. One group of dinosaurs is still alive today, and they're called birds.
While it is somewhat commonly known that birds evolved from dinosaurs, the fact of the matter is that they actually are dinosaurs themselves, not just related to them. Something breaking up from the group it evolved from simply isn't how phylogenetics (the study of evolutionary relationships among organisms) works. When a new group evolves, it doesn't become separate, it just acts as a subgroup to the group that it evolved from. For example, we are still apes, we and every single other mammal are still synapsids (Mammalia is a subgroup of Synapsida), and dinosaurs are still reptiles (Dinosauria is a subgroup of Reptilia). This is a universal law of phylogenetics. Therefore, it only makes sense for birds to be considered dinosaurs themselves.
Above is an incredibly simplified Reptilia cladogram (there are many other groups not listed here for simplicity), a diagram that shows evolutionary relationships among organisms. Each line represents a splitting off point (not ancestry), but none of these groups stop being reptiles. The same goes for birds still being dinosaurs.
Think of it this way: if two animals as anatomically dissimilar as say, Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops, are both considered to be dinosaurs, then it wouldn't make any sense to say that, for example, an emu isn't a dinosaur, as it shares a lot more anatomical similarities with Tyrannosaurus then Tyrannosaurus shares with Triceratops. The same goes for any other modern bird then just emus.
There is no actual scientific reason to separate birds from other dinosaurs other then that they're still alive today and all other dinosaur groups existed millions of years ago and went extinct, which is not a valid reason to separate two members of a group, especially since birds are theropods, a group that contains both prehistoric and modern species. It'd be like splitting all species of modern whale from the group Cetacea because they live today while the others are prehistoric.
Birds are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved in the Late Jurassic, meaning that they actually lived throughout the Cretaceous in many varieties (which our documentary will explore). They were the only dinosaur group to survive the K-Pg mass extinction event (though only certain groups of birds survived).
While we're talking about dinosaurs still being alive, it is also important to note that dinosaurs were not evolutionary failures or "destined for extinction" in any way, shape, or form. Dinosaurs were and still are beautiful and immensely successful animals. They were the dominant life on land for around 160 million years, spreading to every part of the globe and evolving into many different shapes and sizes. There were thousands of species of dinosaurs throughout the Mesozoic. Most media hasn’t even scratched the surface. There were even dinosaurs that adapted to survive in the South Pole, which in the winter would’ve been eternally dark and very cold, which is a testament to their adaptability. And, as stated earlier, dinosaurs aren’t extinct, birds are still alive today, so they are definitely not obsolete, as birds are incredibly successful animals today. You probably see a bird pretty much every day of your life, something you can’t really say for a lot of animals. So they’re the opposite of obsolete or inept. In fact, it's safe to say that dinosaurs are one of Earth's greatest success stories, and by far one of the most successful vertebrate groups of all time. An important thing about evolution and biology in general is that an animal groups' success is not based on intelligence, size, or power (though these are impressive traits), but by how long they last, because it inherently means they are well-adapted for their way of life.
This is why we have not put that dinosaurs are gone or extinct or that the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous wiped them out in the series description, as we are putting a conscious effort into avoiding portraying dinosaurs as being inept or extinct.
Are pterosaurs and marine reptiles like plesiosaurs and mosasaurs dinosaurs?
No. It has been a common trope to call any prehistoric reptile a dinosaur, whether it be pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, or even proto-mammals like Dimetrodon dinosaurs, but this isn't true. These animals aren't dinosaurs in any way, shape, or form. This isn’t even being picky or splitting hairs at all, calling any of these animals a dinosaur would be like calling a polar bear a cat.
The truth is that all of these animals are separate lineages evolved independently from dinosaurs. It's important to note that just because a name ends with “saurus” or “saur” doesn’t mean it’s a dinosaur. The fact that an ancient whale has the name Basilosaurus is proof of this (though this is because upon its discovery it was initially thought to be a large serpent). The suffix “saur” is derived from the latin term Saurian, which is a blanket term for any reptile, not a designated term for dinosaurs. So just because an animal's name has the suffix "saur" in it does not mean it's a dinosaur.
Pterosaurs are cousins of dinosaurs, being even more closely related to them then crocodilians and their relatives, like Postosuchus, but they are still not dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are a specific type of predominantly terrestrial reptile with a specific hip structure. We say predominantly because there are dinosaurs that have taken to the sky and sea, like almost all bird species, which yes, are dinosaurs, and Spinosaurus, an animal that we’ve progressively learned lived more of an aquatic lifestyle. But pterosaurs cannot be called flying dinosaurs, and marine reptiles cannot be called aquatic dinosaurs. This is also why it’s inaccurate to call a pterosaur a bird; birds are dinosaurs, while pterosaurs aren’t even dinosaurs, let alone birds.
We'd also like to address the common "pterodactyl" myth while we're already talking about pterosaur terminology myths. To put it simply, not every pterosaur is called "pterodactyl"; "pterodactyl" technically doesn't even exist. There is a pterosaur named Pterodactylus, though the animal that is commonly given this nickname is Pteranodon. However, as this series will show, these two pterosaur genera are very different from one another, and Pterosauria is so much more diverse then it is given credit for.
Dimetrodon, by far the most popular animal that lived before the dinosaurs, is what is called a synapsid, a diverse group of proto-mammals. While they look rather reptile-like, synapsids can be told apart from true reptiles by the fact that they have only one hole in the back of their skull, which is actually what the word synapsid means. Meanwhile true reptiles are diapsids, which have two holes at the back of their skull. Synapsids were almost like reptile and mammal hybrids, though they look a lot more mammal-like. However, Dimetrodon and its relatives is not one of our ancestors but one of the many related to them. They were around before any dinosaur had even evolved, and they were also long extinct by the time the first dinosaurs came along. Therefore you won't be seeing Dimetrodon or any of its close relatives in our documentary.
Plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and mosasaurs are each independent lineages of reptile. They each evolved from different land reptiles that took to the sea and evolved features to live an aquatic lifestyle, each at a different time in the Mesozoic.
However, just because these animals aren't dinosaurs, doesn't mean our documentary won't feature them. You will definitely be getting your fix of awesome pterosaurs and marine reptiles in our series!
Are dinosaurs reptiles?
100%. Due to new discoveries unveiling that many dinosaurs are more like birds then reptiles like crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and turtles, there is some confusion about whether dinosaurs are even reptiles, with some even saying that they aren't. However, the answer to that is yes, they still absolutely are reptiles.
Dinosaurs belong to a group of reptiles called archosaurs, which includes dinosaurs, crocodilians and their relatives, and pterosaurs. Since birds are dinosaurs, they are also archosaurs, and therefore reptiles. It is important to remember that while all birds are dinosaurs, not all dinosaurs were birds (nobody is calling Stegosaurus a bird when they're saying birds are dinosaurs).
When someone says dinosaurs aren't reptiles, it may mean that what they're referring to when they say "reptiles" are squamates, the group of reptiles that consists of lizards and snakes. However, reptiles are much more diverse then this. They may also be confused because the the revelation that dinosaurs are warm-blooded, so this may lead them to believe that they can't be reptiles. However, this also simply isn't true. Birds are reptiles (since they're dinosaurs), and they are warm-blooded. Being warm-blooded isn't something exclusive to mammals. The fact that archosaurs like dinosaurs and pterosaurs are warm-blooded is the reason why they are the most active of reptiles (and even then, crocodilians aren't always slow).
Will the dinosaurs in the documentary have feathers?
Absolutely! Unlike many dinosaur documentaries, our absolute top priority when it comes to making this series isn't sensationalism (trying to make things as cool as possible at the expense of scientific accuracy) but ensuring scientific accuracy across the board. This means that we won't let Jurassic Park nostalgia get in the way of reconstructing the dromaeosaurs (or as they're usually called, "raptors") in our documentary with feathers, or other theropods for that matter.
In fact, in general our documentary will not give into pop-culture clichés, like portraying all dromaeosaurs as pack hunters, portraying large theropod dinosaurs as monsters that just fight, roar, and kill all the time (and never fail at it either), giving sauropods elephant feet, depicting iguanodonts and hadrosaurs as wimps that are easy meals for theropod predators, getting pterosaur anatomy wrong in every conceivable way, etc. This documentary will reconstruct these animals as they were in reality, in terms of both anatomy and behavior.
However, while we definitely consider depicting certain dinosaur groups with feathers important (especially coelurosaurian theropods with the exception of tyrannosaurids; our Tyrannosaurus model doesn't have a huge feather coat, rather sparse protofeathers like elephant hair), we won't go overboard with the feathers to the point of absurdity. You won't see any sauropods, thyreophorans (stegosaurs and ankylosaurs), or even allosauroids and ceratosaurids, with feathers in our documentary.