If you like dragons, but aren’t interested in Game of Thrones, the latest episode of Science Goes to the Movies is definitely for you. The guest this week is Mark Norell, Chair of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. More importantly for the focus of the show, Norell was a co-curator of a 2008 exhibit at the museum focused on mythic creatures.
Rather than use the HBO fantasy series as its entry into the subject, the episode links to the upcoming movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a J.K. Rowling work set in the early 20th century America of the same world as her Harry Potter series. As is now common for the show, the episode diverted from the initial pop culture work into many related topics. A major theme of the episode was the paleontological influences on various mythic figures. But as happens quite often when dinosaurs are part of the conversation, they quickly took center stage in the discussion. Given Morell’s work with dinosaurs, this is far from surprising. Though you may, much like co-host Faith Salie, be surprised about how much you don’t know about dinosaurs.
There are web extras included with this episode, and are certainly worth watching, particularly if you’re a person for whom there cannot be too much dinosaur information.
Next week the show returns to talking superheroes. This time The Flash is the focus, primarily the physics of the current television series thanks to guest David Kaplan, a professor and documentary film producer.