The Loh Down On Science

Why Barney is bad for our kids

Newsflash! Barney the Dinosaur is not anatomically accurate.
 
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Picture a T-Rex.  Do you see a dinosaur walking upright? Head high, tail dragging?

Surprise! Its actual posture was pretty horizontal! Its torso almost paralleled the ground, its tail extended straight out.

Paleontologists at Cornell University say that wrong, vertical image stems from early T-rex discoveries. Scientists assumed it stood tall. They set up museum displays that way.

Gradually, though, scientists deduced T-rex’s actual posture. And by the 1990s, most museums and textbooks had updated their depictions.

But has the public followed? To find out, the Cornell team asked children, teens, and collegiate nonscience majors to draw T-rexes.

Result? Only about a third drew ol’ T-bone correctly! The rest drew it standing up!

The researchers speculate that the incorrect upright image sticks because of popular culture. Think: Childrens’ books, pajamas, and Barney!

So, yes, the purple one lies about T-Rex posture.  But not about the fact that he loves us!  That’s real.

 

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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