I am a paleontologist, and just like an astronaut and firefighter, I would say yes it is a dream job and I love it. There aren't many people who study dinosaurs. You do have to study for a long time and get a lot of degrees before you get a job and I really lucked out. I think dinosaurs are more fantastic than almost anything humans have created in legends, fables, or fantasies.
Dragons, unicorns, trolls, hobbits, these things have nothing on dinosaurs. And dinosaurs were real! When you look at them you can tell they were real. They have the same bones we have. You can see actual skeletons that people have found. Dinosaurs were big, scary and weird. They're real, but they're confined to the deep dark past - so totally unlike anything alive today.
They had a long period of time, about 160 million years. If that asteroid hadn't hit, who knows what would have happened? We probably wouldn't be here now, so I'm glad that they're gone. And I'm glad that we can study them. Literally every day there's new dinosaur research coming out. They provide some of the best clues about how evolution works over long time scales and how the earth and its environments change over time.
This makes them almost perfect as movie monsters. This is why I was so excited for the new Walking With Dinosaurs film as I think this is the most realistic portrayal of dinosaurs that's ever been done on the big screen. I spend my life studying dinosaurs, pouring over the dry remains of their multi-million-year-old bones. This film brings dinosaurs to life unlike anything I've ever seen before. It brought a tear to my eye seeing the Gorgosaurus for the first time. Honest to goodness.
The CGI and landscapes are just stunning, and it's an incredible thrill to see the dinosaurs in 3D, popping out of the screen in all of their gory glory. My research specialty is big carnivorous dinosaurs like Gorgosaurus and the film made me feel like I was actually able to observe them as living creatures, which is probably the biggest dream of any paleontologist.
I didn't have a huge role in the film making process, but I provided consulting on the story line and voice overs when the film was going through its final edits. My main contribution was a lot of consulting on many other products related to the film--the toy series, the Sony Wonderbook video game, the website, the book series and loved every minute of it. This is a rare opportunity for paleontologists like myself to help bring dinosaurs and the wonder of science to huge public audiences.
Visually, the film is stunning. Nothing like this has been done before with dinosaurs. The story itself is also very touching. And the dinosaurs are about as accurate as they can be scientifically. I think that many people, especially kids, will become inspired by science because of this film. Just knowing that brings a big grin to my face.
Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie is released in UK cinemas 20 December.
For more information please visit walkingwithdinosaurs.com or facebook.com/WalkingWithDinosaurs