A&F Newsletter

Spring 2007


Cowley adjunct instructor, Mike Everhart working on IMAX 3-D Film

photo of plesiosaurHaving researched the paleontology of western Kansas for the past 20 years, Cowley College adjunct instructor Mike Everhart was just the person to help the National Geographic with the production of its IMAX 3-D film titled “Sea Monsters, A Prehistoric Adventure”. The movie will
be released in October 2007.

Everhart has been reporting and publishing papers on various paleontology discoveries since the late 1990s. He also has one of the largest paleontology websites on the Internet and features many Kansas fossils: http://www.oceansofkansas.com

National Geographic contacted Everhart about six years ago and wanted more information about the fossils of these strange creatures, many of which were first discovered in Kansas. Everhart’s 2005 book, “Oceans of Kansas”, helped to catalyze the project.

When National Geographic first contacted Everhart they had three projects in mind.

They wanted an article to appear in their magazine, a documentary for TV and an IMAX movie. The magazine article appeared in the December 2005 issue of National Geographic. The web version is available at http://www7.nationalgeographic.com

The documentary for television is on hold while the IMAX movie is in production.

The movie, however, has become a major (multi-million dollar) project.

photo of Mike Everhart“I am very happy to be involved as one of the technical advisers,” Everhart said. “My role is to provide information, based on the fossil evidence, of what these creatures would have looked like, and even to some extent, what we believe they were like in life. It has been an interesting project for me because, even though I understand what these creatures were like because I have worked with their remains for many years, conveying that information to director, the actors, the artists and all of the other individuals involved in the production has also been a learning experience for me.

In the process of making them appear real for people outside of paleontology, I have been able to improve my own ideas about them and the way they lived.” Everhart was also able to participate when the “real life” and “historical scenes” were filmed in Kansas last year. Nearly all the scenes were filmed in Kansas. The project is currently in production and Everhart is working closely with the animators to create the best, most realistic views of marine life in the Kansas oceans during the Late Cretaceous (the last part of the Age of Dinosaurs).

The film also highlights several of the discoveries made by the famous fossil hunters from Kansas (the Sternberg family) and shows a lot of beautiful Kansas scenery. The film will follow a curious and adventurous dolichorynchops (familiarly known as a ‘dolly’) as she travels through life’s stages, experiencing the world from her spot near the bottom of the food chain. Along the way, she’ll encounter long-necked plesiosaurs, giant turtles, enormous fish, ferocious flippered crocs, fierce sharks, and the most dangerous sea monsters of all, the mosasaurs. “Sea Monsters” weaves together a series of palaeontological digs from around the globe in a compelling story about scientists working as prehistoric detectives to answer questions about this ancient and mysterious ocean world.

photo of tylosaurusViewers accompany modern and historical palaeontologists to remote locations as they excavate the remains of some of the most awe-inspiring creatures of all time, and together they’ll discover fossils, which shed light on exactly what happened to the film’s incredible cast of characters. The film combines the powerful and experiential nature of the giant screen with strong science and educational materials, highlighting the complexity and fragility of life in Earth’s oceans. Merging ultrahigh- resolution 3D graphics with National Geographic’s trademark authenticity, compelling imagery and powerful storytelling. “Sea Monsters” is an unforgettable prehistoric adventure.