A Natural History Of Turkey Dinosaurs

This week, in America, they celebrated the annual holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s a day when millions of humans come together to celebrate the defeat of their ancient enemies in the famous battle ‘Dinosaurs vs Space’ (won by space in a TKO). They do this by sacrificing and eating the highly-derived remnants of their former foes (Turkeys).

Here in the UK, we have our own long standing tradition mixing palaeontology and this particular Galliforme. I am of course referring to Turkey Dinosaurs.


The BDP Monster Mash

Halloween Special 2023

The Zombie Apocalypse is a common Halloween trope. It’s a time when the idea of the dead rising from the grave is not only accepted, but actively celebrated. And to the surprise of none, amongst the rotten hoard this year is a familiar face; the BDP Blog.

We’ve done Halloween special posts before, like when we explored the spookiest thing about bats. This year though we’ll be matching icons of horror media with their prehistoric equivalents in a listicle. That’s right, the true horror here is that we’re going full Buzzfeed.


Darwinism & Dragons

Guest Author – Sophie Pollard
Current Palaeobiology MSc Student

No matter how much or how little you know about mythology, you know about dragons. They’re pretty much everywhere. From the feathered Quetzalcoatl of Aztec culture to the many-headed Mesopotamian deity Tiamat, supernatural serpents have been causing floods, kidnapping women, and making a general nuisance of themselves to the heroes of our favourite stories for as long as anyone can remember.


The Why Of Sauron

Allow me a short digression into something nerdy. It’s niche and weird but I slipped in some science along the way. Whilst doing a bit of reading for another project the other day I stumbled across a curious link between two very different worlds; the science of Palaeontology, and the fictional antagonist of Middle-Earth. I subsequently went on to discover that link again, and then again. All of which led me to ask; why does Sauron keep popping up in palaeo?


What Even Is A Dodo?

When it comes to iconic animals of extinction, there are none better known (or as frequently name-dropped) than the Dodo. An animal so synonymous with the idea of being extinct that it even became a saying, “As dead as a Dodo.” But if you speak to most people and ask what they know about the Dodo, that’s pretty much where the knowledge starts and ends. However, there is a real species behind the legend and it holds more than a few surprises.


How To Evolve Your Dragon: Dragons Under Natural Selection

Guest Author: Emily Green
Bristol Palaeontology MSci Graduate / PhD Student – University of Lincoln

Dragons seem a universal staple of global mythology. Large and fearsome beasts which are so often, in part, based on unexplainable fossil discoveries. Many mythical creatures began life this way, such as the cyclops of Ancient Greece from the skulls of extinct island elephants, or mythical giants found by Carthaginians during excavations which are more likely the limb bones of Mammoths. In creating these myths, these civilisations were trying to explain their amazing discoveries. Now, as palaeontologists, we have a plethora of tools to explain the history of these fantastical beasts, which are sadly far more mundane than the flying fire breathing fiends of popular fantasy.


Does Jurassic World HAVE to be accurate? – Part Two

Guest Author: James Ormiston
Palaeontology MSci Graduate / Palaeoartist

This is Part Two of a double-post; to read part one click here.

Bridging the Gap

So far what I’ve done is over a thousand words of moaning, and excessive moaning adds fuel to the weird factionalism that’s appeared in the wake of this debate. So, what can actually be done about it? It was good to see Colin Trevorrow finally take on board peoples’ concerns over the lack of feathers, and getting the well-known dinosaur palaeontologist Prof Steve Brusatte (of the University of Edinburgh) on board for ‘JW: Dominion’ as an advisor is encouraging. For the most part however, the Jurassic franchise is something of a lost cause when it comes to accuracy as it’s already out there. It has its own extended universe, with spin-offs and video games, now cemented in modern culture – pronated hands and all. (more…)

Does Jurassic World HAVE to be accurate? – Part One

Guest Author: James Ormiston
Palaeontology & Evolution MSci Graduate / Palaeoartist

From Science to Sensation

A short while ago, dark blurry YouTube uploads began appearing of two big dinosaurs fighting in IMAX cinemas. These were covertly-filmed showings of the first few minutes of the next instalment in the biggest dino-franchise of all: Jurassic World Dominion. Though the official global reveal was some way away, these low-quality videos revealed some intriguing details. The online community immediately began picking it apart…and battle lines were drawn. A debate as old as the franchise itself was about to fire up again. (more…)

Time Burton’s Dinosaurs Attack! – The Jurassic Park Rival That Wasn’t

Guest Author: James Ormiston
Palaeontology MSci Graduate / PalaeoArtist

We all know the story leading up to the summer of 1993: God creates dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God creates Steven Spielberg, Spielberg creates dinosaurs, dinosaurs inherit the box office (other creation timelines are available). The titanic impact of Jurassic Park brought a head to the public’s interest in dinosaurs which had been bubbling over for some years.