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Educators and Stuff

Some additional comments for clarification and stuff:

In my last posting I noted the sorry shape of educational materials
available to educators on dinos. I did this as an observation, which I
believe is pretty accurate, which was meant to show sympathy for the
plight of the educator trying to get good materials to teach from. I was
blessed with some good science teachers when I was growing up which is
probably why I ended up here. I would like to see those educators that
want to teach from solid materials, which would be the vast majority
from what I can gather from my contacts, be able to get them. Almost all
the paleontologists I know do a lot of public contact in various ways,
depending on what they can do within their official jobs. I teach
resident associate dino hall tours and interact with various teachers
and public throughout the year, I spend a good amount of time as one of
the Dino Society's product reviewers, which I hope will help cure the
problem above, and have a lot of Internet contact with young people. In
fact, one of my contacts became a semi-finalist in the Westinghouse
series using techniques I developed on theropods. This was done by a
little snail-mail and a lot of e-mail. The funny thing is, I've never
met him and wouldn't know it if he walked in the room now. I also allow
myself to spend time interacting on this list to help fit that bill - as
does Tom and Ken, et al. All the paleontologists I know do various
things like this. The problem is there are far too few of us and too
many students to cover. The answer may be to concentrate teachers,
especially science teachers, more in their subjects and less in
"education courses". When I was in college back in the Pleistocene,
teachers took only a few watered-down science courses and a lot of
education courses which, frankly, were mostly worthless. I hope the
latter have gotten better and they are now taking better science
classes, most or all could easily have learned more if given that option
within their study plan.

2) I'll be happy to help with the merit badge stuff as a reviewer,
although it would be good to have Ken or Tom or Mike or someone else
also help out who's dino knowledge is more encyclopedic than mine is.

3) The JP raptor really was a Deinonychus, I believe, the movie for some
reason seemed to follow Greg Pauls synonymizing D. with Velociraptor,
something not well accepted at all - but not necessarily an inaccuracy,
just reflecting one opinion in the field (which I think is wrong but who

4)Another way I'm trying to press my own research toward helping with
educationis that I'm moving toward prototyping of materials. I will have
access to one of the scanners Larry Smith was talking about and hope to
scan in 3-d surfaces of dino stuff with the final output being computer
graphics files and real casts (prototypes) that can be made available
better, and at scales that will be more useful - making real small
things bigger and big things smaller. Imagine having accurate casts of
all known Triceratops heads in one room and not needing a fork lift to
view them from different positions. Once the files are made, the molding
and casting and computer viewing should make mor einfo available to
everyone, especially educators. I hear Tim Rowe is looking into this
also and probably a bunch of others.

5) I like the NOVA programs as well and just saw the one on the 92 Gobi
AMNH expeditions again. Great. As well as the one on the mammals
preserved in Nebraska and the In Search of the Dragon episode (or was
that not NOVA).

6)Soory some people took offense at my statement on Bakker, but it's not
because he's good at popularization. There are lots of paleo types who
are doing it well from Horner - who still does good research - to Soreno
Dale Russell, Currie. Heck, I've even been on TV twice and am quoted on
the cover of this newest Earth on the AMNH mammal finds. It's just a
shame that Bakker's really stopped doing significant research, with the
accompanying rigor it helps develop in a person.

7) Now to arm-chair paleontologists. I used the term following someone
else's reference and even put it into quotes to show uncertainty in
exactly what it means. What I interpreted as is there are people who
spend much of their professional time doing paleontology - and I'm very
inclusive in my view of what this is to include collectors who really
add to the science. I took arm-chair types as those who spend most of
their time doing other things and are enthusiasts & the such. The point
was that if your in the active part of the science, you see the grey
levels more and more and see things less cut and dry - as in the
raptor size thing. Yes the raptors in JP were larger than Velociraptor
is known to be, but if you know more about growth in reptiles and the
vageries of the fossil record - it was not unreasonable for JP to have
a raptor (actually a Deinonychus) about twice the size of those known.
Are there snobby paleo types who treat non-pros badly? You bet, they often
treat other pros badly as well. So the hell with them. If I felt any
condescention (sp?) toward those who aren't doing paleo professionally,
I wouldn't be interacting on this list.

8) Finally, I don;t know the answqer to the ownership thing with the
Triceratops leg. Yes, a cast is better than nothing, but it is
important, especially for types, that the original be available. I
jsut don;t know what the answer is to be fair to everyone and the

I gravely apologise for being so long and will shut up for a while.

Ralph Chapman, NMNH