STL Science Center

STL Science Center

25 June 2015

Beloved Toothless Wings

As many know, Pteranodon means "toothless wing" and, as we can see from the fossils, the beak is most definitely without teeth. That has little to do with the fact that so many people love Pteranodon. It is popular enough to have been a main character/creature of the novel and to have featured somewhere on screen in each movie; those mentions may just be as symbols or words, but not every genus has been in every movie. Regardless of its presence in the park, Pteranodon has made its mark in every other dinosaur market, including video games (the unforgettable divebombing in the Sega Genesis game immediately comes to mind), and kids books, documentaries, television, and even popular movies. The real problem with all of this popularity is that the general public, it appears, still does not understand these animals at all. In the post-Jurassic World releases the media, almost as a whole and including reviewers that claim to be dinosaur enthusiasts are still calling Pteranodon and all other pterosaurs birds and dinosaurs interchangeably. It becomes, rather quickly, a nerd-rant, but the fact that this basic premise of pterosaur/Pteranodon biology has been lost on journalists is frustrating and confusing at the same time. Everyone ought to take a moment today to explain to someone that Pteranodon is not a bird or a dinosaur. It will be worth it, and it will make for a happy Pteranodon. Far happier than this one:

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