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Re: Dinosaurs and Their Environs
>How much of a myth is the popular dinosaur/volcano association? Nine out
>of ten lay people probably think that every dinosaur had a volcano in his
>backyard, which leads to nine out of ten children including a volcano in
>every dinosaur crayon drawing they make. (My guess is that the original
>"One Million Years B.C." is responsible for this misconception. May also
>explain why so many people think that dinosaurs and cave people were
>contemporaries, or that Apatosaurus and Tyrannosaurus were.)
>----- Amado Narvaez
I suspect that the tendency to include volcanoes in dino illustrations goes
back to the "when the earth was young" idea that everything that happened in
the past happened at the same time. Therefore if there were a lot of
volcanoes erupting early in earth's history then they must have been all
over the place when dinosaurs lived because they were early in earth's
history too, right?
This fallacy also shows up in almost every "lost world" story, in which
prehistoric creatures seem to hasve survived from almost every past age.
You can see this most recently in James Gurney's new Dinotopia book, which
not only shows dinosaurs but all sorts of Palaeozoic marine creatures
including things from the Burgess Shale, all happily coexisting.
It can't hurt to give students an idea of the scale of earth's history -
teach them not only how long ago things happened but how vastly far apart in
time some of these events were from each other. Thus the period of the
greatest vulcanism in earths history happened so long ago that by comparison
the dinosaurs died out just last week.
Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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