Dinosaurs, Documentaries, and Sex
But I noticed that it tended to say things that we probably couldn’t know. Like how long early mammals stayed with their young, or that they mated for life. How can we possibly know if something that lived 200 million years ago mated for life? I don’t see how the fossils could tell us that, and it’s not the kind of thing where comparisons to living animals would be particularly applicable. Even if they were comparing to modern animals, what reptiles mate for life? None I know of.
In my experience documentaries tend to present speculation as fact far more often than they should. I’ve seen entire History Channel documentaries that are nothing more than rampant speculation presented as though it’s good history, and it’s just irresponsible. I realize that controversy sells, but some people don’t have the background to realize how stupid the hypotheses they’re presenting actually are, and the producers should at least present the more traditional view (which has the evidence for it). But I’ve complained about this before.
Speaking of positions that have evidence, here’s an article about Dinosaur sex. This is one of those things that we can’t completely determine with just bones. But we’re nearly positive that Dinosaurs would reproduce similarly to birds and reptiles, lining up openings called cloaca.
But as the article points out, these openings would be tiny, even on huge dinosaurs. Positioning two smalls holes right on top of each other when tails and legs the size of trees - and about as maneuverable - are in the way would be no small task. In the words of L. Beverly Halstead, a paleontologist, "Their mating had to be done with great delicacy and great precision. It must have been utterly charming to watch, quite unlike our own species."
The article goes into some more specific detail. It’s about dinosaurs and sex, so you know it’s a worthwhile read.