Dinosaur film wrong by a few million years

It is one of the most realistic animations ever devised. It took Disney more than three million computer hours to create. Trouble is, they got it wrong.

It is one of the most realistic animations ever devised. It took Disney more than three million computer hours to create. Trouble is, they got it wrong.

Dinosaur, to be released in the UK this autumn, is "a fable-like story", according to Disney. But according to Britain's Geological Society, the £200m film is an anachronistic mishmash which places the wrong sort of dinosaurs in the wrong sort of setting.

Dinosaur follows the adventures of an iguanodon called Aladar who is separated from his own species and so brought up by a clan of lemurs.

Unfortunately, as scientists have been quick to point out, some of the dinosaurs featured would have been long dead at the time the film is set. More basic still, they would not have co-existed with modern lemurs, as they were yet to evolve.

"The Disney publicity describes them as a herd of 'misfit' dinosaurs," noted Dr Ted Nield of the Geological Society. "Possibly this is because some of them should have been extinct by the late Cretaceous era." He prefers to call them "Aladar and the Anachronisms".

"The [lemurs] should have been dinosaur snack food 10 minutes into the film," commented one American reviewer.

Even Disney itself, in the copious publicity which accompanies the film, briefly acknowledges that " Dinosaur intentionally veers from scientific fact in certain aspects of its storytelling".

But it prefers to concentrate on the enormous processing power used to produce the film, which is entirely computer generated: "Bringing Dinosaur to the screen required 3.2 million processing hours and the film's total elements occupied 45 terabytes (45,000 megabytes), comprising more than 100 million individual files."

A film crew spent 18 months travelling the world to capture pictures to form the backdrops. Huge efforts were devoted to making sure that the lemurs' hair looked realistic.

But why bother with lemurs? After all, there were very few mammals alive - if any - when the dinosaurs met their end soon after (in geological terms) a meteor strike about 65 million years ago.

"Well, there were shrew-like mammals at that time, according to the latest scientific findings," said a Disney spokeswoman. "We are quite aware of the historical inaccuracies. But we never set out to make a historical documentary. There were only a few million years between dinosaurs and lemurs. We were told by a child during the American screenings that there probably wouldn't have been grass at that time." But that's unimportant, she insisted, because "it's a character-led, fantastic story".

Dr Nield has dubbed the film, which is released here in October, "Schmaltzing with Dinosaurs", after the BBC series Walking With Dinosaurs.

Perhaps it is wiser to say, with the French: " Demandez pas; c'est du cinéma."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick