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nomenclature and teaching

I have been teaching dinosaurs as a non-specialist, 1st year (freshman
to you yanks) "rocks for jocks" course now for four terms and find that
what students most want to know is not the names.  the little kids
(and i have taught them in 3 summer enrichment courses) want to know
the names, the sizes, and the stuff like that (the "facts" if you will).
the college types are much less interested in the litany of names and
sizes (or even the "est"'s -biggest, longest, heaviest, smallest, etc.)
They really want to know community relationships.  I find that this is
the hardest information to find.

So I would strongly urge you dinosaur researchers to find ways to get the
community information into the popular literature.  I found that Dale
Russell's book was the most useful for that but really only scratched the
surface.  Bakker's book had some information, but again not enough.
It seems that we really only have a hazy view of the situation for the late
K, and maybe the late J.  I would really like to see information in
student-digestible form that details not just the dinos, but the other
animals (other reptiles, mammalians, birds where applicable, amphibians,
PLANT COMMUNITIES, etc.) for several time periods.  Surely the Morrison
has been studied in enough detail to be able to detail some of this stuff.
Jim what about your stuff from the reservoir area in Texas?
Why not better descriptions of the Judith River, the Hell Creek, and
the flaming cliffs areas?

Names are great, but adults really want to know about more complex
relationships!  Let'a try to give it to them, eh?

Bonnie A. Blackwell,                            bonn@qcvaxa.acc.qc.edu
Dept of Geology,                                off: (718) 997-3332
Queens College, City University of New York,    fax: (718) 997-3349
Dept of Earth \& Environmental Sciences,        fax: (718) 997-3513
The Graduate Center, CUNY,                      messages: (718) 997-3300
Flushing, NY 11367-1597