Each character in the show comes from a specific prehistoric reptile or mammal species alive at the end of the Cretaceous Era. Each one's personality and motivation is based on what we know about these species' biology and behavior, plus a dose of anthropomorphic dramatic license.

Hieronymous Bones: Bones is a Troodon, one of the small, two-legged meat-eaters. If a detective is supposed to be swift, clever and smart, Troodons were apparently all of that. They probably ran down smaller prey (think cheetah), had binocular vision, three-fingered claws with opposable digits and a large brain compared to body size. If dinos had survived, these guys might have become us.

Cranock: Cranock is a plant-eater, specifically a type of hadrosaur called a Parasaurolophus ("another crested lizard"). This fellow came with a hollow-boned crest sweeping back from its head, probably used as a resonating chamber that vibrated to make calls louder. In size, hadrosaurs were not in the sauropod class, but larger than Troodons. I imagine Cranock to be a solid, common-sensical, salt of the earth type.

The relationship of a carnivore to an herbivore is somewhat problematic, most especially so for Bones and Cranock. Still, Hieronymous knows she needs Cranock for questioning species that fear her, showing some "muscle" when needed and testing out her theories against his practical wisdom. Cranock is just bored with munching leaves with his herd and views Hieronymous as a source of adventure. Hieronymous and Cranock's show names come from artists - they sound suitably reptilian.

Zalambdalestes: Mr. Z is one of the rat-sized mammals that scurried around dinos during the Cretaceous. He was long-limbed, placental and might have jumped about like a rabbit. His show name is also the scientific name of this species. He has the persona of a guerilla chief, proud, charismatic, quick on his feet even when his cause seems hopeless - a real survivor, as our rodent ancestors must have been.

MC: Initially a Triceratops ("three-horned face") - the horned dudes who formed defensive circles with kids in the middle when menaced by carnivores. Otherwise, a friendly and gregarious plant-eater, no danger to anyone who doesn't bother him. As MC, this is the dino who knows everyone and has contacts everywhere, but carries a woeful secret revealed in the last lines.

Others: Flap is a Pteranodon, from the family called peterosaurs. It used to be thought that these reptiles glided in flight, but apparently they really could, um, flap. This Flap acts and talks like a kid. Likes to travel and pick up pretty things too. Edmontosaurs, cousins to Cranock, are named for the Canadian city near which they were found. They had skin flaps around their noses that could be inflated to help with bellowing (those wild and crazy hadrosaurs). Dr. Eakins is a Tyrannosaurus Rex, everyone's favorite bad guy. Since she's bound to tear you apart anyway, this is the logical choice for a forensic pathologist with a bent for mayhem


Other Cretaceous pages: