Plants and Animals

Prehistoric Planet Exclusive We Talk That Twirling Carnotaurus Scene with Consultant Darren Naish

Prehistoric Planet Exclusive We Talk That Twirling Carnotaurus Scene with Consultant Darren Naish

Apple TV+’s impending David Attenborough documentary Prehistoric Planet focuses on one of the most fascinating periods in Earth’s history: the last 6 million years of the Late Cretaceous, when T-rex was swimming with its young (don’t believe us?) and sauropods were fighting it out with their massive, bobble-sacced necks (again, see for yourself). However, the poignant presentation of a theropod that provides a tremendous performance with only the tiniest of limbs has perhaps stolen the show before the series has even begun. Of course, we’re talking about Carnotaurus.

“Argentina’s Carnotaurus is a fantastic predatory dinosaur. It was identified in 1985, and its name means “meat-eating bull,” which is a fantastic moniker, according to British paleontologist and series consultant Darren Naish, and we have to agree. “It’s only known from one specimen, but one of its most bizarre traits is these incredibly unusual arms and shoulder girdle.” The arms appear so little that it’s easy to believe they’re evolutionary relics that have gotten smaller and smaller through time. But that contradicts the fact that the anatomy here is extremely specialized.”

Carnotaurus fossilized remnants have a ball-like head on the top of the upper arm. The shoulder and hips are ball joints in the human body, and they may rotate very freely for certain people. The ball joint in Carnotaurus is unlike any other dinosaur’s, according to Naish, and is related to a very muscular shoulder girdle, indicating that it wasn’t a lame and useless evolutionary holdover, but rather served a useful purpose.

“Scientists have examined what its function may be, and the only thing that checks all the boxes is that it [did] some odd arm-twirling display,” says one researcher, Said Naish. Yes, beginning May 23, 2022, you may see Carnotaurus execute a breath-taking courting display through the medium of tiny, whirling blue arms in Prehistoric Planet on Apple TV+ (see a glimpse of it in the official trailer below).

Much of the series pays homage to the fact that all evidence points to dinosaurs being flamboyant animals who communicated with whatever evolution provided them with, whether it was intimate vocalizations between potential T-rex mates (think less Jurassic Park, more shoebill) or Carnotaurus’ teeny, tiny arms. They also possessed exceptional color vision, which has been deduced from the anatomy and skills of their closest living relatives and assigned to dinosaurs via a technique known as “phylogenetic bracketing.” That implies flashes of color, like their distant, displaying bird-of-paradise ancestors, may have been important in sexual selection, and Carnotaurus has been given brilliant blue underarms to reflect this.

The end outcome is one that will change the way you think about dinosaurs. The series’ central premise is to exhibit dinosaurs in surprising ways to show that they were not the roaring monsters of Hollywood, but rather creatures like any other. Complex, perplexing, and, yes, occasionally amusing. “It’s gone insane on the internet,” series producer Tim Walker told.

“That particular dinosaur has gotten a lot of affection.” I’m not sure if you’ve been keeping up with the fan art that’s been made… However, that dinosaur appears to be one of the most popular for recreation. People are creating gifs and their own versions of the dance based on the drawings. So, if we can keep sparking this kind of inventiveness, we’ll be thrilled.” Want to watch Carnotaurus’ spinning courting performance in all its glory? Prehistoric Planet, a five-day celebration of Late Cretaceous wonder, will launch internationally on Apple TV+ on May 23, 2022.