STL Science Center

STL Science Center

15 January 2012

Archaeopteryx for Children

I have to echo Matthew Martyniuk in criticizing the way Archaeopteryx is portrayed in popular content. The reason I have to raise my voice today is because, in searching for content for children like I do every Sunday, I could only find a very very small amount of scientifically accurate illustration to share with children. Most of those were actually connected to sites that were more scientific, and thus not of great use to children. Unfortunately, that means I have to share some inaccurate drawings with my young audience or share nothing at all. I'm not willing to share nothing at all with young inquisitive minds, so, to start, take a nice look at KidsDinos today. KidsDinos uses an image that is not terrible, but the Archaeopteryx on the page is pretty naked from the waist down. He's missing all the feathers from the belly down except some pennaceous, or contour, feathers. Anyhow, let's get on to the coloring pages. Now, all of these pictures are so-so to not good. I tried to weed out all of the absolutely terrible pages, but they do have a bad habit of creeping up, so I apologize for that in advance:

This first on can be colored online or printed, so I'm offering a link to it instead of showing the picture. This image looks like the one on KidsDinos.

The second one has a similar image issue as the last one and prints in a PDF from About.

This last one suffers from extra wing feathers and naked legs as well, a little more error than the other three. The other three have a small gap between wing and body, which is accurate, this one does not, which makes it a bit more inaccurate:

Also, there's a Dinosaur Train episode with Arlene Archaeopteryx. Unfortunately the episode itself shows her feathers coming off of her wrist and has those pesky tertiary feathers, the feathers between the body and wing that Archaeopteryx does not actually have. It's a good episode though, despite the little inaccuracies, so enjoy it if you have Netflix or if you get lucky and it lands on TV again.

Oh yes, there's also this very inaccurate song from another PBS show from Colorado called Big Green Rabbit. It's fun, but it's not anywhere near perfect.

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