When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #7: Jurassic Fight Club

BLOOD! VIOLENCE! GORE! PREHISTORIC MONSTERS KILLING EACH OTHER FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT!!!

Yeah, that’s the basic premise of this series. Understandably, many hardcore dinosaur enthusiasts don’t exactly give this show the highest praise (for them, the first rule of Jurassic Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Jurassic Fight Club). The show is similar in some respects to Walking With Dinosaurs. But while WwD painted dinosaurs as actual animals, this show seems determined to portray  dinosaurs as bloodthirsty monsters who have no purpose but to kill things. Each episode begins talking about a certain dinosaur or dinosaurs, telling the audience just how awesome and scary it was. It tells us how powerful it was, how fast it was, how much bone it can crush with it’s jaw, along with a bunch of speculative science that we really have no idea about. All this is to set up a battle between two or more prehistoric creatures and present it as gory and dramatic as possible. It’s as ridiculous and disrespectful as sensationalist dinosaur propaganda gets.

Yet, to me, it’s a serious guilty pleasure.

I forever disown you, DG.

I forever disown you, DG.

Yeah, I know. As overblown as this entire series is, I just have to admit, despite all the sensationalism, inaccuracies, speculations, and gratuitous violence, the dinosaurs are really cool. And since this blog is more about the dinosaurs themselves than the quality of the series, I see this as a perfect opportunity to show the more positive aspects of this show.

Not so fast, DG!

Not so fast, DG!

Philosoraptor! Haven’t seen you in that form in a long while. I suppose you’ve come to make sure I review this series fairly?

I'll hold off for now, but I will keep an eye on you. Expect to see me again in a different form. One good thing about this series, it's chock full of raptors.

I’ll hold off for now, but I will keep an eye on you. Expect to see me again in a different form. One good thing about this series, it’s chock full of raptors.

Well, you’re right about that. Well, let’s get started and look at the dinosaurs of Jurassic Fight Club.

Our first dinosaur deals refreshingly with a dinosaur that hasn’t really gotten any attention in popular media util this series, Majungasaurus, or as this series calls it, Majungatholus (it’s out of use yet slightly cooler name).

Why do we get such an unknown dinosaur in a series about dinosaur exploitation? Why, because Majungatholus was a cannibal! Yay, that sounds exploitable!

We see both male and female Majungatholus, and the program presents them as displaying sexual dimorphism.

As seen here.

Although there isn’t much fossil evidence pertaining this, we would’t know that a male lion has a mane if all we saw were the bones. And I have to say, the designs for the male Majungatholus are extraordinary. It truly is a striking appearance, and I have to say it’s the first time I’ve seen an abelisaurid portrayed this way. However, the real star of this episode is not the innovative design, but instead the fact that daddy Majungatholus eats babies.

We should have called it Krampusaurus.

Actually, that’s an awesome idea for a dinosaur name. I should hold onto that.

Evidence of cannibalistic Majungatholas comes from teeth marks found in bones of the same species. However, unlike the shows portrayal, many scientist now think these teeth marks represent fights between dinosaurs for meals, and not active cannibalism. But no, that’s not cool enough for this show. WE ARE HARDCORE! We must watch a dinosaur bloodily devour baby dino’s of the same kind.

Now, I’m not disregarding this theory, many animals today display similar behavior (Komodo Dragons, lions, ect,). I’m only judging the way it’s portrayed in the series, as theatrical and dramatic as possible.

The next episode deals with the always bad to the bone T. rex!

And I have to admit, another awesome design.

Yep, I approve.

Yep, I approve.

Yah, this Rex is amazing to look at. But, like every other dinosaur in this show, he is greatly dramatized. And this goes double for him, being T. rex and all. Yet, surprisingly, Rexy isn’t the star of this episode.

Meet Nanotyrannus. He’s basically T-Rex lite.

This little dino has caused a lot of debates in the paleontologist community. Some people consider it a valid genus, others think it’s a young adult T. rex. This show takes the side that it’s a separate dino, sighting differences in the skull as valid proof. However, we now know that dinosaur skulls changed dramatically as they aged, leaving this evidence moot. Yeah, I’m on the side that Nano is just a teenage Rex. Strangely, the young Rexes seen in the show just look like miniature adults, although they should look like Nano. But I digress. So, what do these two dino’s do in a show called Jurassic Fight Club?

Oh, I thought they recited poetry.

The nano is portrayed as a hunter of bay rexes, saying that it’s main goal is to destroy potential competition before they become a threat. Similar behavior is seen in modern animals as well, lions will often kill hyenas and cheetahs when they get the opportunity. However, this idea is presented as fact in the show, and not as speculation. Similar claims include: adult T. rexes leave scent marks to scare away predators, Nanotyrannus follows said scent marks to find young rexes to kill, and adult T. rexes send messages to other predators by ripping apart fallen opponents. I wouldn’t mind this if the ideas were shown as speculation, but they’re presented with such enthusiasm by the host that casual viewers might take this as straight up fact.

P.S., I don’t think I’m spoiling anything, but the T. rex wins.

Oh crap!

Next episode features a Tenontosaurus, which means Deinonychus can’t be far behind.

I’ll never escape this image, will eye.

Nope.

Anyway, ever since a fossil of Tenontosaurus was found surrounded by Deinonychus, it’s been assumed that the raptors hunted in packs to take down much larger prey. However, scientists are starting to think instead that all these raptors came together to feed on an already dead kill, and probably lived solitary lives. So, the idea of raptors being pack hunting killing machines who take down animals ten times their size is slowly fading away.

Yeah, sorry 'bout that.

Yeah, sorry ’bout that.

You suck, science. But, the hypothesis does hold merit. What if future paleontologist find a rhinoceros skeleton surrounded by jackals? They would probably come to the conclusion that the jackals took down the large beast as a group. However, jackals are mostly solitary, hunting smaller prey. But they do congregate when they come across a large carcass. We think something similar happened with the Deinonychus. Remember, Deinonychus was the size of a person, while Tenontosaurus was the size of an elephant!

But of course, this show takes the ‘cooler’ look and has the pack of raptors take down the poor, elephant sized dinosaur. Of course. So, let’s take a look at them, shall we?

Hmm, not bad. A bit generic looking but I’ve seen a lot worse.

Ok, how ’bout the raptors. Philosoraptor that’s your cue to come.

Here I am, DG. Now, what do you think?

Here I am, DG. Now, what do you think?

UGGH! Sadly, exactly what I was expecting. OK, the design and coloration is cool, but really? No feathers? This program came out in 2008, they new better! I know feathers are a pain to animate, but this isn’t 1999. It is doable. Really, this is unacceptable in a program today. The documentaries When Dinosaurs Roamed America and Dinosaur Planet had them in 2001 and 2003! Get with the program!

OK, anything else you want to add, Raptor?

Nothing much. I'll see you in a little bit.

Nothing much. I’ll see you in a little bit.

Oookaay…moving on. As expected, raptors work as a group to take down the Tenotosaur. We get some more erroneous claims, like how raptors used hand signals to coordinate attacks (really?). But in the end, they predictably succeed.

In this show, the poor thing never stood a chance.

However, I think it should have ended more like this.

Because ‘why not’.

Next, we actually have an episode that *gasp* TAKES PLACE IN THE JURASSIC!!!

Yay!!!!!!

But in a show like this, that means we get the stock Jurassic dinosaurs we’ve seen a million time before. Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Stegosaurus, they’re all there. The only refreshing change of pace is the inclusion of Camarasaurus. Although it was the most common Sauropod of Jurassic North America, it is often overlooked by the more popular Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Diplodocus.

Let’s take a look at each of them.

Allosaurus is pretty well presented. I have to admit, I’m a big fan of this dinosaur, and I say he looks way cooler than he did in Walking With Dinosaurs. I’m also glad they included the brow horns, something quite a few restorations forget.

Now, how about Stegosaurus?

Not much to say. It’s pretty average.

How about Ceratosaurus?

Ooh, not bad. Dare I say awesome?

As you’ve read in my JP3 review, I love Ceratosaurus. And although the JP3 Ceratosaur was pretty inaccurate, this one is pretty spot on, as well as awesomely designed and colored. Now, let’s look at our Sauropod.

I’ve seen better, but I like the orange around the face. I think that’s a nice touch.

All these dinosaurs come together when a drought spares only one body of water, and all congregate to drink and hunt. The herbivores get stuck in the mud, luring in the carnivores. Chaos ensues.

This is based on an actual bone bed, and although the violence is again dramatized (this is probably the goriest battle in the series), it also seems the most plausible.

A later episode features the Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus having a one on one battle, and it’s as violent as you would think.

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

The next episode is a bit different in that it doesn’t deal with any dinosaurs, or even the Mesozoic. It’s about Jaws himself, Carcharodon Megalodon!

Da dum, da dum…

That may look like an ordinary great white, but this shark was over 50 ft long!! The series depicts it being hunters of a prehistoric whale Brygmophyseter. However, this creature wasn’t exactly helpless either.

Looks like the tables have turned. Prepare for whiplash.

As awesome as these creatures are, this blog isn’t about whales and sharks. It’s about dinosaurs!

Next we have, oh great, another raptor.

Oh look, they added feathers! Isn’t that adorable!

Isn't that what you wanted, DG?

Isn’t that what you wanted, DG?

Not if you’re going to do just the bare, and I mean BARE minimum! Really? Just a crest of feathers and that’s it? Shameful.

It's a start.

It’s a start.

I really don’t get you, Raptor. Do you want to be inaccurate? I thought you were only here to make sure I review this fairly!

I'm like the Devil when he tried to temp Jesus. I'm just seeing how you'll react is all.

I’m like the Devil when he tried to temp Jesus. I’m just seeing how you’ll react is all.

Oh, so your the Devil. Now it all makes sense. OK, let’s move on. You’re opponent this episode is a Gastonia.

Your opponent is well armed.

Raptor, why would you attack such a well armored dinosaur when small ornithopods or mammals are available?

Remember, raptors in fiction are always the 'attack all, end all' type. We kill everything on sight, no matter the odds.

Remember, raptors in fiction are always the ‘attack all, end all’ type. We kill everything on sight, no matter the odds.

Well ,whatever floats your boat. Alright, let’s move on. The next episode doesn’t deal with dinosaurs again, but instead, we go to Pleistocene North America to see the Short Faced Bear take on the American Lion.

Yeah, because this happens in nature.

During the late Pleistocene in America had the largest concentration of large predators in almost any place ever. We’re talking two kinds of sabretooth cat, giant and modern versions of wolves and bears, lions, and even cheetahs to top it all off.

Lions…

…tigers…

…and bears! Oh my!

The reason for all the predators was because America was a biodiversity hotspot at the time. Mammoths, bison, horses, camels, ground sloths, deer, antelope, not even modern day Africa had this much, But when the Ice age ended, most of these animals began to go extinct. So, that means all the macro predators began to deteriorate as well. That’s were we meet our bear and lion, at a time when food is scarce and competition is tight. It is plausible that these animals would fight over food in those trying times, however, the battles wouldn’t be as dramatic and drawn out as seen in the show. More likely one would approach and growl, and the other would leave not willing to risk a fight.

The next episode deals with Pachyrhinosaurus and Albertasaurus. And no, neither have feathers,

It’ll be a while before this is accepted.

Instead, they look like this.

Not much to say, really. It’s pretty standard. Could be worse.

How ’bout the Pachy?

Pachyrhinosaurus

Oh, sorry, must have accidentally put in a picture of Centrosaurus. Wait, what do you mean? That’s a Pachy?!

This series goes by the theory that the massive bump of the nose of Pachyrhinosaurus was a support for a keratin horn. Although it’s an inventive idea, most scientists dismiss it these days. I don’t blame them for adding it, though.

The episode is based on the massive bone bed found of ceratopsians such as this. Most of these episodes are based on actual finding, which I applaud, however they are presented more theatrical then they probably were.

The last episode with new dinosaurs has Edmontosaurus being attacked by Dromaeosaurus. Now this is even more ridiculous than the Deinonychus vs. Tenontosaurus debate. Dromaeosaurus was the size of a medium sized dog. Edmontosaurus was the size of T. rex! Do you think a bunch of jackals can take down an elephant?

Ok, let’s look at the dinos.

Must I repeat myself? Generic, but I’ve seen much worse.

Now, raptors on this show are very interesting. The Deinonychus had no feathers, the Utahraptor had a mohawk of them. How would Dromaeosaurus look?

That’s even more adorable than the Utahraptor.

In case you can’t tell by the picture, the design adds feathers on the head, arms and tail. However, they look like they were individually glued on to a dragon. I know they’re trying, but now, it’s obvious that they just want to keep the reptilian look.

You know what else is wrong with this?

You know what else is wrong with this?

No Raptor, what?

He shows up.

He shows up.

Hmm, you say somethin'?

Hmm, you say somethin’?

Correct. T. rex and Dromaeosaurus never lived at the same time, although Edmontosaurus existed with both. If they wanted to be accurate, they should have used Albertasaurus. But Dromae is often paired with Rex because only fragmentary raptor specimens have been found in the time of Tyrannosaurus. Until now, that is!

World, meet Acheroraptor!

'Sup.

‘Sup.

Put these guys in a documentary! Until then, stay out of this T. rex!

Yeah, get out of here!

Yeah, get out of here! We only need one T. rex head around here!

What did I do?

What did I do?

So, that was Jurassic Fight Club. How does it hold up? Well, some of the science and information may raise an eyebrow, and the battle scenes are beyond gratuitous, there is still a lot to like about this show. The dinosaurs are designed beautifully, albeit inaccurate some of the time. The animation isn’t particularly photo realistic, but it certainly works for the series. And it does contain some interesting bits of dino knowledge. However, you still have to get through the slashing blood, the eccentric commentary, and the questionable science. But for the dinosaurs themselves, I give this a…

6 out of 10 stars.

Next time, we return to Dinosaurs Over The Years to look at everyone’s favorite piscovore, Spinosaurus!

We’ll see how he got from this…

to this.

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