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RE: Dinosaur Art & Q's



Tom Mitchell said:

>Dear Mike and GOBI 2010:  You're both right.  Dinosaurs get a lot of play in
>the press, out of all proportion to their practical or theoretical
>importance to science.  But they also get a lot of disrespect and
>condescension.  They are a metaphor for obsolescence, failure, stupidity,
>slowness, etc.  Makes you think, doesn't it?  Tom Mitchell

This last part really gets me worked up because I always remind people not
to use "dinosaur" as such a metaphor. Heck, it even landed me in the
papers, thanks to my letter to the editor in the Philippine Daily Inquirer
several years back. After which the columnist in question answered by
saying that "the opinions of a some scientists do not define scientific
definitions" or some such words. Arrgh! I wanted to teach *him* some
science. Anyway (at the risk of straying a bit off-topic), I don't think it
will ever disappear from the English language because it is now so
entrenched and because it is because of such "inappropriate" metaphors that
English has been enriched.

Anyway, in my web site
(http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/9020), I mention that I
won't put stuff about dino's because there's already a lot out already. So
instead I have FAQ's about pterosaurs and plesiosaurs, with more to come.

Somehow or the other, ordinary people seem to be underwhelmed whenever I
tell them that birds are dinosaurs. It's like, there's an initial rush of
surprise and shock, but afterwards, it settles back into normalcy. It's not
like as if they didn't know the full ramifications of what I just said:
dinosaurs are still alive, are still successful, are around us. And it
still isn't being taught or explained in high school biology, so most
students are left in the dark. Sigh. We are so behind here in my country
when it comes to paleontology education.