Realistic dinosaur puppet scares and delights schoolchildren

These Australian schoolchildren were treated to a visit from an extremely lifelike dinosaur puppet. Between the virtuoso performance by the puppeteer and the great design of the puppet, this is a hell of a performance.

Walk the dinosaur (via JWZ)


  1. GLORIOUS! Great design, wonderfully skilled operation. Partly because the movement of the head is so sinous and lifelike, it captures your attention and you don’t really notice the puppeteer’s legs.

  2. There’s gonna be at least one kid in there who’ll never forget this and will wind up working as a paleontologist.

  3. There’s gonna be at least one kid in there who’ll never forget this and will wind up working as a paleontologist.

    Or in therapy :D

  4. If puppets were this awesome when I was a kid, I wouldn’t still be having Mr. Roger’s nightmares. I wonder if they can fix clowns, too…

  5. Great piece of performance work there – and real, which makes all the difference. (I still remember meeting Gonzo once but I can barely recall what Dave Goelz actually looked like. even though he was one of my heroes.)

  6. I was so concentrating on the head and such of the dino I actually missed the human legs walking it around – amazing performance.

  7. This is a DINO from BBC’s Live Walking With Dinosaurs show (see — FLASH intro warning)

    As a show, it’s pretty spectacular. It’s definitely aimed at kids, but adults would appreciate the mechanics and artistry of a full size T-Rex and a Stegosaurus battle.

    Even if you can see the legs and the cars driving around, the puppeteers manage to make these HUGE robots behave with, dare I say, “personality?”

  8. Part of the Walking with Dinosaurs tour if I’m not mistaken (though at this hour I easily could be). Saw the show in Portland last year with my ex and her son. Kid had been obsessed with dinosaurs going into it but the moment that t-rex roared it ratcheted up to an entirely new level. An extremely reluctant reader was suddenly tackling the word ‘Pachycephelasaurus’ without batting an eye. Awesome show, well worth the money if you get a chance to see it.

  9. Er, someone did explain to the kids in advance that this wasn’t a real dinosaur, right?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these kids end up being injured by a horse, cow, bull, or other animal when they try to pet and play with it.

    1. my god is there NOTHING you dullards can’t concern-troll on boingboing? What is wrong with you people?

      Anyway… the possibilities of this sort of thing but with chroma green tights, motion tracking and shoot some background plates has got me thinking! :)

    2. i was about to post about how someone in the US would figure out how to file a lawsuit because of this but you inadvertently beat me to the punch… *sigh*

    1. Yes, with no saddle and cave man rider, how can they understand that dinosaurs and man existed at the same time, you know, like The Flintstones….

    2. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      On another note, wouldn’t it have been kind of cool to watch it, like, eat a kid. C’mon you all know you wanted to see that.

  10. The first time I saw this on the news I missed the legs completely and thought “Oh my God John Hammond’s finally done it!”

  11. I bet everyone here watched that video and thought “wow, that looks so real” as if we really know how these guys acted. Erm…the dino, not the kids. I’m pretty sure they’re real.

    I mean, I’m sure paleontologists are doing their best to reconstruct behavior based on modern animals, but it is largely guesswork. I have a feeling that our expectations, like those of these kids, are more informed by what Spielberg’s FX guys thought was more cinematic than what the paleontologists believe.

    1. Well, we will likely never know 100% how they acted, but piecing together things like bones and footprints and modelling muscles from that we can get a very good approximation on how they walked, turned, stood up and so on. Behaviour is much harder though, but considering that they are relatives to the birds and lizards of today we can make an educated guess adjusted for things like diet and size.

    2. Very true. But of course both the film makers and our experiences are informed by the behavior of existing animals that we see in nature films. While we will never know as much as we’d like about the behaviors of long extinct species, this puppeteer has managed to make the dino move in ways that emulate living creatures very well. So calling his movements “lifelike” is not a stretch, and those movements certainly add verisimilitude.

  12. Mere words fail to express the joy I get watching a dinosaur terrorize scores of screaming children. Seriously, big ole’ smile plastered on my face right now.

    1. Mere words fail to express the joy I get watching a dinosaur terrorize scores of screaming children. Seriously, big ole’ smile plastered on my face right now.

      I just imagined that I was reading a blog for evil masterminds, and everything suddenly made sense today.

  13. Oh my god, I would have nightmares for DECADES…
    and loved the show forever.
    That thing is awesome, and all those kids screaming and going on? exactly what a dinosaur show should be doing.

  14. That’s cool. Sort of like the horse puppet posted awhile ago.

    Notice why the kids thought it was real. The puppeteer wore camo pants, becoming near invisible, completing the illusion.

  15. funniest bit: at 0:30, when the playground monitor walks in blowing his whistle. because when he sees kids screaming with fear and delight he is simply compelled to control. good luck, buddy.

  16. It would have totally completed the illusion to wear pants that matched the skin tone of the dino. That would have completely rendered them invisible.

  17. Even better if you play the Montenegro national anthem while you watch the dinosaur video. Epic!

  18. Oh man, this is SO COOL!! I’d love for something like this to come to my daughter’s school – she’s absolutely crazy for dinosaurs.
    It reminds me of when I was a kid, and on rainy days our vice-principal would gather us in the music room, turn off the lights and tell spooky stories to his own accompaniment on the piano. Real timeless, classic stuff like “The Tell-tale Heart” – I can still see and hear him, thundering away on the bass keys imitating the thumping of the heart, while all these terrified/delighted kids clutched each other and hid their eyes.

    1. Was the music room a room without windows? Did you grow up in a region with lots of tornadoes? If the answer to both of those is yes, then the vice principal was more likely more interested in protecting your life than in rainy day activities.

      1. Nah, it just rains a lot here in the Fall & Spring. And we had a really cool vice-principal – an expat Englishman with musical theatre training, and a vast collection of adapted-for-kids stories he’d perfected by practising on his own kids. I mean, it’s not like this happened EVERY rain day – just as a special treat once in a while. Believe me, we also spent plenty of long, grey lunch hours playing “matho”!

  19. well done, – reminds me of a play we took the kids to recently Darwin and the dinosaur. Puppet outfits with special lighting..

    the kids loved it and screamed as well..

  20. The most enjoyable part of this is the children’s reactions. If the dino were walking around in an empty room or a crowd of slightly engaged adults it wouldn’t be any fun. Adults aren’t easily frightened into abandon or ecstatic states. Maybe a scary movie or a haunted house or a good prank, but man these kids are going nuts and it’s so fun to watch.

  21. The same puppet came to greet a group of kids at a contest my station was hosting in conjunction with the Walking with Dinosaurs show (also very cool).

    Coming out of the room and into the staging area, the t-rex ran right at me before turning into the room…. and I’ll admit, I had a rush of adrenaline. The noises and breathing are great… very loud.

    The costume is really heavy, so additional kudos to the outstanding performer inside the costume.

  22. How am I supposed to ignore national stereotypes if even the frickin’ preschoolers are wearing Aussie hats – only thing missing was the corks… bloody beaut’ mate

  23. If you watch this with the sound off and Montenegro’s national anthem instead, it’s amazing.

  24. Those dinos run amok all over the Melbourne museum during the school holidays occasionally, and believe me the grownups run away too!

  25. I have yet to see any animal roaring around with it’s mouth open like that. This ( and Spielberg) is how neither chickens nor lizards act.
    Animals are either eating, breeding, sleeping or ( males mostly) defending almost all of the time.
    This is not how an animal, any animal, stalks it’s prey.

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