Open the door, get on the floor

Tom’s post reminded me of another childhood notion that was altered by a shift in scientific thinking.

In the picture books of our youth, yer bipedal dinosaur varieties walked upright with their tails dragging along the ground. Films helped to cement the image, in the public’s mind, of awkward lumbering beasts that could easily be outrun by a nippy, historically out-of-place caveman.

Not for the first time, paleontologists revised their ideas. Along came the 90s and Tyrannosaurus had been down the gym. He now bent forward and held his tail off the ground. Nu-T-Rex looked agile and capable of getting a wriggle on (although it’s still unlikely one could outpace Jeff Goldblum in a jeep). The quadrupeds were given a make-over as well and even completely fictional Saurians were buffed up.

Of course, this could all have been a bit of flim-flammery, on the part of Spielberg, to get a decent car-chase into his dinosaur film. Come to think of it, I’d never heard of velociraptors before 1992.