The Truth About Killer Dinosaurs (2005) Movie Script

What happened when
killer dinosaurs waged war?
Whose blood was spilt?
And who reigned supreme?
To answer these questions,
a team of skilled engineers
will be building bio-mechancial
replicas of dinosaur weaponry.
And then they'll test them.
For the first time in 65 million years,
the true power of these
dangerous dinosaurs will be unleashed.
The terrifying predator Tyrannosaurus rex
squares up to the monstrous Triceratops...
This is a scene that's been played out
many times in the movies.
But did it every really happen?
And if these two dinosaurs did fight -
who would have been victorious?
These are questions
that have been puzzling scientists
ever since the dinosaurs
were first discovered.
And now they're using a completely new method
of research to help them find the answers:
biomechanical replicas of T rex and Triceratops.
But however futuristic the research techniques,
all investigations begin
with the ancient fossil bones....
The first skeleton of T rex
was found just a hundred years ago.
Since then there have been
about 24 more unearthed...
Not one of them is 100% complete.
But scientists can tell a surprising amount
from the fossil bones. Like size for instance.
T rex was unquestionably huge -
forty foot long from head
When scientists look
really closely at the skeleton,
they can see where the muscles
and tendons attached -
and so flesh out T rex.
It's even possible to determine
the texture of the skin,
by studying impressions left in ancient rocks.
So, putting together the most accurate evidence,
taken from the very latest research -
meet Tyrannosaurus rex...
It seems certain that this
iconic dinosaur was huge, and fearsome.
But was he really capable of overpowering
the other big guy on the block?
Triceratops:, three horned face,
and most famous of the horned dinosaurs.
At eight tons, this would have been
some heavyweight for T rex to take on.
There are only three fossil skeletons
of Triceratops for scientists
to work on and none of these are complete.
But it's obvious from its size
and enormous skull
that this dinosaur would have made
a fearsome opponent.
So Triceratops versus T. Rex.
They both lived in North America
at the same time
but what exactly would have happened
when they met?
Until very recently,
there was absolutely no scientific proof
that they had anything to do
with each other at all.
But then Greg Erickson took a close
look at a fragment of a pelvis
from a 65 million year old Triceratops.
On the pelvis he's found some
intriguing wound marks...
For instance, If you look here
there are some gouges along the top.
There's a really deep puncture
mark right here.
In fact if one looks all over this specimen
you'll find over 80 of these punctures
and cut marks.
These are bite marks.
Some other beast had been taking chunks
out of this Triceratops. So who was the culprit?
We have a real whodunit mystery.
Using a common forensic technique,
Greg pushes some dental putty into one of the deep
wound marks to help identify the mystery diner.
Aha, there we go,
we have a very nice cast here of the tooth.
This is a shape that is very familiar to me.
This is reminiscent of a therapod dinosaur tooth
and a very nice match for
this animal Tyrannosaurs Rex.
I think this is pretty good smoking gun evidence
that T. Rex fed on this triceratops
65 Million years ago.
It's often presumed that T rex ate Triceratops,
but this is the first scientific evidence.
Though it doesn't prove
that T rex killed Triceratops.
The supposedly invincible carnivore might
have found this dead animal lying in its path.
Was the tyrant king really capable
of slaying a huge Triceratops?
Greg Erikson believes that T rex's teeth
were certainly up to the job.
The teeth of an animal can reveal a great deal
about what it was doing for a living
and it's very clear that T rex was 15,000 pounds
of gut crunching terror.
T rex possessed some of the most robust teeth,
some of the largest teeth of any dinosaur.
They're recurved, there was a serrated steak
knife-like edge on the back and the front.
If this animal was a predator, it was probably
the most lethal predator that ever lived.
So how much damage could T rex
do to a live Triceratops?
Dave Payne and John Pennicott
are skilled engineers
who usually make special effects for movies:
Shark Movies, Bond movies and many more.
This time they're going to help the scientists
to investigate the power of T rex's jaws,
by building a life-size,
fully working model of a T rex head.
It will be based on Stan,
one of only three near complete fossil skulls.
The replica will be made by hand, faithfully
following the proportions of the T rex fossil.
The biomechanic has to be incredibly strong
because the fossil evidence shows that,
when T rex was feeding,
it could bite through bone.
So they decided to make the head from pure steel.
The teeth have to be cast individually at
a local foundry and are also made from steel.
But the technicians need to know how much force
to use to power the biomechanic's jaws.
Scientists can deduce from the skeleton
that T rex had huge jaw muscles.
Before the team can test whether T rex was
tough enough to take on a living Triceratops
they need to know exactly
how powerful these muscles were.
Alligators and crocodiles have the most
powerful bites of any living animal.
They're also among T rex, s
closest living relatives.
Paleontologist, Greg Erikson calculates that, if
he can measure the force of an alligator's bite,
that measurement could be scaled up
to get the force of a T rex bite.
So, Greg hitches a ride
with the Florida Alligator Control
who are hoping to catch a rogue, gator
that has been making a meal of the local dogs.
Crikey, she's a fine one!
Greg's caught a whopping 12ft animal,
weighing around 450 lbs -
that's the same weight as 3 men.
This wild rogue alligator is the perfect subject
for Greg's bite test.
All he has to do is insert the biteometer
where it counts.
Actuality- bite test, 2,209 bite... 1 Ton.
So now Greg can scale up
that one ton measurement to work out
how strong the bite of a T rex would be.
We're close to release, everyone ready?
After 3 months of painstaking engineering
and careful scientific calculations,
the bio-mechanical T rex head is ready to test.
Based on his work with alligators,
Greg has calculated that T rex would have
had a bite force of at least 4 tons.
The bone would've had to been so strong that
the only way to replicate it is by using steel.
And the enormous muscle power
is provided by a hydraulic piston.
It's time to test true strength of the jaws....
This is just part of a cow's leg bone.
T rex had the strongest bite
of any animal ever known.
Eight times more powerful than a lion.
Four tons of brute force
completely pulverises the bone.
This dinosaur could certainly
have delivered a killer bite.
The bio-mechanical bite test doesn't prove
that T rex really did attack Triceratops.
But amazingly, the fossil evidence does exist...
John Happ has some more fragments from a
Triceratops, this time dug up in Montana, USA.
First a fossil of a damaged horn...
When we first
found the left brow horn we were disappointed
because about a 1/3 of the horn is missing.
These are bite marks....
... the end of the horn was bitten off.
The shape of the teeth marks proves once again
that the culprit could only be T. Rex
Bite marks alone
still don't prove T. Rex attacked Triceratops.
But John has noticed something else.
We found some additional bite marks.
A line made where T. Rex's tooth
raked into the frill.
But there is something strange about this line.
Where you might expect a clean-cut groove
from the tooth - there is an unusual ridge.
And when John x-rays the ridge
the incredible truth is revealed.
You can see at the first score
mark an area of dense bone.
This is an indication that the bone re-healed.
The bone re-healing is the crucial evidence.
It proves that Triceratops was attacked
by T. rex while it was alive.
Triceratops must have survived for long enough
for the wound to heal.
It's the first time scientists can say
for certain that T rex
wasn't simply a scavenger -
because they know that,
at least on one occasion,
it did attack Triceratops.
They know that T rex grabbed its horn.....
and broke it...
They also know that T rex grabbed the frill
of the same animal
with enough force to crunch through bone.
But there is still much more to discover about
the relationship between these two heavyweights.
If T rex ambushed Triceratops
he would have had to been quick.
So how fast could T rex run?
He's been depicted as everything from a lumbering
hulk to an animal that can out pace a jeep.
Some have even speculated that these legs
could power him up to 45 mph.
So what's the truth. ?
Jim Farlow of Indiana University
is investigating
one of the world's finest collections
of footprints of meat-eating dinosaurs.
Here's a real nice one right here,
starts out here with a left footprint and then
we go here to the next right footprint
and beyond here is another left footprint
of the same animal.
By measuring the distance between the footprints,
Jim can calculate
how fast this dinosaur was moving...
Well judging from the length of the stride,
l, d guess that this beast
is moving at a fast walk...
maybe 7-8 mph which is sort
of a fast jog for a human being.
So can these footprints help scientists
to work out the top speed of T. Rex?
Well there's a problem because T rex was much
larger than the dinosaurs that left these prints.
Now if we had a tyrannosaurus stride....
and if we start at about
where that footprint is...
the same foot would now come down....
going to be about here.
And that's just a walking stride...
So you can see in order to encompass the entire
length of stride of a running tyrannosaurus -
you're going to have to have a very big surface
and it might be hard to get one that large.
In fact no footprints of a running
T. Rex have ever been found...
So to consider how fast a tyrannosaurus could run,
we may have to use something
other than footprints.
John Hutchinson is studying the way animals run
at the Royal Veterinary College
in Hertfordshire, England.
He's trained Sharon the ostrich
to work-out on a running machine.
And she's helping him work out
how fast T rex might have run.
Ostrichs, legs are very similar to T rex, s...
pretty skinny with long tendons
stretching down to the toes
and all the muscles piled up at the top.
Look at this ostrich....
an ostrich can run faster than any human.
How does it do that?
Well it has huge leg muscles about 15%
of the body weight in this ostrich.
Those muscles produce a lot of force.
In fact they can power Sharon's legs
up to an impressive 40 miles an hour.
These leg muscles help the leg work like a spring
and the body is acting like a great weight
that is bouncing up and down on those springs...
much like a pogo stick.
That's what makes the ostrich such a fast animal
it's pogo stick-like legs and big muscles.
So, could T rex run as fast as an ostrich?
By scaling up from Sharon, John has worked out
that to run at 40 miles an hour,
T rex would have needed muscles as large as
this.... simply impossible.
Clues from the bones suggest that it probably
had muscles much more like this.
So T rex was definitely slower than an ostrich.
We figure from our calculations that a T. Rex
might be able to move as fast as 25mph maximum,
probably a bit less than that.
It doesn't sound that fast but
it's as fast as an Olympic sprinter
and those speeds aren't bad
at all for an animal that big.
25mph if you saw a T. Rex going
that fast would be very impressive.
T Rex could run faster than most humans,
but could it run faster than Triceratops?
Triceratops was built rather like a sumo wrestler
and its short front legs would have
made big strides impossible.
John Hutchinson has calculated that
Triceratops could run no faster than 15mph.
So now its obvious as to who would catch who.
But is it?
Triceratops had one more trick up its sleeve...
Scientists are comparing the agility
of the two dinosaurs
using a rather unconventional experiment
on the salt flats of Utah.
Dave Carrier has discovered there is a downside
to being a 40-foot long T rex
running on just 2 legs.
The problem that T-Rex had is that the legs
were in the middle and they had a long body,
head and neck out in front and
then a long heavy tail out behind.
T rex has a pivot in the middle
with a considerable
amount of weight spread out on either side.
Triceratops, on the other hand had all
its weight centred solidly above four legs.
So who had the advantage when it came to a chase?
Well, this experiment requires
a certain amount of imagination....
Dave's the Triceratops, his student is T rex.
In the pack on my back is twenty six pounds the
same weight as the T-Rex behind me is carrying.
The difference in the T-Rex the weight is a metre
in front of the legs and a metre behind the legs,
in my case l, m much more similar
to the triceratops,
in that the weight is carried close to my back.
If we were to run, straight ahead as we're doing
now the T-Rex has no problem tracking me.
If I were to turn in a gradual arc the T-Rex
could track me perfectly fine.
However watch what happens
on the second or third turn.
First turn to the left.... To the right....
Left.... Triceratops is gonel
T. Rex's body shape put it
at a serious disadvantage.
It would have been a lot better off if it could
have reduced the weight at the front end...
Perhaps by losing those huge teeth?
Or reducing the size of its head?
Obviously T-Rex can't change its anatomy,
if it had it would no longer be T-Rex.
After all it's the big head and big teeth
that give this superstar its Rex appeal.
So what, realistically,
could it have done to improve its agility?
The one thing it might have been able to do
is change it's posture when it was running.
So what we're suggesting for T-Rex,
that instead of running with the head
and neck stretched out horizontally
they would have actually pulled
their neck back into an S shape.
They may also have raised the tail up off of
the horizontal to an angle above the ground.
Both of these changes would have
greatly increased the agility of T-Rex
But speed and agility aren't the whole story...
If T rex was clever enough, he might have been
able to plan his attack and outsmart Triceratops.
But to investigate that theory scientists
would have to look inside its brain.
Scott Rogers doesn't think so.
He's one of the few people in the world
who has tried to get into the mind of a dinosaur.
One of the most difficult
aspects of studying the behaviour of an extinct
species is trying to find its brain.
The problem with the brain is, is it tends
not to fossilise. Instead it tends to rot.
Up until now all scientists had to work on were
the mud filled spaces inside the skull
where the brain used to be... the endocast.
But Scott had an ingenious idea - to look inside
this endocast using the latest medical scanner.
He wanted to see if there were any traces of
the brain left behind in the fossilised mud.
What we found was something quite extraordinary.
For the very first time
we are really looking at material in here
that we believe reflects
the actual structure of the brain.
The white, blobby mass reveals the true shape
and structure of a dinosaur brain,
for the first time ever.
When Scott compared the shape of the brain
with the brains of other animals,
he made a fascinating discovery.
By comparing that with modern species
what we find is that brain
resembles very closely the brain of an alligator.
If T rex's brain was similar to an alligator, s,
then this provides a clue to how T rex behaved.
An alligator's thought process
is extremely simplistic.
If it smells something
that it thinks is a food item
it turns to it, hits it swallows it
and that's then end of it.
It's not going toss it around think
about well maybe I should've attacked it.
May be I should have picked at it.
No it's going to immediately respond
and have a very distinct behaviour.
Just like an alligator, T rex would sense
something and go after it. No questions asked.
But what about Triceratops -
would it have been able to outsmart T rex?
If we look at this model of a Triceratops
what we find is something strikingly different.
In this case we see that the brain size,
which would be right in this region,
is almost the same size
as the spinal cord region.
What that tells us is as sensory information
came into the brain
it basically went straight through.
So no time for thinking -
Triceratops was even more stupid than T rex.
It probably did very,
very little when a tyrannosaurus came up,
it would protect itself, it might charge
but it had a limited ability to respond.
He might have been stupid,
but the fossil evidence confirms
that Triceratops did survive an attack by T rex.
So the lumbering 3-horned vegetarian
must have been able to fight back.
The horns look like highly
effective offensive weapons.
But how exactly did it use them?
Andrew Farke, from Stony Brook University,
New York, is an expert on horned dinosaurs.
It's very easy to think
that perhaps Triceratops,
when it was confronted by a hungry T. Rex,
something that was threatening it,
that it would have immediately charged and tried
to use it's horns with all the force it had.
A modern animal that charges
just like this is a rhino.
It has a sharp horn and when it's provoked,
it'll charge at full pelt,
using all its weight to ram its opponent.
So at first glance it definitely might appear
that Triceratops was charging like a rhino.
This is a theory that has never been tested.
Until now.
To find out exactly what kind of damage
a charging Triceratops
would have inflicted on T rex,
the crew of bio-mechanic experts set
about building a life size
replica of a Triceratops skull.
The model makers began by examining
a cast of an existing fossil.
But to create a true replica,
the they had to find a material that had
the same properties as the original bone.
They tested 20 different combinations
of resin composites
before they found one that had exactly
the same tensile strength.
It was important to make sure that the model
behaved just like a real animal in an impact.
The team of experts worked for months to
meticulously prepare for the bio-mechanical test.
Finally they have an accurate model of the skull
built from a specially developed resin composite.
They have a top charge speed of 15 miles an hour.
And they have a weight for a Triceratops
of 5-8 tonnes.
And now they are ready for the test -
a crash test.
Here in this hanger
they normally in crash test cars.
But this time its dinosaurs. This is a unique
experiment on a truly spectacular scale.
This is about as close as
we could possibly get to
what a real Triceratops skull
would have been like in life.
This whole thing is mounted up
on this apparatus -
its going to send it barrelling down here and
then run smack into our simulated T rex.
The T rex stand in doesn't look much like T rex
but it has all the qualities of T rex.
The muscle and flesh is represented
by crushable honeycomb aluminium.
This is covered by the, T. Rex skin, -
made from thin sheet aluminium and leatherette.
For the first time ever,
this bio-mechanical experiment is going to reveal
what would have happened
if Triceratops charged at full speed
into the belly of T rex.
The skull clearly wasn't strong enough
for Triceratops
to charge like a rhino and ram T rex..
In slow motion we can see what happened.
The sharp, narrow horns sliced easily through
the simulated T rex
but the broader beak and nose
couldn't cut through the flesh and muscle.
Forces built up to 6 tons and
the Triceratops's skull started to fail -
fracturing at its weakest point.
This would have meant certain death
for the colossal vegetarian.
So its back to the drawing board to find out
how Triceratops could have survived
an attack by T rex.
But, the outcome of any predator prey battle
is often determined by who sees who first.
So how well could T rex see?
The size of the eye socket suggests that the
eyeball was about the size of a grapefruit,
with plenty of room for the sensors needed
for fairly sophisticated vision.
Good eyesight would have been very useful
when it came to hunting down Triceratops...
Kent Stevens has been using laser measurements
to investigate the link
between the position of T rex's eyes
and its behaviour.
Modern predators, like cheetahs who chase down
their prey, have eyes right at the front.
This gives them good 3D vision and
a better ability to track their prey.
When Kent measured the eye position of T rex,
he was surprised at what he saw.
In the case of T-Rex, I didn't see just a very
large reptile; this is closer to like a wolf,
The snout drops down...
relative to the plane of the eyes,
it becomes narrower... so this could look down
and over its snout providing a very broad field
of view ahead of it.
The position of T rex's eyes
gave it good 3D vision,
like that of a modern hunter -
so it was well able
to actively chase down Triceratops.
So how well could Triceratops see him coming?
Modern animals that need to keep on the alert for
predators have eyes on the sides of their heads.
Kent could see that Triceratops
was just the same.
It had side-mounted eyes to keep
a lookout for potential killers.
But it also had blind spots....
This whole structure here,
part of the support of these horns,
obscures forward vision.
Another thing is this large frill;
this large frill produced a very large
blind spot behind the animal.
It could have compensated for it partly
by swinging its head from side to side
so it could look over one shoulder
or another at a time.
It was a potential vulnerability that a predator
could certainly have exploited.
If Triceratops was attacked by T rex
it would have had to defend itself.
But how exactly did it do that?
Andrew Farke, the Triceratops horn expert,
has a new theory.
He's been re-examining
some triceratops fossil skulls
and has found some tell tale wound marks
that no one's noticed before.
Perhaps there's a little bit of bone
that's missing, in front of the eye.
On the cheek you might find an odd hole,
... in some specimens
there are abnormalities on the frill.
And from the shape of the marks
he can tell what caused the damage...
Triceratops going horn to horn with each other.
Now we know for sure that Triceratops
was using its horns against its own kind,
its very likely it was also
using them against T rex.
Triceratops didn't use its horns to ram T rex
so it most likely used them like this -
flicking its head to gore its attacker.
Potentially lethal.
But an attack by T rex's jaws
would have been just as brutal.
Greg Erikson has been investigating
exactly how T rex attacked its victims.
I think the best analogy that can be
made for the feeding of T rex
amongst living animals is the great white shark.
This predator doesn't
just crunch on flesh and bone,
but rips out great chunks of its victim.
Greg has found evidence on his fossil Triceratops
pelvis that T rex behaved just like the shark.
What you see is this animal
bit down into the bone
and then pulled backwards removing large
chunks of bone and leaving a furrow behind.
Now if we look at t a bite mark that is made by
the Great White Shark, such as this mark here,
that was made on a whale vertebra,
we see almost the exact same pattern.
The tooth was pushed down into the bone here and
pulled across leaving a furrow very much like
what we see on the Triceratops pelvis.
Using the steel T rex head,
the bio-mechanics team are going to find out
what kind of effect this brutal bite
would have had on Triceratops.
And their stand-in for Triceratops?
A side of pork.
To reproduce the ripping motion, they're going
to use an industrial strength forklift.
Just like a shark,
there were two distinct parts to a T rex bite.
First, the deep penetrating
crunch through flesh and bone
And then, using its full body weight,
T rex pulled backwards,
ripping through the flesh.
A devastating attack.
The experiment proves that T rex would have been
able to bite off 330 pounds of meat in one go -
about the weight of two men.
But its doubtful that it could
have swallowed that amount.
By examining the skull of T rex,
scientists have concluded
that it would have been able to swallow a chunk
of meat about the weight of an entire pig.
Now they've built the bio-mechanical T rex head,
the team are keen to test it to the limit....
Just for fun,
they want to see how a twentieth century
icon stands up to an icon
of a very different era...
The force of this bio-mechanical bite is
no greater than the force of a T rex bite,
as calculated by the scientists.
So - who would have had the advantage
when T rex hunted Triceratops?
What's the evidence?
T rex was certainly superior when it came
to eyesight - it had excellent vision.
Whilst Triceratops had a crucial blind-spot.
T rex could run quite fast on a straight run
but its body shape gave it serious problems
with manoeuvrability.
Triceratops was slower, but much more agile.
T rex had formidable weapons with its
powerful jaws and huge, serrated teeth
But Triceratops could fight back -
using its horns to gore its attacker.
The evidence suggests an even match -
and at the end of the day
it may well have been a case of which one
was the first to make a mistake....
Using all the data from the research,
and the biomechanical tests,
it's now possible to finally and
faithfully recreate the titanic confrontation
that might well have happened,
65 million years ago....
This impressive vegetarian has proved
to be a formidable opponent.
One false move by T Rex,
and the consequences would have been fatal
In the next programme - the truth about
the two-legged meat-eater, Velociraptor.
It was much smaller than T rex
but no less terrifying.
The technical team will build another life-size
bio-mechanical model to find out exactly
how this killer dinosaur used
its legendary disemboweling claw...
And all will be revealed about
its gruesome secret.
In prehistoric times dinosaurs were engaged
in a constant battle for survival.
And dinosaur wars determined who would live...
and who would die.
In this programme scientists
will be investigating
how a dinosaur the size of a small car
would have stood up to the lethal claw
of a turkey-sized animal with attitude.
And a team of biomechanic experts will be
building life-size replicas of dinosaur weaponry.
They'll discover who killed who,
75 million years ago.
The prehistoric plains of Mongolia were home
to several different kinds of dinosaur.
But one of the nastiest was a blood-thirsty
two-legged meat-eater called Velociraptor.
In the movie, Jurassic Park,
Velociraptor was 6 foot tall with a vicious claw
that could rip through flesh.
From then on
he was stuck with an evil reputation.
But how much of this is true?
In reality,
Velociraptor was considerably smaller
than in the movie,
and its appearance was very different...
For a start Velociraptor had feathers!
Scientists also know how it behaved...
They've discovered what it could kill -
and precisely how it killed.
And the truth is just
as terrifying as the fiction.
Paleontologists have only ever found one,
nearly complete, fossil skeleton.
But the bones betray the first indisputable fact
- Velociraptor was only 2 and a half feet tall.
And like all two legged carnivorous dinosaurs...
... Velociraptor had many similarities
with a bird.
Phil Manning is in charge of dinosaur fossils
at the Manchester Museum, England.
But today he's dissecting his turkey dinner.
Let's strip away some of this meat
and I will prove to you that birds
and dinos are closely related...
This is the wishbone and this is something
you always expect to see in a bird,
it's a very, very clear bird character.
The wishbone behaves like a spring
and gives the wings
or in Velociraptor's case, arms, extra power.
now there you go -
I call this not a wing but an arm.
You can see the sort of lower arm bones...
And this is the hand,
you can see one of the fingers here
And there are 2 other finger bones here -
they are fused together.
This is something that's left over from
when this was once,
or its ancestors were once a dinosaur.
The similarities with Velociraptor are obvious.
Feet, you can just by looking at the form,
the number of bones present in the foot...
it screams dinosaur at me
You can see the scales look very reptilian
but by the time
you get to the top of the foot here
you can see little feathers sprouting...
cos all feathers are,
are just highly evolved scales...
When the idea that dinosaurs sported feathers
was first suggested
it was considered so unlikely
that many scientists refused to believe it.
But then the irrefutable evidence
was discovered in China.
In 1986 fossil hunters discovered,
an extraordinary fossil
of a small predatory dinosaur.
Every detail of its body had been left behind
as indentations in the rock.
When they looked closely, they could see a dark
line running from head to tail along its back.
The incredible truth dawned on them...
this dinosaur was covered in downy feathers,
just like those on a young bird.
Then, in the year 2000,
local farmers in China made a breakthrough
discovery with Dave, the Fuzzy Raptor.
He had much more sophisticated feathers,
just like those on the body of an adult bird.
The evidence is clear -
the raptor family had feathers,
and that of course includes, Velociraptor.
So if he looked very much like a bird,
how did he behave?
Velociraptor's reputation as a fearful killer
is almost entirely due to its very unusual,
and decidedly lethal-looking, curved claws.
Alan Gishlick is an expert on raptor claws and
he's keen to discover what they were used for.
When paleontologists found the first one
as recently as the 1960, s,
there was a frenzy of excitement.
When they discovered this they forgot
about the rest of the animal.
It was different from any other type of claw
we, d discovered on a dinosaur so far,
When Hollywood and, in particular,
Stephen Spielberg saw the claw
they jumped to a dramatic conclusion.
Because it was so thin and shaped like a scythe
it immediately made people think about
a slicing action or a cutting action
and led to the idea
that this was used to disembowel prey.
The raptor was immediately cast as a
scary villain, complete with lethal weapon.
You imagine this animal's creeping up on a prey
and jumping on it
and slicing its guts open and blood everywhere.
Excites the imagination, makes school kids shiver
and looks good on TV and film and movies.
So what's the truth?
Up until now theories about what the claw
could do have all been based on speculation.
But that's about to change...
Dave Payne and John Pennicott
usually make models for movies.
Bond movies, shark movies,
they've done them all!
This time they're going to design
a world first experiment
to reveal the power of the claw once and for all.
Their challenge is to build a fully working
replica of Velociraptor's leg.
Look at the size of the muscle attachment
there must have been a big muscle there
The project will take months
First, scientists have to advise the team
on how strong the leg would have been.
By looking at where the muscles
attached on the fossil bones,
they can determine the size of the muscles
and hence the kicking power of the leg.
It had roughly the strength of a human arm.
Now that doesn't sound a lot but when you actually
add that up to that being kicked at an animal,
there is an immense amount of force being
transmitted through that tiny little claw.
To reproduce the correct muscle strength,
the effects team use hydraulic rams.
Then they have to recreate
the action of the claw.
You can see clearly the claw here
has got this huge knobble of bone
that would have had a massive tendon
attachment running underneath this toe
so that when the animal
wanted to pull that claw down rapidly,
it could be whisked through 180 degrees.
The exact replica of the claw,
made out of resin, has a very sharp point,
but the underside isn't sharp at all.
Will this really be able to rip through flesh?
They'll only know for sure
when the model is built.
In the meantime, scientists have detected
other clues in the fossil bones...
that shed light
on the true nature of Velociraptor.
Phil Manning believes that it had
all the hallmarks of a vicious killer.
The skull is exquisite - extremely bird like,
but one of the most striking features has
to be these backwardly recurved serrated teeth -
would have been wonderful
for slashing into their prey.
These would have been like razor blades
as the animal buried
its face into its prey using its body weight,
hanging back on these hook-like
teeth ripping through flesh.
This would have been a devastating weapon.
So it had meat-eating teeth...
long, strong runners legs...
And it also had a disproportionately long tail.
Long thin tails can be very useful
in the chase for prey.
Cheetahs, for example, use their tails as counter
balances to help them track their victims.
And Velociraptor would have used its long tail
like this to help him quickly change direction.
This dinosaur also had an added advantage
that most land predators don't have...
its feathers.
They weren't used for flying - they most
probably evolved to keep the dinosaurs warm.
But the feathery arms would have
acted like a birds wing.
A bird in flight uses its wing to steer
and change direction.
Velociraptor would have used its feathers
in the same way, but on the ground.
This might look odd,
but not half as odd as these ostriches
using their wings in a similar way
- but its likely that
Velociraptor was rather more elegant!
So Velociraptor looked like a bird - had teeth -
and by making use of its feathers,
and its long tail, this dinosaur
was super agile as well as fast.
It was clearly well adapted for hunting down prey.
But how did kill its victim?
Did it really use its claw to rip into the flesh
and disembowel the guts of its prey
just like in the movies?
Up until now scientists have
only been able to speculate
but for the first time in 75 million years,
they are about to find out.
After months of painstaking research
and meticulous engineering,
the bio-mechanical model of a Velociraptor's leg
is ready to test.
Whoah, that is awesome Dave
Phil Manning joins the technical team to make
sure that everything is scientifically accurate.
Well this is our Velociraptor.
You've got the dimensions just right.
This is the femur up here is that right...
the upper leg bone,
That certainly is... lower leg here.
You've got the rotation on this claw.
That's incredible...
An amazing adaptation to have the claw held up
of the ground to rotate round like that.
Must help keep this very sharp.
The leg is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship
but can it pull a punch?
It looks right, but what about this claw?
Can you get it cranked up to full speed?
Yeah its gonna get a bit noisy but I'll go away
and start the pump and you let you have a look
OK lets see it go then
The scientists have calculated that
Velociraptor's muscles could power its leg
about as fast as a human arm.
Alright come back over - it works,
But I still have a problem with this claw,
I can't see how it functions.
Is there a way we can work out
what damage this could do?
Let's test it.
OK l, m on for it - what have you got?
Bit of Chamois leather.
That's pretty flesh-like.
Let's get the chamois leather then.
It's time to test the legendary claw to see
what it's really capable of.
Chamois leather is about as tough as human skin.
That is fabulous
Wowl look at that
Alright - its ripped it... but...
I think look at the thickness of chamois leather
and there is nothing behind it.
I think we have got to test this further
This is quite a feeble test
It is a feeble test. I think we need to crank it
up to the next stage... that bit of flesh...
What do you reckon? Some pork
Pork would be good. I think lets see what happens
when we shove that thing into it at speed
Cutting through skin appears to be no problem,
but in life, skin is attached to fat and muscles
so the team decide to use a more realistic
challenger in the form of a pork belly.
Only slightly tougher than your own belly,
as it happens...
An accurate experiment like this has
never been attempted before.
That is gross.
Come on over and have a look at the damage...
Lets have a look
Just look at that... it has not disembowelled our
dinosaur... Its punctured it, it's a foot hold...
Its hooked right in
Absolutely this is definitely not for
disembowelling, this claw
The end of the claw was obviously
sharp enough to pierce the flesh,
but it couldn't cut through the flesh because
the underside is round and completely blunt.
It seems that Velociraptor wasn't
capable of disembowelling its victims.
So what exactly did Velociraptor
do with that claw?
The answer lies in an incredible fossil
found in the Mongolian desert.
This is where Velociraptor stalked his territory,
millions of years ago.
One of the most common dinosaurs of the time
was the vegetarian, Protoceratops.
It was about the size of a pig
and would have made a tasty meal.
In 1971, a Mongolian palaeontologist
stumbled across a Protoceratops skull.
This skull led him to the most extraordinary
dinosaur fossil ever discovered.
Caught in the mouth of the Protoceratops,
he found the arm of a Velociraptor
and amazingly there was much much more...
What he had found was a fight between
two dinosaurs - frozen in time...
Almost all the bones of both animals were intact,
and in exactly the same position as
when the attack was taking place.
This extraordinary fossil
has endured for 75 million years.
And the, Fighting Dinosaurs,
are still locked in mortal combat.
No-one knows how they both died,
at exactly the same moment in time.
Some scientists think that,
whilst the animals were distracted mid-fight,
they were covered by a mudslide.
Others think that they could have been
suffocated in a monster sandstorm.
What everyone can agree on is
that this is a battle scene.
Dave Unwin, from Humbolt University in Berlin,
believes that the fighting pair fossil
is the conclusive proof of
how Velociraptor used its claw.
He's worked out exactly what was going on,
out on the desert.
Velociraptor has seen Protoceratops from
somewhere way over here and come running over
he's grabbed hold of Protoceratops,
and we can see very clearly the tension
and the energy in this struggle.
Look at the curvature on Protoceratops
as he tries to pull away from Velociraptor
and look also how Velociraptor's body
is curved right round
as he tries to pull his prey towards him
and kill him off as quickly as possible.
and its just incredible
its captured in the fossil record
and preserved like this for millions of years.
Dave now turned his attention to the curved claw.
Did it have a specialized use?
When he looked really close he began to realize
that Velociraptor was even more deadly
than its reputation.
It wasn't stabbing the prey in, in any old spot,
it was actually stabbing this protoceratops
in one of the most vital parts of the body,
which is the neck region.
Stabbing into the neck gives a predator
a good chance
of cutting the windpipe
or piercing the jugular vein.
If you cut the veins in my neck l, d bleed
to death literally in seconds or minutes.
Or alternatively if the Velociraptor
was lucky enough
to cut through the windpipe the animal would
suffocate in literally two or three minutes.
Velociraptor is exposed
as a ruthless viciously equipped killer.
And scientists know exactly how successful
it was because countless numbers
of Velociraptor teeth
have been found among the fossilized
remains of its victims.
But there's a conundrum -
Velociraptor was no larger than a turkey.
So what was the secret of Velociraptor's success?
One theory has it that this turkey-sized
predator was hunting in groups.
It's difficult to prove whether
Velociraptors were hunting together
when they lived 75 million years ago.
But one way scientists can theorise about
the behaviour of dinosaurs
is to study the behaviour of their closest
living relatives - birds and crocodiles.
Crocodiles are scary enough on their own,
but sometimes they work together.
The advantage is that
they can take on much larger prey.
One croc would have problems with a fully-grown
zebra, but many jaws make light work.
The first crocodile pushes the unfortunate
animal into deep water,
where it is well out of its depth.
A second crocodile moves in to join the party.
It's all over in seconds...
with plenty of zebra dinner for both killers.
Collaborative hunting works for crocs.
But what about those other dinosaur descendents,
the birds?
The hunting methods of these birds
of prey could provide
an insight into how Velociraptor
was such a successful predator.
Steve Ford is one of Britain, s
most experienced Falconers.
Usually he works with a single bird,
but not when he's hunting with Harris Hawks.
One of the good things about Harris Hawks
is the fact that they are gregarious
and they like to work
as a family group so therefore
they are ideal in the hunting field
because they'll actually work as a team.
So it's nice to have a variety of birds here,
males and females, immatures and adults,
all raring to get going to get out
into the hunting field.
These are tame birds
but they're not trained birds -
they're displaying their natural hunting method
which is not to go out on their own looking
for prey for each one, but in groups.
Three birds stand a much better chance
of catching one prey - in this case a rabbit.
What we're doing is we're working this wood
and we've got one female...
that's gone right up front...
she's the more experienced one.
and we've got... back in this area...
and we always end up when we're working
with a group of birds like this
that we end up with a backstop
The backstop stays behind in case the rabbit
decides to double back on itself.
Go on hawk
In goes the first bird.
There is...
The second flies in to cut off the rabbit.
Go on...
And they've got it.
So co-operative hunting pays off for Harris Hawks
and perhaps also paid off
for some predatory dinosaurs.
Working together, the turkey-sized Velociraptors
would have had a much better chance of bringing
down one, rather sturdy, Protoceratops.
And there is fossil evidence that suggests
that they did just this.
In the 1960, s, palaeontologists were digging
in the side of a hill in Montana USA
when they found the remains of 4 raptors,
lying alongside their victim.
The evidence was undeniable.
These raptors were hunting together.
In prehistoric Mongolia, a Velociraptor gets
into position up on the high ground.
While a second one sets off down
onto the low ground.
And they're off.
Velociraptor most certainly lived up
to its billing:
a ruthless hunter and a vicious killer
It might not have been six foot tall,
and it couldn't actually disembowel its victims.
But Velociraptor could most certainly use its
sickle shaped claw as a lethal killing weapon.
a whole pack of these ravenous predators could
attack and kill whatever they wanted to eat?
Or could they?
The biggest potential meal for Velociraptor
that lived out on the desert was
one of these - an Ankylosaur.
This huge dinosaur was a vegetarian
with a very small brain.
Surely this docile, and probably dozey,
animal was destined to be made mincemeat
of by a hungry Velociraptor?
Or perhaps it could look after itself.
The tail is suspiciously lumpy
and the animal is covered in thick armour.
So what would have happened if a gang of
Velociraptors set out to attack an Ankylosaur...
This is a question that's been
intriguing Ken Carpenter.
Ken is curator of the Denver Museum,
USA and a world expert on Ankylosaurs.
I like Ankylosaurs because they are so different
among dinosaurs - they have very low,
squat bodies - in one sense they are almost
built like me so I can kind of relate to them.
They probably had a short temper,
they weren't very bright,
but they were plant eaters and
so they might have been rather gentle animals.
Gentle animals maybe - but what about that tail?
The bulbous club on the end looks like a weapon -
and palaeontologists
have often described it as a weapon
but did it really pose a threat to Velociraptor?
It's time for another dinosaur experiment.
The special effects team embark
on a new challenge -
to build a fully working,
replica tail from aluminium.
To date fossil hunters have
only found 8 Ankylosaur tails.
But Ken has tracked down a cast of one of them
so that he can advise the team.
The tail has two parts: the flexible bendy bit
and the solid club on the end.
This is the tail club,
this is the business end of an ankylosaur.
It's made by vertebrae which are fused
together to form a handle -
the true working end are these plates of armour
that are fused together -
forms almost a battle axe.
When Ken takes a really close look at the
fossil cast, he makes an amazing new discovery.
We're very fortunate with this,
something that we've never seen
before is the damage
that occurred on this tail club
where the bone had broken off
and that could only have happened
if the tail club had hit something really hard.
It hit with such force
that the bone just popped off here.
It didn't only do it once
but it did it twice which suggests
that the animal had struck something
really hard in both directions...
This provides us with the best evidence
that this was indeed used as a weapon.
If this is a weapon,
what kind of damage could it inflict?
And what would it do to a Velociraptor?
Back in London the special effects team sets
about building a replica aluminium tail.
This has an equivalent weight
and the same strength as the original tail.
Before they can test it,
they need to know exactly how much force
an Ankylosaur could put behind its tail swing.
While the team are busy building
their scale model in the UK,
Ken is busy in the US - doing maths.
Here in front of me I have the tail
that we used in our analysis.
We have all these structures on the side and along
the bottom - this is where the muscles attach.
So we could determine the volume
of muscle all around the tail.
And from that volume we could
then calculate the amount of force
that the tail club could generate
and it turned out it
the tail club could generate about
two and a half tons per square inch
which is about the weight of a car on a very,
very small area.
You can imagine a predator coming nearby
and Ankylosaur swinging this club -
its going to do a lot of damage
if it hit a vital area.
Two and a half tons is an awful lot of pressure
on a small spot on any carnivorous dinosaur.
Up until now,
scientists could only guess as to
what kind of damage the club-shaped
Ankylosaur tail could inflict.
But with Ken's calculations and
the special effects team's replica tail,
they are finally able to put a 75 million year
old weapon of war through its paces.
Ken has flown to London
to witness the experiment.
Here's our tail, what do you think?
Wow this is marvellous -
looks just like the real thing.
We're pretty pleased with it
Its very impressive.
So how much force did you calculate for this.
Two tons a square inch, like your figures.
OK so that's about the weight of a large
American car on a pretty small area.
a pretty large car.
Explain to me how this thing works?
OK, we pull it back...
and lock it into this release mechanism here
and then when we release the tail
the weight falls,
pulls the tail round and applies the force
to whatever we're going to hit.
Well let's see this thing work...
Great, that's marvellous,
just like the real thing!
With the tail working exactly as they planned,
Ken and the team are about to find out
what kind of damage
an Ankylosaur tail could have inflicted
on an attacker.
The target is set in place -
yet another piece of butcher's pork.
This rib cage is designed to be strong enough
to protect the animal's internal organs.
Wow look at that... right through,
that's amazing.
Just shattered those ribs oh man...
l, d sure hate to be hit by that thing!
The experiment proves that the ankylosaur
was brandishing a deadly weapon.
But would it have used it against
a turkey-sized Velociraptor?
However scary Velociraptor was,
it was only two and a half feet tall.
Ankylosaur's tail force seems well over the top.
Scientists have concluded that the gentle giant
must have had to fend off something
much more formidable.
Velociraptor wasn't the only predator at large
on the pre-historic plains of Mongolia.
In the forests surrounding the open scrub
of Ankylosaur's home lurked
another even more impressive killer dinosaur:
- a Mongolian equivalent of T rex
with jaws that were just as powerful.
As the special effects team prove,
the bite of such an animal
would have been devastatingly destructive.
If Tarbosaurus could have crunched through metal
Ankylosaurs armour would have been no problem.
But would the Ankylosaur
have been able to fight back?
Phil Manning thinks there are clues
in the fossil evidence
that the vegetarian could successfully
defend itself against Tarbosaurus.
There are examples of lower legs
on shins of predatory dinosaurs
that have almighty blows kicked
into the side of them.
Now it's quite possible
that such injuries could have been
caused by the huge tail club on the end
of an Ankylosaur.
So what damage would an Ankylosaur tail
do to a Tarbosaurus leg?
The team use a piece of timber as a stand-in -
it is the right size
and has the same strength as bone...
If an Ankylosaur tail club could have seen
off a gigantic Tarbosaurus,
what would it have done
to a diminutive Velociraptor?
Velociraptors were actually rather small.
Probably about the size of a turkey.
For the biomechanical test, Ken has provided
an oven-ready version as a stand-in.
And Dave is standing by to release the tail.
So let it rip...
Look at that thing, oh my god.
Poor thing, probably broke all of its ribs,
ruptured the internal organs.
If this had been a Velociraptor it would be dead.
It's possible that a sprightly,
feathered Velociraptor may have been
agile enough to avoid being hit.
But if did get close, it would have the been faced
with the Ankylosaur's heavily armoured skin.
Alligators and crocodiles are distant relatives
of Ankylosaurs and they are similarly armoured.
Their skin is incredibly tough
and resilient to any kind of attack.
So scientists have questioned
whether Velociraptor's curved claw
could have penetrated the heavily
protected Ankylosaur.
There was only one way to find out.
Dave Payne, the biomechanic expert,
constructs another Velociraptor claw test.
First he secures the target - an imported piece
of crocodile from a farm in Australia.
Then he prepares the Velociraptor leg
for action...
This is what it did to a piece of pork...
Now the croc skin...
Amazingly the claw simply bounced off
leaving hardly a scratch.
Not only that - the force of the claw hitting
the bony skin broke off its tip.
The conclusion is that Ankylosaurs
were impenetrable battle tanks.
And Velociraptor didn't stand a chance against
that thick armour.
But there's one final twist to the tale...
Dino Frey is an expert on alligator
and crocodile armour
and he's discovered that Ankylosaurs
may well have had a weak spot after all.
I am a biologist and I work with living animals.
And these living animals help me
to explain extinct animals.
Today he is researching alligators
and crocodiles in Florida.
But before he can study them,
he has to catch them.
Now you can see... you see the amour.
Dino's expert eye has noticed something
intriguing about the crocodile skin.
In all crocs there is this armour,
but interestingly the babies don't have armour,
and especially in the neck
where you would expect
protective armour against neck bites from
other predators, the armour is reduced.
On the young crocs,
the defensive armour isn't yet fully developed.
So the small crocs are much
more vulnerable to predators
and there is evidence that a heron can harpoon
a little croc without any problem
but it would break its beak if it tried to do
the same with the big guys here.
Ankylosaur armour was so similar to crocodile
armour that scientists reckon its fair to assume
that baby Ankyosaurs would have been
just as vulnerable as baby crocodiles are.
Sure enough, in Mongolia palaeontologists
have found fossils of twelve young Ankylosaurs.
And amongst the bones were the telltale and
umistakeable teeth of... Velociraptor.
These defenceless baby Ankylosaurs
would have provided an ideal meal.
Using all the evidence from the fossil bones,
and from the bio-mechanical tests,
its now possible to reveal Velociraptor
at its most ruthless.
The facts prove beyond doubt that Velociraptor
does deserve its scary reputation.
Quite different from how the movies depicted him,
but an extremely vicious killer all the same.