‘Terra Nova’ on Fox chose to tell their tale 85 million years in the past which is an interesting concept because they can only travel one way.
Let’s take a look at the dinosaurs introduced in episode one and two. But first some history associated with the Earth during this time which was called the Cretaceous Period.
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The Cretaceous Period
This was the period when the dinosaurs were plentiful up until about 65 million years when they were wiped out by the meteor, which is 20 million years away from the time that the people from the future arrive essentially giving them time to stop or at least protect themselves from the event level extinction.
The name Cretaceous comes from the Latin word creta which means chalk. The period was named for the chalky rock near southeastern England where the first Cretaceous period sediment was studied.
During this time placental mammals were beginning to make an appearance as well as many flowering type plants. But it was definitely a time when the dinosaurs ruled from Tyrannosaurus Rex to the Triceratops.
Climate wise there was no ice, as the Earth was mainly forested, with lush greenery, though seasonal changes were happening, just on a much smaller scale. Geology wise there was a lot of activity from high tectonic plate activity to volcanic activity, which was how mountain ranges were formed. Also Pangaea was beginning to break up into the continents we know today.
Now let’s look at the dinosaurs that graced the screens from the pilot episode.
5 questions from episode one
The Real Dinosaurs
Brachiosaurus – Zoe, the youngest Shannon, comes across the dino as it’s eating the green leaves around and in the compound. Without any fear, she walks up to the giant and picks up some leaves it’s dropped. It is a scary moment for the other family members yet a touching moment showing that they are definitely in a new place.
Dino Facts: The Brachiosaurus was one of the tallest and largest dinosaurs yet found. It had a long neck, small head, and relatively short, thick tail.
Brachiosaurus was an herbivore, a plant eater. It probably ate the tops of tall trees with its large spatulate (chisel-shaped) teeth. It swallowed its food whole, without chewing it, digesting the plant material in its gut.
Herds: Brachiosaurus probably travelled in herds and may have migrated when they depleted their local food supply.
Eggs: Brachiosaurus may have hatched from eggs, like other sauropods. Sauropod eggs have been found in a linear pattern and not in nests; presumably the eggs were laid as the animal was walking. It is thought that sauropods did not take care of their eggs.
Life Span: Sauropod life spans may have been in the order of 100 years.
Defense: Brachiosaurus’ best defense was size. In addition, its long tail could whip away most attackers. Also, they had leathery skin, although this wasn’t much of a defense against long, sharp theropod teeth. They also had clawed feet that were more pronounced in the young. (read more info here)
Carnotaurus – This smaller version of a similar looking T-Rex was shown chasing down two Sixer vehicle’s before Commander Taylor and Jim Shannon rode into the rescue, in the pilot episode. These Carnos (so nicknamed by the Terra Novians) may have the wimpiest looking arms, but they more than made up for it in viciousness as one of them snags a Sixer snack.
Dino Fact: (pronounced KAR-no-TAWR-us) Carnotaurus (meaning “flesh-eating bull”) was an unusual-looking meat-eating dinosaur. It lived from the mid to late Cretaceous period, about 113 to 91 million years ago
Anatomy: Carnotaurus was about 25 feet (7.5 m) long and weighed about 1 ton (1000 kg). This theropod had 2 brow-horns (hence its name), extremely tiny arms (even smaller than those of Tyrannosaurids), and a long, thin tail. It may have had partial binocular vision (unlike most other dinosaurs) since its eyes were set facing slightly forwards. (full info here)
The Fictional Dinosaur
Acceraptor or Slasher – This is a fictional dinosaur in the raptor family, with colorful feathers atop its head, with a razor sharp tail that can cut a man down. According to Skye, who explains to Josh, while cutting some fruit with a huge knife, which is part of the Slasher’s tail, that only the males have the larger razor tail, and that they are usually dormant during the day, but are vicious pack hunters at night. They also call others to help in there hunt making them quite vicious as seen in the pilot. (read more info here)
But based on what we know so far, Terra Nova is in an alternate timeline. Will all the havoc, the earthquakes and volcanic activity, will it happen in this time line as well as the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs?
With a show like Terra Nova, it is bringing back the love of dinosaurs for many. Not only that, the writers are using both real and fictionalized dinos to tell story which makes the series that much more interesting.
Well with more dinosaurs to make an appearance make sure to subscribe to the column as we explore Terra Nova together in all its glory and learn more about the period and the dinosaurs.
Terra Nova airs on Mondays at 8e/p
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