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Raptor Unread and T. rex Gangrene

Roger A. Stephenson (rstephen@cswnet.com) wrote:

>Sure intertainment has its place, and the public gobblesit up, but to say
>these works of fiction actually contribute to paleontology is a work of
>fiction in and of itself. To me the important thing for paleontology, in
>the eyes of the public, is accurate consistant presentation of facts. Make
>up stories, name dinosaurs whatever suits you, present vague ideas as fact,
>and you wind up with a confused public. This "advancement" is the kind that
>takes years to correct. Sorry S.S. Lazarus, but a series of "Raptor Reds"
>would do more harm than all the "Land Before Time" and "Lion King" tpye
>products the industry could crank out in 20 years.

I strongly disagree here.

It *is* the popular media which kindles interest in things like
palaeontology, and it is this grass roots level which is important to the
health of the whole discipline.  Lets face it, people don't get interested
in dinosaurs by reading the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology!
I am not supporting "Raptor Red", but it *is* only a book, and quite
frankly, if it engaged the public at large and keeps palaeontology in the
public's eye, I am all for it.

Correcting mistakes can be done in school/university.
Getting people there (or indeed having people there to do the correcting)
might well depend on things like "Raptor Red"


cnedin@geology.adelaide.edu.au                  nedin@ediacara.org
Many say it was a mistake to come down from the trees, some say
the move out of the oceans was a bad idea. Me, I say the stiffening
of the notochord in the Cambrian was where it all went wrong,
it was all downhill from there.