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Re: Discovery Channel's "Beasts in Your Back Yard"



Tracy L. Ford said:

"You know, I think a LOT of people are taking this a bit to literal. Sure in
Ottawa there are no Cretaceous deposits, but Ottawa DID have a Cretaceous
period! And YES, it did have Hadrosaurs!..."

    Good guess, seemingly, but are we 100% certain?

"...Just because they haven't been found in
the Ottawa area doesn't mean they were never THERE!"

    Of course, but even if likely, deducing that is not like knowing for
sure they were there.

 "Yes the Discovery channel has taken liberties in saying what animal lived
there, but I don't
have a problem with it if the animal they are saying lived in that area did
live in that time period of that continent."

    Remember, they are having one provide zip codes, per se, not states or
larger areas.  That leads to very specific impressions (and expectations)
concerning the area involved.  Indeed they have taken liberties, but aren't
those liberties unfair if not presented as, at best, reasonably informed
guesses, instead of as unqualified fact?

    It does not seem expecting too much to ask producers to trouble
themselves in providing an appropriate context or qualifiers for their
hopefully educated guesses (as contrasts with cases where there is evidence
of the dinosaurs) and not to present them as facts.

    On a closely related matter, I am glad that finance-poor paleontology is
getting some corporate (such a media) support of late, but worry a bit about
the kind of influence -- subtle or not so subtle-- that such support could
conceivably have, eventually if not immediately, upon the intellectual
integrity of scientists or even of institutions depending upon it.

    Climbing off my pulpit,
    Ray Stanford