Dino Do-Over | Science | Smithsonian
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Dino Do-Over

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Every year, droves of high school biology teachers pop Jurassic Park into a DVD player and let their students watch it, ostensibly to draw out fact from fiction (ie. "they do move in herds!"). These are the "cool" teachers, but mostly the lazy ones -- one step up from that particular hybrid of pre-algebra-slash-coach. But now it seems those teachers might have to actually teach some things that even the talented Jeff Goldblum and Steven Spielberg are unable to convey to America's youth. Namely, some folks at Montana State University, in a paper appearing in Proceedings of Royal Society B (which is better than Royal Society C but not quite as glorious as Royal Society A), wrote about the discovery of dinosaurs underground.  No big deal, you say? Well, these dinosaurs were underground even when they were alive; they were burrowers, digging tunnels six and a half feet long and two and a half feet wide, about the size of the caves dug by hyenas and puffins (the hyenas and puffins, obviously, don't dig the tunnels together). The burrowers may have been among the last dinos to die off, which totally makes my father's homemade bomb shelter seem a little less insane now. New research papers aside, dinosaurs are changing. One of only six apatosaurus skeletons in the world is being dismantled at the University of Wyoming Geological Museum so it can be reassembled now that we know more than just "hip bone connected to the leg bone," etc. Although there still might be some difficulty with the weird new crocodile dino-mermaid hybrid discovered in Oregon. Luckily for slack teachers, there is both a Jurassic Park II and a Jurassic Park III. And, really, the students should absorb the entire established oeuvre before moving onto these newer matters. Even if a full week of class must be sacrificed.
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