TV Critics Tour: Discovery Takes Wraps Off ‘Dinosaur Mummy’


Beverly Hills, Calif.—The prize for the most enthusiastic presenter at the summer meeting of the television critics meeting here so far goes to Dr. Robert Bakker, who will be featured in Discovery Channel's upcoming Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy.

The visiting curator of paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science raved about the importance of the 77-million-year-old dinosaur mummy, nicknamed “Leonardo,” at the heart of the one-hour, high-definition special scheduled to premiere Sept. 14. The corpse is the first intact dinosaur mummy ever found and still has 90% of its skin intact.

“This is the holy grail in paleontology,” he enthused.

The body was found by amateur paleontologists in Montana and has been examined with non-destructive testing methods, such as high-powered X-rays administered at NASA facilities. The researchers gleaned great information from the dinosaur's gastric system.

“It's not the smoking gun, but the smoking intestine,” he said.

Scientists now know what comprised the dinosaur's last meal and this digested plant material tells scientists more about the creature's ancient environment. Bakker said its Montana home region was once more like the current bayou environment around New Orleans.

Bakker said other intact dinosaurs are likely to be found near the excavation site of Leonardo (which also seems to assure future Discovery specials).

Another debut includes Into the Unknown with Josh Bernstein. This show, premiering Aug. 18, will explore topics from the real lives of Roman gladiators, to secret mummification rituals in the jungles of New Guinea. The channel is also planning on a 13-episode series in October, Prototype This, focusing on the design process for innovative products; and a 16-part series on science, the title of which is still to be determined.

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