Turns out, we know a lot about dinosaurs and it's not just from their bones.

Well, when I say "we," I mean "paleontologists." Another thing I learned here is how hostile regular people are to updating our mental ideas of dinosaurs. Which is interesting in a different way: sociological rather than paleontological.

Well, I say "learned" but I kinda knew that. I've been saying for years that millennials clearly had our formative science education experiences around fifth grade because way too many of us are stuck at that level, stubbornly refusing to accept that Pluto isn't a planet and dinosaurs have feathers.

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@ljwrites Yeah, I guess they're pretty early for feathers. According to that tumblr post we know what 90% of its skin was like though, that's pretty cool!

@bright_helpings I'm 52. There is So Much of my science knowledge that is flat wrong

Even things I learned in undergrad

(And in my Ph.D. program, but that was in a field now infamous for doing science wrong in that era, so that's a bit different.)

@bright_helpings the Pluto stuff grinds my gears so much because it is loudest from “we love science” folks

@platypus ugh I had a whole rant in my blog at the height of their popularity about how much I fucking hate those "I fucking love science." They don't love science, they have a fetish for random contextless "facts" and feeling smug because they think this makes them better than everyone else.

@bright_helpings I'm not sure it's a strictly generational problem - it's just that this kind of stuff doesn't get taught in school and it can take a very long time for scientific findings to "leak out" into popular consciousness, largely dependent on media coverage/representation. Unless you're an academic or enthusiast - why *would* you know?

- sincerely, spider person

@nev @bright_helpings I do think there's a social aspect to it tho. Like, dinos as bigg ass short armed lizards or Pluto as the smallest planetling is part of culture. When these things change, a part of our culture---jokes, stories, movies etc---gets somewhat invalidated. So I do get why people sometimes get emotional over it. Even if you teach it well in school, one has memories with this sort of information, and that's kinda hard to undo.

@cadadr This is exactly the point I wanted to make, thanks for doing it better than I could. :)

@MmeLibertine it makes me so happy. I knew some of the stuff about pigment from some volunteering I did at a science museum a few years ago. It's great how much we can know.

@bright_helpings it really is. I love reading this kind of thing from people who really know their shit. how exciting!!

@bright_helpings @earthtopus this reminds me of people whose knowledge of gender stays stuck in 5th grade

@t54r4n1 @bright_helpings @earthtopus

Whether or not Pluto is a planet is a social problem. Taxonomies are not facts, they're just ways of grouping things.

Whether or not dinosaurs had feathers is a fact. its a verifiable phenomenon, with viewable evidence. One could argue that the definitions we've invented for scales and feathers are social (they are) but which of these a T Rex had is a thing we can know with some accuracy.

The boundaries of taxonomies are social. The fossil remains of animals are physical.

@celesteh @t54r4n1 @bright_helpings of course T-Rex didn't have feathers, since all the members of the band were mammals

@t54r4n1 I did think about making a snarky comment about TERFs and their "it's just Gender 101!" shit (to which my answer is "take. more. classes. then)...

@bright_helpings i hesitate to say it's a universal but it's certainly widespread that people in general don't like updating their mental models of ... anything.

@bright_helpings holy shit

I did not know that we know approximately how a T-Rex sounded, nor that we definitively know they lived in family groups and took care of each other.

Nor that we've found feathered dinosaurs in amber.

(PS anyone got a recording of what we think T-Rexes sounded like? How much like a giant turkey is it?)

@WizardOfDocs I had to look this up!

Scientists think dinosaurs made "closed-mouth vocalizations," "producing something comparable to a low-pitched swooshing, growling, or cooing sound. These closed-mouth vocalizations differ substantially from open-mouth vocalizations like bird calls. Think of closed-mouth vocalizations as being lower and more percussive, as opposed to bird calls."

So more like crocodiles than turkeys I guess?!

@bright_helpings In related news, people are still salty about Pluto not being a planet.

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