LONDON, ENGLAND. Check out John Hutchinson's dissection-heavy website WhatsInJohnsFreezer.com for a sense of what it might mean for him to be a proverbial kid in a candy store.
A professor of Evolutionary Mechanics at University of London's Royal Veterinary College, Hutchinson served as an advisor on National Geographic's "T.rex Autopsy," which will air on Sunday, June 7 and shot in April at Pinewood Studios near London.
NatGeo had a number of reporters on-set for the "T.rex Autopsy" shoot, which featured a team of veterinarians and paleontologists going to surgical town on a bio-realistic tyrannosaurus rex constructed by Jez Gibson-Harris' Crawley Creatures.
This is pretty close to a dream for Hutchinson, who has written roughly a dozen papers on T.rex legs and locomotion and is also, for want of a better word, an animal autopsy enthusiastic, the more exotic and rare the species the better.
For the purposes of the actual "T.rex Autopsy" filming, Hutchinson wasn't on the floor with the specimen, but he instead perched in an observation room above the autopsy floor with a group of reporters, answering a nearly non-stop series of questions over the course of over 10 hours, ranging from queries as simple as "So, is that what it would look like to remove a T.rex's stomach and plop it on a soundstage floor?" to far more specific and detailed discourses that the journalists from scientific publications understood and I did not.
Hutchinson's excitement when the replica and its excavators got something right was matched only by his excitement and urgency when something wasn't entirely on-point and he was able to send frantic texts to the producers to get get on-the-fly corrections.
Before the actual autopsy took place, though, I sat down with Professor Hutchinson to discuss this autopsy project, the dangers of anthropomorphizing a terrible lizard, the lingering importance of "Jurassic Park" in this field and which parts of this speculative experiment he expects will be outmoded 20 years from now.
And you can also find out the context it took for Hutchinson to declare, "Yeah. T.rex was the Tony Soprano of the late Cretaceous."
Click through for the full Q&A and check out "T.rex Autopsy" on June 7.