Ellie Harrison has been fascinated by dinosaurs since she was a child. It was these magnificent pre-historic creatures that first fuelled her love of the natural world. Dinosaur Britain tells the amazing story of many of the dinosaurs that once roamed our country revealing how they hunted, what they ate and how they died from the evidence revealed from their bones. The show can be seen on Monday, August 31st at 9pm and Tuesday, September 1st at 8pm on ITV.
Have you always found dinosaurs fascinating?
Like every child, dinosaurs filled me with wonder and confusion. My grandparents took us to the natural history museum in London and the scale of the specimens there seemed ridiculous.
Why should people tune in?
Giant reptiles dominating life on earth, before the rise of the mammals - we can hardly imagine how earth would have looked. The CGI is brilliant and brings to life our best idea of how dinosaurs would have appeared, what they ate, how they fought and how they died. But unusually, in our series, the dinosaurs walk the streets of modern Britain so we can see their size and might relative to what we recognise in the world today. It’s a really entertaining watch and full of information.
What was the most surprising thing you learnt?
The rarity of a find. There have been around fifty species of dinosaur discovered in the UK. Yet looking at the snapshot of biodiversity today, there were clearly many more than fifty. But the chances of any animal through history becoming fossilised is very very small. The conditions must be perfect. And over 195 million years, the chance of that fossil being destroyed is quite high: exposure to air or water would do it. So finding any dinosaur piece is almost miraculous and opens up my mind to great wonder.
Where would you recommend fossil hunters visit to find out more about them?
We have the Jurassic coast here in Britain which will offer you the chance to find your very own fossils. Don’t forget dinosaurs occupied a particular period in history but the history of life on earth is very much longer so any fossil, dinosaur or otherwise, is special and opens our eyes and our minds to our place here. I had a pocketful of belemnites (squid like animal from 195-‐65 million years ago) pieces after just half an hour.
Was Dean a great travelling companion?
Dean is like the Billie Elliot of paleontology. He’s loved the subject since being a child. But he doesn’t come from a wealthy family and his school didn’t encourage him into it. He sold his Star Wars figures and managed to fund himself onto a dig in the USA. If people walked anywhere near us while filming he was over there like a shot trying to enthrall them with details of Megalosaurus.
Courtesy of itv