Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|NOVA The Four-Winged Dinosaur|
Genres: Kids & Family, Educational, Documentary
Examines the fossil of Microraptor, a four-winged dinosaur, and uses scientific methods to see if Microraptor could really fly.
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A missing link
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 06/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recently, the internet has an article on a deer that has one horn in the middle of its head. It's probably just a deformity, but it gets folks excited because it makes us think about unicorns. Well, here, viewers' imaginations get to go wild because scientists have found a dinosaur that had four wings.
This work does a great job in peeling the onion. It asks if this is proof that birds descended from dinosaurs. It questions whether this animal flew or glided. Were its feathered legs for flight, or insulation and breeding. The question comes up: did birds start flying from the ground up or were they in the trees and just adapted to traveling at a height?
The term "missing link" does eventually come up in the work. However, these fossils were preserved well because a volcano covered up every nearby living thing so well and the narrator never says, "like Pompeii." They show a fossil of a mammal and that really had me curious, as humans are in that group, but they just touch the topic and move on.
From a descriptive point, this work had highs and lows. It had animated drawings that were more explanatory to me than CGI, but it had some CGI too. At one point, they show recreations that looked practically like Muppets and they could have used something better. You know how it's delightful the way these documentaries can take an ancient Egyptian skull and determine what the person would have looked like in the flesh? This works the same way because artists have helped the scientists to build a model of this bird/dino and they have it looking vibrant.
Like language trees, they show a tree displaying how beings separated from each other. It said crocodiles and dinosaurs broke from each other a long time ago. Wow! I had no idea about that. It pointed to branches where the creatures may have had feathers compared to those that probably didn't.
I'm struggling with whether little children will like this work. As many knows, little kids love them some dinosaurs, thus the success of those dumb "Land Before Time" films. However, this work may ask and answer questions that are to advanced for younger viewers."
Microraptor might be the first known tree dweller, but even
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 07/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Four-Winged Dinosaur: Microraptors and the Bird Origin Debate is the DVD rendition of an episode from the public television series NOVA, detailing the discovery of and scientific experiments surrounding fossils of an amazing, recently discovered dinosaur species - microraptor, a small dinosaur with flight feathers on all four of its limbs! Microraptor might be the first known tree dweller, but even with four wings, could it fly? Or did it glide from treetop to treetop? How did it maneuver in the air with four wings? In search of answers, paleontologists conducted a number of wind tunnel experiments and carefully tabulated the data. The results offer insight into one of nature's greatest mysteries: how did winged flight really evolve? Featuring captivating computer imagery of how microraptor might once have looked and behaved in its native habitat, The Four-Winged Dinosaur is enthusiastically recommended not only for dinosaur lovers, but also for bird lovers of all ages and backgrounds. Enhancements include printable materials for educators, closed-captioning, and the option of described video for the visually impaired. 54 minutes, color.