Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Time for Media to Call Birds What They Are...DINOSAURS!

Hello Dear Readers!

I've been playing catch-up after this summer's field work: organizing photos, email, restarting projects that had to be paused for field work, updating the CV, and - when there is time - getting our poor house in order after an almost three month absence!

I always have high hopes for humanity on returning from the field, and one of those hopes is that we'll have seen the last of lazy science communication by the mega-platforms (Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet). I always think "Maybe, just maybe, they'll get it. They'll get that conscientious science communication is just as engaging, "grabbing", and simple as the amateur-hour male bovine fecal material we've seen with Shark Week, any monster hunting show, and mermaids.

This time Discovery Channel hit close to home with paleontology, and they did it by just lazily slapping "dinosaur" on a 2013 program focusing on marine reptiles....and they've done it many times. Brian Switek gives a great write up here. Any seven year old could tell you that marine reptiles aren't dinosaurs (and perhaps the large networks should think of consulting with their local primary schools before stamping "dinosaur" on anything that's a fossil), so I am not sure why these highly unprofessional mistakes keep happening.

As frustration is my muse, I decided to have a bit of fun with telling people what they actually can call a dinosaur: BIRDS.

Any and all birds that ever were, that ever are, and ever will be, are dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are not extinct, but visit our feeders and poop on our cars and patios daily.

I had fun with this on Twitter, and thanks to Storify I was able to collect all of the fun I and others had at rebranding birds as modern-day dinosaurs.

Here's the link to "We Don't Have to Call Everything A Dinosaur!"

Enjoy, and feel free to rebrand your favorite feathered friends as the dinosaurs they are! It's fun and scientifically accurate!


  1. You should take a look at this kid's book from the AMNH if you get a chance! It's very useful for it's target age, and the rhyming is pretty fun.

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