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Re: Comprehensive list of popular dinosaur misconceptions (warning: sarcasm)

-- On Mon, 8/3/09, stearns5@cox.net <stearns5@cox.net> wrote:

> Hello, fellow list members. As sort
> of a follow-up to my 2006 post about
> popular dinosaur misconceptions, I have prepared an even
> more extensive
> look into what the average person "knows" about dinosaurs.
> Feel free to add
> things and comment on it, or to either laugh or cry
> depending on your
> reaction.
> 1.ÂÂÂ All dinosaurs lived at the same time.

Well, not exactly, but it was a _really_ long time ago, so what's the diff?
> 2.ÂÂÂ Dinosaurs mostly lived in palm
> tree-filled jungles with a lot of swamps
> and the occasional lava-spewing volcano.

Well, yeah, everybody knows that. Lots of ferns, too.

> 3.ÂÂÂ Plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and other
> marine reptiles were dinosaurs.

Well if dinosaurs are reptiles, then it follows that marine reptiles are 
dinosaurs. Besides, it was really a long time ago, right?

> 4.ÂÂÂ Dimetrodon was a dinosaur.


> 5.ÂÂÂ Prehistoric mammals were dinosaurs.

No, but armadillo's are descended from dinosaurs.

> 6.ÂÂÂ Pterosaurs were dinosaurs.
> 7.ÂÂÂ Pterosaurs were birds.
> 8.ÂÂÂ Pterosaurs were the ancestors of
> birds.
> 9.ÂÂÂ Birds are not dinosaurs, even if they
> are descended from them. (What, do
> they magically stop being dinosaurs at some point?)

Sure! Just humans "magically" stopped being "monkeys"...

> 10.ÂÂÂ Dinosaurs and âcavemenâ lived at
> the same time.

See #1.

> 11.ÂÂÂ Dinosaurs and Ice Age mammals lived
> at the same time.

See #1.

> 12.ÂÂÂ _Carcharodon megalodon_ lived at the
> same time as the dinosaurs.

See #1.

> 13.ÂÂÂ Oil consists of dinosaur remains.

What, you never saw a BP sign back in the 80's?

> 14.ÂÂÂ Dinosaurs were preserved in the La
> Brea tar pits.
> 15.ÂÂÂ Dinosaurs commonly died in tar pits.
> 16.ÂÂÂ Sites that preserve several dinosaur
> skeletons are usually the result
> of a cataclysmic volcanic eruption/flood/pit full of
> quicksand/etc.
> 17.ÂÂÂ The Ice Age killed the dinosaurs.
> 18.ÂÂÂ
eâ, with dragging tails.

Actually, it was the movie-makers that got Godzilla wrong, not vice versa.

> 19.ÂÂÂ Sauropods were semiaquatic.

Define "semiaquatic". Why would a sauropod avoid a swamp? When your water 
buffalo gets stuck, you go get an elephant to pull him out. If your elephant 
gets stuck, a sauropod would come in very handy. And the bigger the better. But 
I digress momentarily into seriousness. Sorry about that.

> 20.ÂÂÂ Brontosaurus is a valid name. (Why is
> this a misconception?
> Brontosaurus was already invalid in 1950-1960 when most
> people heard about
> it. Granted, the name change was published in a really
> obscure paper, but
> surely other papers mentioned Apatosaurus since then and
> the curators at
> the museums labeling their skeletons "brontosaurus" should
> have been aware
> of the error. Just why did it take until 1974 for the
> information to get
> out?)

Because it was a really cool name that was in a lot of children's books. And 
see #1...

> 21.ÂÂÂ Brontosaurus was renamed Apatosaurus
> because it had been reconstructed
> with the wrong type of skull. (in actuality, this mistake
> wouldnât have
> made the name invalid!)
> 22.ÂÂÂ Brontosaurus didnât exist.

This is a long list. I have run out of gas. But I tried...

> 23.ÂÂÂ Brontosaurus was renamed
> Brachiosaurus.
> 24.ÂÂÂ Brachiosaurus didnât exist.
> 25.ÂÂÂÂÂEvery sauropod is a
> Brontosaurus.
> 26.ÂÂÂ Every theropod over 30 feet long is a
> Tyrannosaurus rex.
> 27.ÂÂÂ Every theropod between 8 and 30 feet
> long is a Velociraptor.
> 28.ÂÂÂ Every theropod less than 8 feet long,
> including Velociraptor, is a
> âcompyâ.
> 29.ÂÂÂ Every large bipedal dinosaur is a
> Tyrannosaurus rex.
> 30.ÂÂÂ Every chasmosaurine is a
> Triceratops.
> 31.ÂÂÂ Every stegosaur is a Stegosaurus.
> 32.ÂÂÂ Velociraptor was six feet tall or
> more.
> 33.ÂÂÂ Velociraptor did not have feathers.
> 34.ÂÂÂ Velociraptor was as intelligent as
> modern dolphins or chimps.
> 35.ÂÂÂ Velociraptor i

> no evidence for it has been found for Velociraptor.)
> 36.ÂÂÂ Velociraptor never existed, it was
> made up for Jurassic Park.
> 37.ÂÂÂ Tyrannosaurus had poor eyesight.
> 38.ÂÂÂ Tyrannosaurus could not hunt living
> prey.
> 39.ÂÂÂ Dilophosaurus was venomous.
> 40.ÂÂÂ Dilophosaurus had a neck frill.
> 41.ÂÂÂ Dilophosaurus was half its actual
> size.
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