On June 8 of last year I received an email from one Robby Gilbert. Robby is the Prehistoric Display Advisor for Billings Productions Inc., a company that makes robotic dinosaurs. Now, robotic dinosaurs – I feel quite strongly about them, and it normally is not a feeling that’s associated with flowers and butterflies, but rather with daggers, dark clouds and lightning. But I took a look at their website and what I saw looked a lot better than many dinosaur models I’d seen before (and have seen since). Additionally, the text of the email intrigued me (and, admittedly, flattered me as well): they were, as opposed to 90% of all such requests, asking for feedback and input at a time when it could actually matter! After lauding my Digital Plateosaurus I paper in Palaeontologia Electronica, Robby wrote:
“I wonder if you would be interested in seeing our design process via images and offering input and critique of the dinosaur as we build it and bring it to life. Perhaps there are some additional images you have that we could use for references. Our small maquette should be completed by Friday if you are interested.”
I therefore answered in the affirmative, and soon received an email detailing what they wanted to do, with several photos of the maquette attached:
I’ll let you know my reaction in the next post.
Can I preempt a few of your reactions?
1) Overall too slenderly built, especially belly and tail;
2) Hands should have five fingers, not four, and the fingers should not be stubby (and should, of course, not all be the same length);
3) Feet should have five toes, not four, and the first and fifth should not be touching the ground;
4) M. caudofemoralis longis atrophied / non existent;
5) Head looks more like that of Coloradisaurus (on full body model);
6) Neck shouldn’t meet chest so smoothly – there should be a very distinct chest “shelf”.
Right ballpark? The sculpt looks nice, just not accurate.
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