The 65 Million Year (Just) Wait

I never actually outgrew my childhood dinosaur phase. My interest (fixation?) has only grown over the years and my bookshelves are still loaded down with dinosaur books. I have a very large weakness for the Jurassic Park movie series, thoroughly and emphatically enjoying even the worst of its big screen excesses. (I’m looking at you velociraptor killing gymnastics, San Diego destroying Tyrannosaurs, and pretty much all of the numbingly stupid Jurassic World.)

I had previously made an animated video for our song “Laurel Wreath” from our first EP in what can best be described as a story boarding experiment gone awry. I was envisioning an animated video and while screwing around with stick figures in power point, I hit upon the idea of just making a slideshow and syncing it to the music. 323 slides later, I had Laurel Wreath.

I had been home sick from work some time later and while watching the Dr. Who episode “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” I decided to make another animated stick figure driven video. I thought to myself, “If I had a machine that could travel in time and space and was bigger on the inside than it was on the outside, what would I do?” The answer of course was “go hang out with dinosaurs.”

Our song “Just Wait” was not written about dinosaurs. It’s actually based on a conversation I had with a friend about pessimism and not assuming that the metaphorical end times are nigh. But since in my head the line between whatever subject is at hand and dinosaurs is always a short one, and “Just Wait” was a song I wrote the lyrics for, it got the nod. It isn’t a particularly narrative song, and lacks a strong “this happened then that happened”, and I didn’t mind imposing a fairly random visual over it.

I made the Doctor / stick figure’s TARDIS (read: time machine) red here instead of blue because.... whimsy, really. The dinosaurs themselves were based on paleontological artist Gregory S. Paul’s skeleton illustrations in The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs. That there is a decent chance Beemo has the most accurate dinosaurs ever committed to a music video amuses me to no end.

There are scenes in both the Jurassic period and the Cretaceous period, telegraphed by the shots of earth with the continents in their approximate era appropriate locations. I tried to keep the flora and fauna consistent with paleontological evidence; there’s no grass or other flowing plants in the Jurassic scenes, as these didn’t show up until the Cretaceous period.

Tyrannosaurus Rex has always been and likely always will be my favorite dinosaur. I have fond childhood memories of the T-Rex at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History, incorrect tail on the ground tripod pose and all. (It’s been updated, I’m happy to say.) Sue Hendrickson, the American paleontologist/archaeologist who discovered the largest and one of the most complete T-Rex skeletons in 1990, is someone I would like to have a beer with. Naturally the T-Rex is a major character in the video and is, appropriate to one of the last dinosaurs on earth, on screen when the planet killing asteroid comes through the atmosphere.

(Historical note: dinosaurs drop out of the fossil record about 65 million years ago along with many other species at what is known as the KT Extinction event, consistent with the dating of a large meteorite impact crater discovered in the Yucatan, called the Chicxulub crater. All over the world at about that time boundary, there is a layer of iridium, which is rare on earth but common in asteroids, and also shocked quartz and other crystallized rock elements consistent with a large asteroid impact.)

I tried to use both recognizable and interesting dinosaurs, with a premium on ones that weren’t impossible to draw in power point. Futalognkosaurus (3:04-3:07 in the video) is definitely the least familiar one I used. I wanted a large sauropod to use in the Cretaceous scenes as the asteroid came down, and all the familiar ones (brachiosaurus, apatosaurus/brontosaurus) were all Jurassic era which ended almost 80 million years before the KT event.

If we’re getting nitpicky, Futalognkosaurus (circa 87 million years old) probably wasn’t still around when KT happened, but at least some in its family, the titanosaurs, were. And no, I do not know how to pronounce “Futalognkosaurus.”

And if we’re getting even more nitpicky, Ichthyosaurs and Pteranodons, though also reptiles, weren’t technically dinosaurs. Being classified as a dinosaur had a lot to do with how the hips are structured and.... you know what? You should probably google it if you’re interested. If I get going down the rabbit hole on dinosaurs I may starve to death before I finish this post.

If you ever want to geek out over prehistoric reptiles (or Dr. Who) come find me after a show.

Life finds a way.


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