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Anglophenia has obtained the following confidential memorandum, written by a special committee of scientsts from London’s Royal Society:

To:        President, Royal Society
From:    Dinosaur Research Team
Re:        Dinosaur Hunters – Not for distribution

It has become painfully obvious to all of us in the Trends in Royal Excavation (T-REX) group that the Society’s current state of archeological research is practically, well, prehistoric.

We have only to point out the advances made by ARC, the Anomaly Research Centre, under the leadership of founder Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall), to make this clear. Just take a look at ARC’s pioneering work in paleontology, zoology and time travel, as evidenced by the stateside premiere of Season 5 of Primeval (tonight, Nov. 12 9/8c) on BBC America.

We know that you are as embarrassed as we are that the Royal Society lags so far behind in contemporary dinosaur research.  In order to rectify this grave situation, we have conducted a survey of approaches taken by other popular British dinosaur experts in the hopes that we can learn from them.

Here are the results of our survey:

• Roland Tembo, played by Pete Postlethwaite in The Lost World: Jurassic Park

At first glance, Roland Tembo would not seem to possess the character traits we seek. In the second film of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park trilogy, he’s a big game hunter, drawn to dinosaurs to hunt and kill them rather than to study and learn from them. Not only that, his main psychological motivation for his urge to slaughter is to assert the human race’s position as the planet’s number one predator. Still, as the movie demonstrates, being able to kill dinosaurs is a skill that comes in handy.

• John Hammond, played by Richard Attenborough, in Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park

At first, he appears to be the real deal – a scientist-entrepreneur. That’s great image-wise. Recreating dinosaurs by cloning is exactly the kind of thing this old-fashioned society is looking for. His slogan, “Life will find a way,” is just the sort of catchphrase we should have come up with – what’s wrong with our PR people, anyway? Plus, Hammond did the whole thing for his grandchildren – his grandchildren! – what could be more family friendly than that? The only drawback, as we see it, is the whole Faust thing. And the destruction of San Diego.

• Dr. Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill, Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III

Biggest plus: he’s no stodgy scientist. Rather than looking like an egghead, he’s a handsome figure with movie star good looks – who also happens to have formulated impressive theories about dinosaurs and their intelligence. Also, he seems to specialize in rescuing kids.

• Sir Oliver Lindenbrook, played by James Mason in Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

We like this guy. He doesn’t just go to the ends of the earth – he goes to the middle of it. Classic British spirit. And it pays off when he finds dinosaurs that, strangely enough, look like giant iguanas. Also turns out that originally, the character wasn’t British at all: in Jules Verne’s novel, he’s from Hamburg, not Edinburgh. And there was also no duck.

• Professor George Edward Challenger, played by Claude Rains in The Lost World (1960)

This zoologist finds dinosaurs on an expedition – they were apparently preserved on a remote plateau as a result of volcanic activity. (Note to Society members: maybe finding such places would be cheaper than relying on anomalies.) He’s also British through-and-through, having been originally created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame. Also, Jill St. John apparently travels on his expeditions, a fact that has not been lost on some of our committee members.

• Dr. Henry Jones, portrayed by Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Okay, so he’s technically not a dinosaur “hunter,” but he could clearly bring his experience in archeology – as well as his son Indy, to help us put the Royal Society on the map in the 21st century. Also, the two of them are pretty good at fighting Nazis.

In conclusion, although these suggestions might appear somewhat unorthodox, let me remind you of the Royal Society’s motto, “Nullius in verba,” or, “take nobody’s word.”

Take my word for it.

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Filed Under: Jurassic Park, Primeval
By Paul Hechinger