An article over at the Cornell Chronicle looks into the issue of "cultural inertia" in our understanding of dinosaurs. When asked to draw a T. rex, perhaps the most well-known (in popular culture) of all dinosaurs, both young children and college students will draw an upright, small-armed, tail-dragging creature that looks like a slimmed-down Barney or a less-plasticky Rex from Toy Story.
But in fact, we've known for decades that the T. rex did not stand upright, but that its posture was much more horizontal. Even in Jurassic Park, the T. rex was portrayed reasonably in line with current scientific understanding of the animal.
And yet our perception of the dinosaur is still stuck, similar to what was thought of it in the early 20th century, well before the "dinosaur boom" of the 1960s and '70s. Cornell suggests that this is due to improper imprinting--Toy Story and Barney both get to kids early, leaving their ingrained understanding of dinosaurs incorrect. Read more over at Cornell.
Note the other skeleton in the background. Lol
I would also posit that the upright t-rex is a more anthropomorphic stance, I would bet (hypothesize) the you'd find a similar level of anthropomorphizing in representations of a lot of animals, though in different ways.
In a seperate note, I'd imagine the impact of Godzilla's upright posture is no small factor, though perhaps less in later generations.
Um, why is it so important that the average person know the proper posture of a T-Rex?
Isn't it enough that they even know which dinosaur you are talking about? T-Rex is probably the only dino they can name.
There is sadly SO little actual facts in this type of science. There is so little that wasn't based off of someone else's ideological guessing & wishing.
If we started over with a room full of strictly fact-only scientists, I'm afraid at the end of the day we could be left with little more than a pile of bones.
Be more specific. Do you want me to draw it walking, searching for prey, plucking a monkey out of a tree, chasing a jeep? I know what it looks like, I just need to know what it's doing.
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@ Killer T,
Don't underestimate kids, when ours were between 4 and 8 there was this dinosaur craze. They and their friends knew at least a dozen, but more likely two dozen. And they had the plastic toys to match the names.
I'm still not convinced just looking at that image. I'd need to see some physics to explain how that massive head is balanced. The tail must be much heavier and longer than it appears in the image ... either that or it would have used a fair amount of muscle just to balance. Besides if some of these dinosaurs did stand up like depicted in the skeletons in the background (and as all birds do), I agree it isn't important if we have the wrong concept about T-Rex. If no dinosaurs stood up, then I could understand a concern.
Cats and squirrels are cuter when they stand up on two legs and look around. Clearly this is the same reason why kids continue to draw the T-rex standing up. It's cuter.
@far out man.
The top image is false is essentially the statement being made. The T-Rex was more of a horizontal creature then a vertical one. The majority of its weight was on its hind side Abdomen \ legs \ tails. And its head was angled forward. The tail acted as a count balance to give its horizontal movement. The biggest advantage of course is - you decrease wind resistance the more horizontal the less air that will push against the surface area against movement. Which gave it an advantage in speed when chasing down prey.
Damn you Barney!! This is why America is losing to the Chinese in edufication.
On the side of young children, who really cares. Your going to fault someone who draws a house made of pizza for drawing an anatomically inaccurate dinosaur? Seriously?
On the college student side, If its a paleontology student, for shame. If its a Cryptozoolgist, then they are right, you just havent discovered the right subspecies yet. and if its any other major, again, who cares......
This article is pointless, you may as well laugh at someone who has never studied the history of cryptography for failing to properly draw a scytale from memory.
This article is not actually pointless, it is informing us of how pedantic the scientists are. Not only are they pedantic, but they are doing so on a topic that is unverifiable; short of growing an actual T-rex and watching it walk around.
haha @pixelstuff. I admit I had to look up Pedantic.
Definition: punctilious, donnish, or priggish. That helped! :)
Exactly. What we have for facts about dinosaurs is mostly just a pile of bones.
That and a lot of people making crap up to get more research grants.
You guys crack me up! Our knowledge about T-rex is quite a bit more than "ideological guesses". http://books.google.com/books?id=A6VQDYNkDUYC&pg=PA196&lpg=PA196&dq=t+rex+walked+horizontally&source=bl&ots=3tiflEKjhC&sig=6cJW5QI81q0wkCsT5fE41g-0xGM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XQUZUbvSDo7Y9ASzqoHoCw&ved=0CFMQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=t%20rex%20walked%20horizontally&f=false
That's what's wrong with you folks. You think science is just a guessing game. "Climate change is just a guess cause it's getting warmer. Evolution is just a guess cause they found some monkey-man bones." If science were the inexact discipline all of the deniers think it is, then NONE of our technologies would work. Cell phones, nuclear energy, and many others of the vast majority of our advancements all rely on science you think is just a "guess". Pathetic!
1. Barney is a dude in a suit, so he has human posture.
2. Which is easier/cheaper to make? A balancing horizontal stance T-rex or one that stands up straight?
It's not a conspiracy.
@syfyguy You seem to hate guessers too, I think we may agree on more than you think.
My pet peeve isn't with science at all, science is awesome when built upon unshakable facts.
Your cell phone is a great example. Look at cell phones or microchips, and how many scientific patents were built, one upon another, to produce these amazing creations.
1) Science hates the unknown so great theories and wild speculations are produced to fill the voids. That's the way it should be. We are curious human beings and strive to discover the unknown.
2) Sciences that deal with past events struggle because truth won't or can't be discovered in their lifetime, if ever. Space, earth, and the history sciences are more susceptible to impasses of the unknown.
3) When provable facts aren't available, we skip over the impasse and fill in the gaps with the most likely theory which corresponds to their world view, thus allowing our journey to continue unimpeded.
In your lifetime, how many times have you heard an article state... "Everything science thought they knew about ______ is now being rethought because of this new discovery."
I am amazed at what science can discover about cavemen through their pits and tools. But when it comes to trusting science to realistically portray cavemen, my money is on the Geico.
before I looked at the bank draft saying $9300, I have faith ...that...my best friend realy bringing home money in their spare time at their laptop.. there aunt started doing this for only about 17 months and resently took care of the mortgage on there mini mansion and got a great Smart ForTwo. this is where I went,