Segments in this Video

Debunking Dinosaur Myths (01:23)


All descriptions of dinosaurs we are familiar with are a work of fiction--scientists work to discover what they really looked like. We will explore how scientists "build a dinosaur."

Getting It Right (01:07)

Anatomist Alice Roberts ponders how we can really know what dinosaurs looked like.

Historical Reconstructions (01:36)

See the Crystal Palace dinosaurs in London; these models were built in the 1850s. Roberts explains the faulty theories of these early reconstructions and that we now know much more.

New Accurate Representation (02:23)

In Los Angeles, the Museum of Natural History is building a new dinosaur exhibit based upon the latest scientific research. Director Dr. Luis Chiappe explains this exhibit reveals how we know what we know about dinosaurs. Dr. Chiappe will create a display staging three T. Rex specimens.

Small Dinosaurs (01:28)

Tiny chicken sized Fruitadens are pieced together from fossil remains. Hundreds of people, from artists to engineers, will collaborate to bring these dinosaurs to life.

Dinosaur Country (01:18)

Scenes of a Utah desert yield an epic past rife with dinosaur remains. Home to dinosaurs in the Jurassic Period, we see recreations with dinosaurs roaming the land.

Fossil Dig (02:56)

Watch the painstaking fieldwork involved in excavating dinosaur remains. Reconstructing dinosaurs requires both delicate handling of fragile fossils and heavy lifting of casts built to protect the fossils.

Other Places to Dig (03:08)

Meet Dr. Darren Nash, discoverer of a new dinosaur species found in a Victorian era fossil collection at the Natural History museum in Oxford.

Resurrecting T. Rex (04:45)

View the framing and construction used to pose the T. Rex skeletons. The large T. Rex is nicknamed Thomas. He is a work of art combining science, engineering, welded framework, and sculpture.

Birds Offer Clues (02:58)

Birds, the living descendants of dinosaurs, can help us better understand the biology of dinosaurs.

Ostrich As Model (03:54)

Roberts visits the Royal Veterinary College in London to dissect an ostrich revealing similarities to dinosaurs.

Computer Generated Simulations (02:14)

Watch scientists use computer models to estimate the T. Rex's speed based on muscle size.

Baby T. Rex (04:53)

Listen to team member Tom Bulger explain the difficulties of reconstructing a baby T. Rex from extremely small fragments. The exhibit will feature a model baby skeleton made by artist, Doyle Trankina.

T. Rex's Tiny Arms (01:24)

Since a complete T. Rex skeleton has never been found, scientists can only speculate the purpose of T. Rex's short arms.

Stages of Growth (02:42)

The dinosaur exhibit approaches completion. The three skeletons divulge the growth spurts of dinosaurs by comparing their sizes at time of death.

T. Rex Interactions (01:03)

This exhibit will contain a carcass to illustrate how T. Rex fed and related to its own kind.

Fruitadens (03:05)

We see the smallest dinosaur found in North America, reconstructed for the first time. Watch the team manage the details of recreating this tiny dinosaur.

Dinosaur Coloring (05:31)

Fossilized feathers and bones reveal the color of the dinosaur. Professor Mike Benton uses a scanning electron microscope to study pigmentation. Comparing fossils to feathers, he determines colorations.

Completed Dinosaur Exhibit (02:41)

The exhibit comes together after six years through the collaboration of many fields of knowledge to reveal a display that will touch millions of people.

Credits: How to Build a Dinosaur (00:28)

Credits: How to Build a Dinosaur

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How to Build a Dinosaur

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DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
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Reconstructing a dinosaur skeleton for a museum is a balance of art and science—enough science to keep the experts happy, enough artistic license to excite the visitors. But as it turns out, diplomacy is part of the balance as well. In this program, bioarchaeologist Alice Roberts goes to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to follow the creation of its 2011 dinosaur exhibit, from the raw bones to the final colossal models. A BBC Production. 

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL52493

ISBN: 978-1-61753-324-2

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“Presents some of the most interesting information we have today about these ancient beings...” —Science Books & Films (Editor’s Choice)

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.