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This three-hour scientific spectacle was the BBC television event of the year in late 1999. It garnered an estimated 52 share, meaning more than half of all the TV sets that were switched on in England tuned to the show when it aired (roughly 19 million viewers). The following April, “Walking with Dinosaurs” made only a little less of a splash in the U.S., on the Discovery channel.

The program made use of the very latest in paleontological knowledge and theory as well as animation techniques, combining computer graphic animation, animatronics, and live location shots from the California State Parks and the Bahamas to Tasmania and Chile into a (nearly) seamless whole that enthralled its viewers. Its sly “storytelling” approach to dinosaurs’ lives made it something more—and perhaps less—than a true-life nature special or scientific study: more to the average viewer, less to the hard scientist and dinosaur aficionado.

Click here the full review by David Loftus.

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