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RE: Tyrannosaurus posture in students' art

That's interesting. Thanks for sharing.

~Tiffany Miller Russell

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of Ben 
Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2013 7:31 PM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Tyrannosaurus posture in students' art

From: Ben Creisler

The official paper about T. rex posture misconceptions in popular
culture is out:

Robert M. Ross, Don Duggan-Haas, and Warren D. Allmon (2013)
The Posture of Tyrannosaurus rex: Why Do Student Views Lag Behind the Science?
Journal of Geoscience Education  61(1): 145-160
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5408/11-259.1

Today's students were born well after the dramatic scientific
reinterpretations of theropod dinosaur stance and metabolism of the
late 1960s and early 1970s. Yet, if asked to draw a picture of
Tyrannosaurus rex, most of these students will likely draw an animal
with an upright, tail-dragging posture, remarkably like the original
1905 description of this famous dinosaur. We documented this
phenomenon by asking college (n = 111) and elementary to middle school
students (n = 143) to draw pictures of T. rex. On each drawing, we
measured the angle of the spine from a horizontal surface. An average
angle of 50-60° was found in drawings from all ages, which is within
about 5° of the 1905 posture at 57°. This is in striking contrast to
images created by modern dinosaur scientists, which average between 0
and 10°. In an effort to explain this pattern, we measured T. rex
images in a wide variety of popular books, most of them for children,
published from the 1940s to today. Since 1970, a gradually increasing
proportion has represented T. rex with a more horizontal back (lower
tail angle). Thus, popular books, while slow to change, cannot
entirely account for this pattern. The erect T. rex stance continues,
however, to dominate other areas of popular experience, such as toys
and cartoons, which most American children encounter early in life. We
hypothesize that older-style images long embedded in pop culture could
lead to cultural inertia, in which outdated scientific ideas are
maintained in the public consciousness long after scientists have
abandoned them.