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Re: Layperson

As a layperson myself, I can understand why most people can't keep up with the 
latest and greatest information about dinosaurs.  Most of us are inundated 
with information about our work, our family, the general useful things we need 
in life.  I personally read about 25 (and that may be too low a count) 
magazines a month, and only a handful are dinosaur related (most of them are 
.75 inches [2 cm] thick computer mags). 

        I applaud those efforts to get the average person involved in dinosaur 
science, and wish there were more - at least more that were successful and 

        As an aside concerning Brontosaurus vs. Apatosaurus - while the general 
public has apparently only realized in within the last 10 years (and some VERY 
recently) the scientific community has discussed and 'fought' about it for 
decades.  I think that the majority opinion began to swing to Apatosaurus in 
the mid to late 1970's.  The first 'popular' entertainment that I know that 
used the correct name was a Doctor Who episode (John Pertwee as the Doctor) 
that apparently aired in the UK in 1974, but over here in the early 1980's 
(Called 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs' - the models of the dinosaurs were 
unfortunately too familiarly wrong).  

        Personally, while I like Apatosaurus, and realize the rules governing 
precedence over Brontosaurus, I have to agree to a certain extent with Stephen 
J. Gould who wrote that the name Brontosaurus is such a good name, an apt 
name, and it should be kept.  

        I know that the general public is usually flabbergasted when told that 
favorite giant herbivore {I know, I know, some people REALLY like 
Indracatherium}, is no longer called Brontosaurus.  Now, imagine their chagrin 
when they hear mutterings about T. rex really being Dynamosaurus!!!   
(Personally, I think T. rex should stay - I think whatever evidence there is 
about Dynamosaurus is scant).

        I think the general public has no clue about how science really works.  
taught in school that scientists get an idea, then they test it, then they 
publish it.  They don't realize the level of work involved with getting to the 
point where a hypothesis can be made, nor do they realize that part of science 
is that different people have different ideas that each feels is right.  This 
part confuses them.  They don't realize that the details are that important, 
and they don't understand how names and stories can change.  This is one the 
best things about science - and most people miss it.  The capacity for ideas, 
discussion (even heated), and for change is what makes science work.