Planet Dinosaur is a new series highlighting recent discoveries in palaeontology. A later programme will feature Predator X- the biggest marine predator ever- a find so new (it's still being assembled by its finders) that it hasn't yet aquired a proper zoological name.
I've often wondered whether stories of giants and dragons and sea monsters had anything to do with our ancestors trying to make sense of the fossils they came across. According to Tom Holland- whose show- Dinosaurs, Myths and Monsters- followed right on from Planet Dinosaur (but on another channel)- the answer is "Of course". One and a half hours of up-to-the-minute dino-programming in a single evening- Yes!
Holland's programme touched upon the career of Richard Owen- the Victorian anatomist who gave us the word "dinosaur" and created the Natural History Museum. He was already in my mind because I'd been leafing through a Museum guide-book earlier in the day. Owen is in the dog-house because he was a creationist- and his statue- which used to preside over the great hall of his museum- has recently been replaced by Darwin's. Darwin was a better scientist and a nicer man but does he really have to have all the glory? Owen was a great man too- and there's something Stalinist about his demotion.