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Re: What's in a Name?
In reply to Brian Franczak:
I did not mean to imply that paleontologists and teachers and docents, etc.
should embrace the use of raptor as a synonym for dromeosaurs. I feel that if
the AUDIENCE calls them raptors, then you should use that as a hook to give
them the right information. My idea of 'letting you in on a secret' is to use
it to let people know that there is more to the subject than most people know,
and that science in general is a way of learning as much as possible about a
given subject. If people think that you have given them something that they
find interesting about the science, maybe they will find the pursuit of that
science intriguing and interesting. Thereby, hopefully inspiring them to
study and learn....
Also, I don't think that TV/Movies (and let's not forget popular books)
conspire against the public by withholding information. I agree that most of
the mistakes made are made out of laziness. However, I think most people,
even very young children, know that TV and Movies, etc. cannot tell them the
whole story. There are other real world constraints that everyone quickly
learns to some extent. (Time being a major one that TV and films share...).
In the unfortunate scenario you describe, poor Timmy at least got one book
about dinosaurs - in which (hopefully) Don Lessem tells you that the title was
just to get you to buy the book, learn the real name of the dinosaurs, then go
out and find other dinosaur books about dromeosaurs, velociraptors,
deinonychus, etc. He also got a book about birds of prey - which he might
find very interesting, and decide to be an ornithologist instead of a
I wish that more people did know the correct names of dinosaurs, and that
Timmy and his mother would know to look for "Those Fascinating Dromeosaurs:
Don't Call Them Raptors!" by Brian or myself or someone else.....