Friday, February 27, 2015

New game: Apex brings dinosaurs to deck building

There is no good reason for this post other to point out this arrived in the mail today:

Sorry for the poor-quality cell phone picture. What you're looking at is the box art for the new dinosaur-themed deck-building card game Apex. I previewed this game in March of last year when it was up on Kickstarter. A year later, it has arrived in the mailboxes of backers. My version was only available through Kickstarter; the retail version will look slightly different. That said, I'm not sure how easy it will be to find in stores. The game's creator underestimated production and shipment costs, so Apex came out much later than originally promised. I only received my copy as early as I did by forking over some extra cash. A handful of copies were made available through an online retailer but they quickly sold out. (EDIT: Looks like you can order copies of the game through the creator's website:

I hope to post a review in coming weeks once I've had a chance to play Apex a few times. One thing I can say now is the artwork is amazing. Instead of subjecting you to more bad cell phone photos, check out the photo gallery at BoardGameGeek where other gamers are posting pictures.

In the meantime, if you are looking for a paleontology-themed card game you can find in stores, then give Evolution a try. I haven't played the game but it has been getting positive reviews, and the artwork is spectacular.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dreadlands by Epic Comics (1992)


Colorado, 2033. Decades of war and environmental degradation have left the Earth’s surface a wasteland (i.e. the “Dreadlands” of the title). One of the last beacons of hope is a U.N. science facility tasked with finding a means of restoring the planet’s biosphere as well as developing clean energy sources. The scientists get more than they bargained for when an experiment with ball lightning gives them the key to traveling through time. Before they can tinker further with the technology, an army of wasteland raiders overruns the base, forcing the surviving scientists and military personnel to cram into a makeshift time machine in hopes of escaping into the future. However, an ill-timed lightning strike instead sends them hurdling back to the Jurassic Period, where giant carnivores turn out to be the least of their problems.

My thoughts

Dreadlands is a four-issue comic book series published in 1992 by Epic Comics, a now-defunct imprint of Marvel Comics. Epic was a vehicle for writers and artists to tell more adult stories than were allowed in Marvel’s mainstream titles at the time. Like most Epic titles, Dreadlands is largely forgotten today, which is a shame because the comic combines decent writing with terrific art.

Dreadlands mainly is the story of a group of castaways trying to eke out a living in the Mesozoic. I say “mainly” because the first issue is concerned with how the group became stranded in the first place, while the third issue takes a turn into more traditional comic book sci-fi fare. Upon arriving the Jurassic, the survivors quickly split into two factions: Military types led by the hot-headed Lieutenant Trask, and civilians led by the much more reasonable Lieutenant Jeff McClure. The factions go their separate ways, encounter hungry dinosaurs, and build the fabulous tree houses that pop up in nearly every story about people trapped in a prehistoric wilderness. (See Land of the Lost, The Lost World, Dinosaur Island, etc.)

I’m avoiding going into detail about the plot because there is a surprise twist in the middle that steers it in a totally different direction. Sadly, the twist actually hurts more than it helps. Before it occurs, Dreadlands is a pretty good tale about people trying to make the most out of the horrible situation they find themselves in. Afterward, the comic quickly devolves into little more than a series of gun battles and chase scenes, with the dinosaurs taking a backseat to all the other action.

That gripe aside, Dreadlands still boasts above-average characterization and a storyline that entertains despite its missteps. Helping immensely is the comic’s detailed art and the artist’s portrayal of dinosaurs as active animals with their tails held high off the ground. That may seem like faint praise these days, but Dreadlands came out a year before the first Jurassic Park movie, when most dinosaurs in the popular media were still being depicted as tail-dragging lizards. The comic’s creators also did a reasonably good job of making sure only dinosaurs appropriate to the Jurassic Period populate the setting. There are allosaurs and stegosaurs but no T. rexes or Triceratops.

Dreadlands was never collected in a single volume, so you will need to hunt down the four issues individually if you want to read the series. Fortunately for your wallet, the lack of interest in the comic means they are pretty cheap to find these days. (I purchased all four issues for $3.47, which couldn’t buy you a single comic now.)

  • Dreadlands was written by Andy Lanning and Steve White, both of whom are still active in comics. White also was the series colorist.
  • The penciler, Phil Gascoine, was a British comic book artist best known for his work in girls’ comics. Sadly, he died in 2007, according to his Wikipedia page.
  • None

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Extinction Event by WildStorm (2003-2004)


A group of ranch hands in modern-day Texas are searching for a missing calf when they stumble upon a remarkable find: 65 million-year-old ruins inscribed with dinosaur carvings. Six months later, the U.S. military has commandeered the site and brought in pilot Rick Benson to fly a specially built aircraft down a two-mile deep shaft amid the ruins. The hole leads to a gigantic cave filled with machinery keeping thousands of dinosaurs in suspended animation. The presence of humans causes the dinosaurs to stir from their slumber, but what seems like the greatest discovery in history soon becomes a nightmare. Turns out the animals are far more intelligent than we imagined, and they want their planet back.

My thoughts

Extinction Event was a five-part miniseries published in late 2003 and early 2004 by WildStorm, an imprint of DC Comics. The comic’s creators obviously meant the series to be the start of a much larger publishing run as the story ends on a cliffhanger, so don’t dive into it expecting a tidy resolution. No sequel ever materialized, probably because the comic isn’t very good.

Extinction Event has more in common with War of the Worlds than The Lost World, although its plot borrows heavily from Doctor Who and the Silurians. The super-intelligent dinosaurs here basically are a faceless alien force intent on humanity’s destruction. After an initial setup in the first two issues, the story boils down to the dinosaur army’s rampage across Texas and the heroes’ attempts to stop it. Why do the dinosaurs hate humanity so much? That’s never explained. They wake up and instantly start slaughtering every person they find, although you would think they would be surprised to see humans given they had never encountered them before. And if you're wondering how a few thousand dinosaurs could overrun several billion humans, these dinosaurs have psychic powers that turn people into mindless puppets – except for the heroes, who can resist their mental powers because… plot convenience?

The writing is ludicrous. Extinction Event reads like something I would have penned in seventh grade: Just a bunch of “cool” ideas thrown into a narrative blender with no care for creating a story with any type of logical coherence. My favorite bit of WTF comes near the end when the hero enters a town to tell the residents – who have no clue that anything out of the ordinary is going on – that an army of psychic dinosaurs is about to invade their community, so they should arm themselves and follow him into battle. And they do! I’m guessing because you don’t mess with Texas?

The art is a mixed bag. A big problem with many dinosaur-themed comics is the artists are often skilled at depicting human anatomy but not dinosaur anatomy, so you get silly-looking terrible lizards. The opposite is true for Extinction Event. The dinosaur art is the bright spot of the series. The animals are highly detailed and show a surprising amount of scientific accuracy, including feathers. Unfortunately the colorist paints all the dinosaurs the same shade of green, which diminishes the work the penciler put into them. Still, I wish more comics had dinosaurs that looked this good. That said, the human characters look awful, with strangely elongated torsos, oversized limbs, and undersized heads. The artist clearly was hired for his ability to draw dinosaurs, not Homo sapiens.

As far as I know, Extinction Event was never collected into a single volume, so you will need to hunt down all five issues individually if you want to read the series. Trust me, it’s not worth the effort.

  • DC shut down WildStorm in 2010.
  • The penciler, Brett Booth, has provided art for a number of popular superhero comics. You can read more about him on his Wikipedia page
  • None

Sunday, February 15, 2015

New book roundup: Dinosaur cowboys and lost worlds galore

I’ve spent the past few days battling a malfunctioning computer (boo!) but now it’s fixed and I have several new paleofiction titles to report. (Yea!) The first three titles were brought to my attention by blogger Eccentric Cowboy, who penned the first one.

Primal Frontier: The Hunter from the Red Hills by Austen Confer

Here’s a self-published title for those of you who like your Wild West a little wilder. From the description:
Only the boldest and bravest of men dare to explore the dinosaur-infested interior of Magna Terra, The Wild Continent. Ansgar Tapio is one of those few. Raised in the rugged Red Hills and having explored the land he is well prepared for the challenges that lie before him.

But when he and his best friend Jandar are chased into the dreaded Vangor Mountains by a hostile tribe, they make a discovery within that neither ever dreamed existed in the mountain range. Menaced by new foes their every step is fraught with danger as they seek to escape the Vangor Mountains, and perhaps bring a stranger out with them.

The Hunter from the Red Hills is the first installment of the Primal Frontier series, an alternate history setting taking place on a super-continent where ancient wildlife still rules supreme in the 1800's as colonists from Europe seek to exploit its resources. Many other adventures and discoveries await with different characters.

Stay tuned for future releases!

The Zanthodon Megapack by Lin Carter

I was surprised to see this one. Lin Carter was an editor and author whose main claim to fame was helping keep the works of several early 20th century pulp writers in the public consciousness. Most of his own novels were pastiches of those earlier works. I had previously only known Zanthodon from its entry in the Dictionary of Imaginary Places, where it was described an underground lost world in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Pellucidar. Anyway, this digital bundle brings together all five Zanthodon novels in a single ebook:
Beneath the trackless sands and shifting wastelands of the Sahara lies a world unknown to modern man: the underground world of Zanthodon. In its vast unmapped terrain are great jungles, strange seas, and forbidding mountains...and here can be found many of beings long since vanished from the surface of the Earth: dinosaurs, flying monsters, and primitive cavemen. Join Eric Carstairs as he explores the strange world beneath the Earth's crust, discovering monsters and marvels of eras past!

"If you have an appetite for weird and curious marvels -- a thirst for swashbuckling derring-do; if you enjoy a story that pits a long adventurer against uncanny dangers -- a princess in peril, and a hero to battle ruthless foes to rescue her -- then come, join Eric Carstairs!" -- Lin Carter, from the Foreword.

This volume assembles the complete 5-volume Zanthodon series, by Lin Carter:


The Lost World Megapack

This ebook collects several lost world and lost civilization stories that are now in the public domain, including Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. Technically you can find these stories online for free, but $1 will give them to you as a single file already formatted for your e-reader.
The Lost Worlds MEGAPACK™ explores strange lands and peoples lost from the rest of civilization—strange continents, hidden valleys, microscopic worlds, and underground kingdoms are just the tip of the iceberg! With classic stories from well-known authors like Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Arthur Conan to more modern works by Lin Carter, Don Wilcox, Eando Binder, and many others, this is the lost world collection you've been waiting for. Even if you're a connoisseur of lost world fiction, you'll find stories here that you’ve never encountered before. Or if you’re new to the genre, you will find this collection a treasure-trove of fantastic fiction from cover to cover! Included are:

THE LOST WORLD, by Arthur Conan Doyle
PEOPLE OF THE PYRAMIDS, by William P. McGivern
KING SOLOMON’S MINES, by H. Rider Haggard
THE MOON POOL, by A. Merritt
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, by Rudyard Kipling
TERROR ISLAND, by Alex Shell Briscoe
AT THE EARTH’S CORE, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
PELLUCIDAR, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
OUT OF TIME’S ABYSS, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
VRIL, THE POWER OF THE COMING RACE, by Edward Bulwer, Lord Lytton

The Dead World by F. Paul Wilson

Here’s something you don’t see every day: An officially authorized sequel written by a well-known horror and fantasy author. The Dead World is a novelette about an expedition to Pellucidar’s moon, which hangs in stationary orbit over the surface of the Inner Earth. F. Paul Wilson is best known for his Repairman Jack novels.
A Pellucidar novelette written with the approval of the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate.

A plague is spewing forth from the Dead World, the stationary moon that hovers over the Land of Awful Shadow in the land within the Earth. David Innes, Emperor of Pellucidar, and the eccentric inventor, Abner Perry, rig a balloon to carry them to the Dead World. But Pellucidar's mysterious moon is not what it seems, and far more bizarre than they ever dreamed. It holds the answer as to how Pellucidar was formed - and how it will be destroyed. Can they stop the plague before it wipes out all life in the Inner World?

Other titles

Beyond the Great South Wall by Frank Saville: A lost civilization novel that may have been the first long work of fiction to feature a dinosaur. The Kindle edition is illustrated, but you can also read the text online for free.

Savage Island by Alan Specter: Environmentalists and evil corporate types clash on a dinosaur-infested lost island.

The Hollow World by Michael Kace Beckum: A modern-day take on the underground lost world theme.

Cry Havoc by Jack Hanson: Dinosaurs with big guns. That’s about all I can make out from the rambling description.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Mesozoic Murder by Christine Gentry (2003)

Cover blurb

Ansel Phoenix makes her living drawing dinosaurs for magazines, books, and museum displays. One morning, digging with students out in the field, she unearths the body of colleague and ex-lover Nick Capos. Shocked and grieved over the murder, Ansel is also distraught on a professional level. As president of the Pangaea Society, an esteemed paleontology organization to which the murdered botanist also belonged, Ansel must fight to preserve the society’s reputation when unsavory facts about its scientists — dead and alive — are revealed.

Not trusting the Big Toe police who’ve an axe to grind with her father, Ansel decides to investigate what Capos had been doing during the last few months of his life and soon suspects he was working on a secret project worth killing for. Her list of possible suspects grows by the hour as someone starts stalking her across the Montana landscape. This master predator will stop at nothing to keep her from discovering… what? Why is Nick’s fossil collection missing and why had he developed a recent interest in Baltic amber?

Ansel must also deal with the cultural challenges of her own half-Anglo, half-Blackfoot heritage, her ranching family, and the changes threatening their rural community while using her intuitive fossil-sleuthing skills to solve more than one Mesozoic mystery.

My thoughts

Dinosaurs have been dead for 65 million years, but paleoartist Ansel Phoenix finds something that died much more recently when she takes a trio of college students on a fossil-hunting excursion in eastern Montana. The group stumbles upon the body of botanist Nick Capos, a member of the local paleontology society and a man Ansel once had a one-night stand with. The police quickly deduce Capos was poisoned and start an investigation. However, Ansel fears the dead scientist's connection to her society could jeopardize funding for a museum it plans to build, so she begins looking into the matter herself. Her background in paleontology turns up clues the police missed, but the deeper she delves into the mystery, the closer she comes to becoming the killer's next victim.

Mesozoic Murder is an enjoyable “cozy mystery” from Poisoned Pen Press, a small publisher specializing in crime fiction. The novel doesn't do anything new with the genre outside the focus on paleontology, but works of fiction have never needed to be groundbreaking to be entertaining. The novel's greatest strength is its protagonist, Ansel. The character isn't particularly deep but she is quirky enough to be likable, and I think female readers in particular will connect with her. The other characters are somewhat cliché – there is a handsome detective who serves as a potential love interest, an obnoxious police chief, at least two snooty scientists, a Native American shaman with mysterious powers, and so on – but they have just enough personality not to come across as stale.

As I was reading Mesozoic Murder, I couldn't help but compare it to The Dinosaur Hunter, another paleontology-themed mystery novel set in eastern Montana. Having spent five years in the state, I would argue The Dinosaur Hunter does a better job portraying the culture and landscape of that part of the country. The Montana of Mesozoic Murder came across as too urbanized with its big city police force and its characters' ability to quickly travel from one town to next, never mind the vast distances between communities there. (Montana is very big and very empty.) That said, Mesozoic Murder is a better read. For one, the novel doesn't try to force feed you its author's politics, unlike The Dinosaur Hunter. Also, the mystery is center stage in Mesozoic Murder whereas the characters in The Dinosaur Hunter couldn't care less about solving crimes.

Mesozoic Murder isn't without its flaws, but it does enough right that most readers will walk away entertained. Give it a try if you enjoy mysteries.

  • Mesozoic Murder is one of two paleontology-themed mysteries starring Ansel Phoenix. The other is Carnosaur Crimes.
  • The author, a Florida resident, obviously put a lot of research into Montana before writing the novel. However, she makes one glaring error: She describes the city of Billings as the state capital. The correct answer is Helena, in case it ever comes up on trivia night.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jurassic World novelization coming... for kids

Hold on to your butts: Book publisher Random House plans to release a "Jurassic World Special Edition Junior Novelization" on June 16. That's four days after the premier of the movie, so you're out of luck if you hoped any spoilers from the book would leak online.

The novelization is being penned by David Lewman. The author has written several video game and television tie-in novels aimed at kids, including a series based on the CSI shows. Sadly, the CSI books don't involve pre-teens investigating grisly murder scenes; the mysteries are more kid-friendly fare, like missing dogs.

Random House currently lists five Jurassic World tie-in books, all for children. So far it doesn't look like we're going to get an adult novelization based on the movie. That news isn't particularly surprising: The only Jurassic Park III novelization was aimed squarely at kids. Still, it is disappointing for those of us who would like to explore the world of the movie in a little more detail. Heck, even last year's Godzilla remake got a novelization, and it managed to creep into the New York Times bestseller list.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A field guide to fake dinosaurs

So, Indominus rex.

As you probably know by now, that is the name of the new dinosaur in Jurassic World.  The animal never existed in nature. It is instead the Frankenstein creation of the park's scientists, who spliced it together from snippets of DNA from other dinosaurs. From the description on the movie website:
At first glance, Indominus Rex most closely resembles a T. Rex. But its distinctive head ornamentation and ultra-bony osteoderms can be traced from Theropods known as Abelisaurs. Indominus' horns have been placed above the eye orbit through genetic material hybridized from Carnotaurus, Majungasaurus, Rugops and Giganotosaurus. Fearsome indeed.
The movie's producers have tried to keep the dinosaur's appearance a secret, but if you're curious, photos of I. rex have leaked online. Many dinosaur fans are not impressed. My favorite reaction so far has been the #buildabetterfaketheropod thread on Twitter, where people have posted drawings of their attempts to build the most ridiculous dinosaur possible.

Still, Jurassic World isn't the first work of fiction to invent its own dinosaurs. There actually is quite a long history of make-believe dinosaurs in cinema and literature. Dinosaurs are cool. Dinosaurs were big. But for some people they were never quite cool or big enough.

Below are all the examples of fake dinosaurs I can recall encountering in film and fiction. I don't include inaccurate depictions of real dinosaurs, like the oversized Velociraptors in the original Jurassic Park. I'm also leaving out the many examples of fictional dinosaurs that have evolved human-like intelligence – that is a topic for a future post. That said, if it was big, scaly or feathered, and never existed, then it made the list.

Rhedosaurus - The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a very loose adaptation of Ray Bradbury's short story “The Fog Horn.” It is notable in that it established the career of stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. The “Rhedosaurus” created for the film stands 65 feet tall, walks on four legs, and is aquatic. The problem is all carnivorous dinosaurs walked on two legs and lived on land – well, at least we thought, until new fossils of Spinosaurus were recently discovered.

Godzilla – 30 films and counting

Godzilla (or Gojira) undoubtedly is the most famous fake dinosaur of all time. Well, maybe. His origin story has changed over the years. In his original appearance, he was a dinosaur mutated by radioactive fallout. We even got to see what Godzilla looked like pre-nuking in the 1991 film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. The Godzilla series is filled with many fake prehistoric monsters, from the pterodactyl-like Rodan to Anguirus, who is basically a spiky Ankylosaurus. And, of course, Godzilla led to the British rip-off Gorgo.

Gorosaurus – King Kong Escapes and Destroy All Monsters

”Who?” you ask. Gorosaurus is a minor monster in the Godzilla pantheon, making its debut in Japan's attempt at a King Kong movie: King Kong Escapes. But I think Gorosaurus is notable for the fact it is a pretty traditional dinosaur. The creature is basically an oversized Allosaurus with no superpowers, which is unusual for Japan's giant monsters. Even King Kong, a monster that originally didn't have any powers, was given the ability to harness lightning when he was recruited to fight Godzilla.

Tyrannosaurus trionyches – "A Gun for Dinosaur"

The incomplete fossil record has given writers the opportunity to fill in the gaps with dinosaurs they believe could have existed. In L. Sprague de Camp's short story “A Gun for Dinosaur,” the main characters accidentally awaken a species of tyrannosaur even bigger than T. rex.

Whatever this is – "Hunters in the Forest"

The main character in Robert Silverberg's short story “Hunters in the Forest” encounters a strange-looking and unnamed theropod in the Late Cretaceous:
It is a towering bipedal creature with powerful thighs and small dangling forearms of the familiar Tyrannosaurus, but this one has an enormous bony crest like a warrior's helmet rising from its skull, with five diabolical horns radiating outward behind it and two horrendous incisors as long as tusks jutting from its cavernous mouth, and its huge lashing tail is equipped with a set of great spikes at the tip.
All the monsters from At the Earth's Core

The novel At the Earth's Core had a pretty standard set of dinosaurs populating its prehistoric world. But the monster makers of the 1976 movie adaptation either never saw any dinosaur illustrations or were high on drugs when they designed the trippy creatures of this film. We get a Godzilla rip-off with a parrot's beak, two bipedal warthogs, a fire-breathing toad monster, and other strange critters.

The New Dinosaurs

The New Dinosaurs is a coffee table book by paleontologist Dougal Dixon that explored an alternate history where dinosaurs never died out. Instead, the animals evolved to fill modern ecological niches, so there are saber-toothed theropods, giraffe-like pterosaurs, armadillo-like sauropods, and so on.

Stratoraptor velox – Dinosaur Summer

Stratoraptor is the feathered, T.rex-sized antagonist of Greg Bear's Dinosaur Summer. The creature lives in the “lost world” originally invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In Bear's story, Stratoraptor evolved from earlier dinosaurs like Archaeopteryx. It is not the only invented dinosaur in the novel, as the author also populates his lost world with allosaur descendents and a species of herbivore that lives in ant-like colonies.

Hide-a-saurus – Cavewoman

Comic book artist Budd Root invented many fictional dinosaurs to inhabit the Cretaceous world of Cavewoman. Most were carnivorous, but the one that always stuck out in my mind was a duckbill dinosaur the heroine dubbed “Hide-a-saurus.” It had evolved to camouflage itself in tall grass. The problem? Grass didn't become a huge part of the landscape until well after the dinosaurs died out.

Post-impact Antarctic dinosaurs – Evolution

Evolution by Stephen Baxter mostly is the story of human evolution, but he takes a few detours along the way. In one chapter, Baxter speculates that dinosaurs isolated on Antarctica survived the great extinction that killed the rest of their kind 65 million years ago. Among the survivors are the descendants of Velociraptors and Muttaburrasaurs, which have evolved to live in the harsh climate. Unfortunately their adaptations are not enough to save them from the final great freezing of the continent roughly 10 million years ago.

Dinocroc – Dinocroc and Dinocroc vs. Supergator

Okay, I admit I've never seen either movie. Just never got around to it. What's worrisome is the description reads eerily like the plot of Jurassic World, with its gene-spliced dinosaur. From Wikipedia:
A prehistoric dinosaur, known as the Suchomimus, is genetically engineered by the GERECO Corporation, headed by Paula Kennedy (Joanna Pacuła). After being spliced with a modern day crocodile, the creature escapes the lab and begins terrorizing the lake-side residents of a nearby town.
Baboon lizards - A Sound of Thunder

A Sound of Thunder is the deservedly forgotten 2005 film adaptation of the Ray Bradbury short story of the same name. In the movie, the characters accidentally change the prehistoric past, which results in "time ripples" that gradually replace future Chicago with a reality where the dinosaurs never died out. The film doesn't do much with the premise: Really the only animals we see are some oversized bats, a large eel, and a pack of "baboon lizards" that are a cross between baboons and dinosaurs. The special effects are pretty awful, although not quite as terrible as Ben Kingsley's hair in the movie.

Vastatosaurus rex – King Kong (2005)

V. rex is a T. rex descendant living in the forests of Skull Island in the 2005 King Kong remake. It has evolved to resemble something out of a Charles R. Knight painting, with three fingers instead of two and a much larger body size than its famous ancestor. V. rex isn't alone: Pretty much all the dinosaurs living on Skull Island are fictional, having evolved from creatures we find in the fossil record. The movie tie-in The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island provides a glimpse of the island's strange ecosystem.

Tree creeper – Primeval

The British TV show Primeval introduced viewers to a large number of real and fictional animals. Many of the latter came from a far future where humans were extinct, but the show’s writers invented at least one species of fake dinosaur. “Tree creepers” were basically Jurassic Park’s raptors crossbred with monkeys. They lived in the Cretaceous and used prehensile tails for grabbing unsuspecting prey.

Acceraptor – Terra Nova

The short-lived TV series Terra Nova invented a handful of fake dinosaurs with the explanation being that since the fossil record is incomplete, there were probably species that we know nothing about. The most memorable were the Acceraptors, or “slashers,” which were like Velociraptors but had crests and whip tails with blades at the end. They were a scary creation, but not one compelling enough to save the series from cancellation.