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RE: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs

Proposition:  if people want to see realistic theropod behavior, all they
need to do is imagine a 35-foot-tall carnivorous bird.  Discuss.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Craven, David
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 6:22 AM
To: christian@darkin.demon.co.uk; '-Dinosaur Mailing List-'
Subject: RE: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs

The problem is, people don't necessarily want to see realistic behaviour.
They want to see the behaviour they expect.

So even if all the dinosaurs look "monstrous" and are of the same standard,
it's not going to be the animals behaving realistically they want, it's
going to be the animals behaving monstrously!

I'll guarantee that for many, the best bit of the Killer Dinos programme
will have been the steel T.rex eating the Mini. Just because it is visually
engaging and "cool".

A programme showing dinosaurs engaged in social behaviour, parenting
behaviour, engaging peacefully will always come second to one that shows the
animals tearing lumps out of each other, realistically or not.

David Craven

-----Original Message-----
From: Christian Darkin [mailto:christian@darkin.demon.co.uk] 
Sent: 31 August 2005 09:48
To: '-Dinosaur Mailing List-'
Subject: RE: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs

But this is basic Darwin.  There's a competition between T.Rex's built
for the media, and it's not a competition between models and scientific
reality.  What's operating here is a natural selection where viewers are
food, and that favours the more monstrous whether you're looking at
T.rex or Gerry Springer.

The only thing that will change that is an audience which values
intelligence and accuracy above sensationalism....  and rather oddly, it
occurs to me that this is exactly what the current dinosaur programmes
are encouraging - people are becoming more educated because it's great
fun watching T.Rex attacking a Triceratops, and once the dinosaurs in
competing shows are of roughly equal monstrousness, the public idea of
what's believable ought to shift towards what behaviours make sense
rather than what the monster looks like (as it has in the
palaeontologist community over the last 100 years).

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