Art or science?

4 10 2012

National Geographic is promoting the “new fanged dwarf dinosaur”.
Photo credit: National Geographic

The new “parrot-porcupine” being heralded as the latest in dinosaur discoveries is definitely an eye-catcher.  With a small beak-like nose, a collection of long quills and frighteningly sharp fangs, this small but unusual dino is truly a work of art. But is that all it is: art?

Truth or imagination?

How much creative license should scientists be allowed to take? Usually paleontologists find only bones or even fragments of bones. Rarely is a whole skeleton of some long forgotten beast found. And yet, detailed and colourful images of dinosaurs and other extinct creatures cover the pages of children’s stories and textbooks. Sure it makes for a beautiful illustration and fun science but what about truth?

The video shown on National Geographic website makes this point clear. They had to add a lot to this little critter’s skull in order to come up with the fearsome image they are projecting.

Lucy, the ape-woman

Lucy exhibit at Kentucky creation museum: same skull, different faces!
Photo credit: AiG

The Creation Museum  in Kentucky has a whole exhibit highlighting “Lucy” that explains how simple changes to skin colour, hair and expression can create a completely different image, sometimes a different species. It is important to always be critical of every “new” discovery and to look foremost at the facts. Be sure not to be swept away in the intrigue and excitement and in the process, forget to think about the other side.




One response

8 10 2012

They picture definitely makes the “parrot-porcupine” look scarier than it might have looked.

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