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Poor Quality of Some Dinosaur Themed Merchandise - Parents Beware!

February 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 125

Misleading Information Associated with Dinosaur Themed Toys and Books

One of the saddest sights for dedicated teachers and palaeontology enthusiasts is to see inaccurate T. rex, Stegosaurs, Triceratops and Brachiosaurus etc. themed merchandise. It is depressing to recall just how many of the prehistoric animal influenced toys, games, books and other products that we come across contain information that at best can be misleading, or at worst entirely wrong. This can cause problems for teachers and home educators as they try to enthuse the children in their care with a love and appreciation of science and mathematics.

Trade Shows Highlight the Extent of the Problem

A recent visit to a trade show in the UK only served to highlight this problem once again. The Dinosauria and other creatures preserved in the fossil record, animals such as the marine reptiles and the Pterosaurs are universally popular with children. Teachers and home educators use such creatures to inspire them to create a teaching topic, helping to motivate young people to learn more about general science, mathematics and history. We might be far from perfect. Many palaeontologists for instance, tend not to be too pedantic over binomial conventions and other such matters, but when they come across products on sale to the public which purport to have some educational value, and facts/statements they contain are wrong - it makes scientists very upset.

Company's are all too eager to exploit the public's interest and fascination with long extinct animals. Many firms take great care in how they go about producing merchandise, facts are checked and re-checked, and experts are appointed to oversee the development work, but we encounter examples all the time when perhaps through ignorance or perhaps just because of incompetence information about prehistoric animals is provided that is just incorrect.

For example, the extent of this problem was highlighted during a visit to a trade show recently. Amongst the many hundreds of exhibitors there were a few stands that had dinosaur themed products and merchandise on display. A gift card manufacturer was launching a range of new cards which featured drawings of animals from prehistory. One of the cards featured T. rex. Like many businesses, this particular firm had attempted to provide some information about this famous Theropod on the back of the gift card. The attempts have to be commended, helping to provide information, to educate, is important. However, the brief paragraph of information they had provided on the "King of the Tyrant Lizards" contained a number of inaccuracies.

Did T. rex Live Fifty-Eight Million Years Ago?

Every young, budding palaeontologist knows that the Dinosauria died out approximately sixty-five million years ago. The information on the back of the gift card stated that Tyrannosaurus rex existed around fifty-eight million years ago. The fossil record suggests that this is completely inaccurate.

Sadly, such mistakes are not uncommon, one of these days palaeontologists will go through their data files and produce a top ten of prehistoric animal themed merchandise blunders, but for the moment we will provide a couple of other examples from our recent researches.

Archaeopteryx may be one of the world's most famous prehistoric creatures. Fossils of this creature with reptilian and avian traits from Upper Jurassic strata have intrigued scientists for over one hundred and fifty years. This "early bird" is the subject of intense research even today, but on numerous occasions scientists, palaeontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts have encountered products that have got the spelling of this famous creature from the fossil record wrong. Letters are missed or even added - such a shame, especially when firms are trying to add credibility to their various products by attempting to provide some information about the prehistoric animals they depict.

Products based around flying reptiles (Pterosaurs) are also a happy hunting ground for those of us who spot these "bloopers". We are going to have to think of a better term to describe such mistakes on dinosaur toys and other items. At the same trade show, a product was spotted which depicted a Pterodactyl. There is not the space available in this article to go into the issue surrounding the use of the word "Pterodactyl", it is treacherous ground for the uninitiated when it comes to providing information, however, the picture of the flying reptile was no Pterodactylus, more like a member of the family Pteranodontidae, except that this creature had some very prominent teeth in its jaws. If the objective was to produce an image of a Pteranodon, something like Pteranodon longiceps, then we think this particular drawing left a lot to be desired.

Whether it is duck-bills (Hadrosaurs) with their names spelt incorrectly, members of the Tyrannosaur family from the Late Cretaceous with four-fingered hands or indeed a picture of a prehistoric animal in a book with the wrong annotation attached to it, all these mistakes and inaccuracies can be avoided.

Children with a Passion for Extinct Animals

Many children have a passion for dinosaurs, their enthusiasm for all things prehistoric can provide a platform for them to go on to have a life-long interest in the natural world and science. It is such a shame that there seems to be an increasing amount of inaccurate dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed merchandise available. Some firms seem only too willing to exploit this interest, many palaeontologists and teachers do their very best to provide support and to help stem the tide.ÂIt can be very challenging for even the most dedicated educationalist to try to motivate young people to take an interest in science.ÂPoor quality teaching resources that contain inaccuracies do not help.ÂA suggestion for any home educator thinking of taking up fossils as a teaching topic, might be for them to exploit this situation, but challenging their young charges to try to find the errors and to discuss what is wrong and how best to go about correcting them.ÂThis exercise is likely to encourage debate and positive two-wayÂcommunication on a science themed subject.ÂAs an extension, students can be tasked with making the corrections or even designing their own educational aids based around the lesson plan and scheme of work.ÂThey too, might become accustomed to spotting the "bloopers" as they tour round the toy store or visit the shopping mall.

Everything Dinosaur is a company run by parents, teachers and real dinosaur experts. It specialises in developing educational dinosaur toys, models, clothing and games and strives to help young people learn more about science through their fascination with prehistoric animals. Many of the items featured on the Everything Dinosaur website have been designed and tested by the teachers and real dinosaur experts in the company.

To learn more about the products and services we offer at Everything Dinosaur click on our website links.

Our aim is to help young people learn more about Earth sciences through their fascination with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Team members are happy to provide advice and support supplying free quizzes, drawing materials, puzzles, games even recipes for dinosaur themed biscuits and birthday cakes. With something like 600 products on line including dinosaur party supplies, Everything Dinosaur has built up a strong reputation assisting parents, guardians and fellow teachers, helping young people to learn more about science through creative play.

Source: EzineArticles
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