Lost Dinosaurs of New Zealand

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Science Documentary hosted by Jonathan Booth and published by Discovery Channel in 2002 - English narration

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Image: Lost-Dinosaurs-of-New-Zealand-Cover.jpg

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The discovery of New Zealand dinosaurs by retired housewife turned scientist Joan Wiffen is casting new light on the behaviour of dinosaurs during the Late Cretaceous and the puzzle of why dinosaurs in general became extinct.When retired Kiwi housewife Joan Wiffen went gemstone and fossil hunting with her late husband Pont back in 1972 she never imagined that she would be awarded an honorary PhD for discovering New Zealand's first dinosaur bones.

The couple had been following an old map of the Te Hoe Valley - a section of rugged bush country on the East Coast of New Zealand's North Island when they rediscovered the Mangahouanga Stream, a site rich in fossils. The first fossils they found were marine, including the skull of a Mosasaur, arguably the world's most efficient sea predator ever. These creatures grew to 36 feet in length, swam like an eel and had a head like a crocodile. They also found the vertebrae and skull of the long necked elasmosaurs the creature of Loch Ness Monster fame. The fossils were hard won because all of these finds were in concretions - hard, round sandstone rocks which had formed around the bones over the years and now appeared as moss covered boulders in the stream. They had to be cut out of the sandstone rocks using a stone saw and then carried in back packs uphill over rough hill tracks through the bush for 4 Km.

Joan learned how to recognise and identify the fossils and also taught herself about acid extraction. A method of separating the fossil from the rocks. It's a difficult method which involves coating the fossil in wax and then immersing the rock in glacial acetic acid which eats away the sandstone but not the fossil. In 1975 Joan and her husband discovered a tail bone from a 4 metre long, half tonne, meat-eating dinosaur - later identified by Dr Ralph Molnar of the Queensland Museum as probably being a Megalosaur. The identification was made in 1981 when Joan was on holiday in Queensland and saw a dinosaur vertebrae that looked very similar to the “ funny shaped bone “she had at home in New Zealand

Prior to this discovery, expert opinion was that dinosaurs had not made it to New Zealand before it broke away from Gondwanaland 120 million years ago. Joan and her band of local fossil hunting enthusiasts have recovered the fossil remains of several dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous period including a 12m long vegetarian sauropod, a relative of the towering Diplodocus. They have also found bones of the plant eating Hypsilophodont, a bipedal dinosaur about the size of a sheep, the armour plated Ankylosaur which was about the size of a VW Beetle and the pterosaur, the flying lizard that looks like a cross between a gannet and a bat.

Joan is 80 years old and has had heart bi pass surgery but this does not stop her searching for her beloved fossils. We follow Joan and her small team as they tramp through rugged bush and across icy streams on a day trip to recover some new specimens. Joan's remarkable story forms the backbone of this amazing documentary.e Cretaceous and the puzzle of why dinosaurs in general became extinct.

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Image: Lost-Dinosaurs-of-New-Zealand-Screen0.jpg Image: Lost-Dinosaurs-of-New-Zealand-Screen1.jpg

[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: DivX 5.2.1 (WaffleDay)
Video Bitrate: 1848 kbps
Video Resolution: 720x448
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.607:1
Frames Per Second: 25.000
Audio Codec: 0x0055 MPEG-1 Layer 3
Audio Bitrate: 137kb/s VBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: English
RunTime Per Part: 48:55.200
Number Of Parts: 1
Part Size: 699MB
Subtitles: No
Ripped by: jvt40

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