quotemyfoot: (becker mental swearing)
[personal profile] quotemyfoot
Still working on my Big Bang fic. My beta is a wonderful person who I will love for basically forever but I haven't actually had to edit anything before and oh god it's so hard! I mean not that it's not necessary because now that I've seen the problems I'm face-palming at many of them. Still. Let me vent, okay.

Also, just watched the new 'Planet Dinosaurs' show on BBC1 right now (like literally it finished a few minutes ago) and yay, dinosaurs are still cool! I'll have to ask my little brother if he saw this, it was fantastic. The CGI was a bit hit and miss, but the creepy atmosphere was absolutely spot on and all the documentary stuff was super interesting. Also, Sarcosucus (sp?) is the best name for anything ever. Now I want my own twelve metre crocodile. The Philippine one will have do I guess. :(

Now there's 'Dinosaurs, Myths & Monsters' over on BBC4, presented/written by Tom Holland. After reading Millennium, I'm expecting good things. He hasn't disappointed so far. He has the exact same engaging narration on screen as he does on the page. This is the kinda guy I want to emulate!

So much Oxford on this show!! I saw the Natural History Museum, the Ashmolean, and the Bodlian Library! Omg now I am even more excite for going there, if that was even humanly possible.

This is such an amazing show. I need to find this shit on dvd. Seriously, Holland demonstrates Greek & Spartan battle techniques (phalanx + flanking counter, respectively) by making plastic toy dinosaurs fight each other. This is the sort of geek that everyone can appreciate!

Getting onto more serious stuff now, this is some really fascinating stuff. We're not the first people to dig up fossils. So how did our ancestors explain them? This is what Holland explores. He speculates things like the Gorgon myth came about to explain the fossilised bones the Greeks found - how else would such gigantic beasts turn to stone? Then there's stories from over the Alps about Griffins... dinosaurs? Mammoths?

Then there's dinosaur footprints. Left by dragons? Our ancestors seemed to think so (in the west and east, apparently). It's not just the West - in the last few years in China, paelotologists found that farmers had been digging up and selling fossils for use in medicine. So did the tales of Chinese dragons come from giant fossils? Holland said the evidence was 'circumstantial', but it seems plausible.

And then there's the Native American stories of 'thunderbeasts' (I think that's what they were called? Maybe 'thunderbirds'), who are described to look exactly like pterasaurs. Their enemies were giant beasts of the sea, which are descibred as remarkably like plesiosaurs.

Seriously, this sort of stuff is why I love history. I mean from there he goes into how our understanding of fossils developed. Crystal Palace comes up, but he also points to a town in Austria (I don't remember the name) which has the oldest surviving 3D reconstruction of a prehistoric animal. Now, granted, it's a dragon and the skull it was based off is from a... mammoth, if I recall correctly, but still, something just hits me about that. Oldest surviving reconstruction. How about that?

Yeah, we were superstitious back then, and we didn't understand everything about the past, had no idea how old it was. But we were trying to understand it given the evidence that we had around us. So fossils get explained in the best way we can, and as our understanding of the world develops, so do the theories we voice about them.

To me, that sort of thing says a lot about people in general. It's why I love history. For all that we think we're so different in the modern world, there are a lot of similarities with the past too - and we wouldn't be where we are today without it.

God damn, I am so pumped for uni.

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October 2011

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