STL Science Center

STL Science Center

29 June 2017

Making It Famous

Sometimes dinosaurs with very little material seem to be much more hyped than they deserve, but when the animal is as important to the evolutionary history of its line as Chaoyangsaurus is it is not much of a stretch of the imagination that the dinosaur deserves to be popularized in both the media and the professional paleontological community. The importance of the low-yield of material attributed to Chaoyangsaurus is not only in showing that our world hosted many different sizes of dinosaurs, but also in what is arguably the more relevant capacity of showing another link in the family history of ceratopsian dinosaurs and effectively enhancing our knowledge of their similarities and differences with their nearest cousins. This includes dinosaurs like Pachycephalosaurus. Though Chaoyangsaurus is a very distant relative, it certainly helps us fill in gaps in our knowledge. To that end, we have seen many attempts to understand the familial ties and to describe Chaoyangsaurus throughout this week that are impressive and have reached well into the professional, amateur, and general public arenas. There have not been cartoons or feature length movies, these arguably help the most to interest the general public, but there have been news stories and books like New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium. This book is a very technical tome of scientific presentations, but as a member of the general public, then an amateur, and now an in training member of the professional field, I can say that books like this generate a lot of interest in certain people around the world. Never underestimate someone that is keenly aware of what they want to learn and their ability to learn it in formal and informal settings; dinosaurs like Chaoyangsaurus that are less visible to the public than Tyrannosaurus but still are well known names with children (and it is, strangely and almost frighteningly) prove this mindset.

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