What is this? National Geographic’s new augmented reality (AR) experience on Instagram allows viewers to place life-size dinosaurs in their space, along with learning about the latest finds—rewriting what we know about the ancient beasts. Pulling from National Geographic magazine’s “Reimagining Dinosaurs“ cover story, three AR experiences highlight how winged Yi qi could glide, and that Deinonychus raised eggs like modern-day birds and Spinosaurus lived largely underwater. Viewers also can tap the selfie mode and share videos of themselves as the dinosaurs.
The experience was built with Instagram’s Spark AR platform, which allows any Instagram member, not just @natgeo followers, to use the interactive.
As you launch one of the AR interactives, you’ll be invited to tap on a flat surface to bring a dinosaur to life. You can adjust the dino’s size to fit your space using a six-foot-tall human silhouette for scale. Then a voice-over and text from author Michael Greshko will walk through key recent discoveries.
Next, using the camera button (bottom right) in Instagram, you’ll be invited to flip to the front-facing selfie view. Here you’ll come face-to-face with the dinosaur—programmed to mimic your head movement and open and close its mouth as you move yours. As you become the dinosaur, you’re invited to take a selfie using the record button at the bottom of the screen, or press and hold that button to record a video. Share the recording to your Instagram Stories.
This is National Geographic’s third AR experience. To see the others, search for Everest AR and The World in 2070.
How to access the dinosaurs
If you’re reading this article on your smartphone, simply click here for Spinosaurus, here for Deinonychus, or here for Yi qi to open the interactive in your Instagram app.
If you’re reading this on another device, you can find the interactive with all other AR filters on Instagram:
- Open Instagram.
- Swipe left on the home page to open the Instagram camera.
- Swipe right on the filters to Browse Effects, on the far right.
- Search Deinonychus, Spinosaurus, or Yi qi.