Since kindergarten, our heads have been filled with fantastic pictures and stories about the great dinosaurs that have long been extinct. But like a lot of our childhood education, scientific information is often simplified and exaggerated by teachers, parents and the media. The case of the T- Rex is an exceptional example of how the media can create a stereotype based on incomplete and outdated information, which ends up asserting itself back in mainstream popular culture. Thus, a certain myth of the Tyrannosaurus Rex being a speedy eating machine, becomes a social “fact” based on fiction.
If someone asked a five or six year old boy what he thought the Tyrannosaurus rex looked like, he would probably draw an angry, large dinosaur with sharp teeth, small arms and long slim legs. If asked, the same boy would probably describe the T- Rex as the meanest, fastest scariest dinosaurs of all. While fact and fiction aren’t always separated for children, its interesting that today still as college students we would respond as the child did.
Having seen Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, it's obvious that children and college students aren’t the only ones who think of T-Rex as the fastest and meanest dinosaur of them all. Throughout the movie T-Rex is feared by the main characters not only because he is a carnivore, but because of his speed. But recent studies have confirmed that the belief that T- Rex could run as fast as say, a Ceolophysis could, is nothing more than a myth.
On March 2, 2002 Science News (The Weekly Newsmagazine of Science) ran an article by Sid Perkins, No Olympian: Analysis T. Rex ran slowly, if at all. In his a...
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... what, where, when and why we perceive things as a society. As a whole, American’s have the idea of T- Rex being the “meanest, fastest and scariest” of dinosaurs, when other carnivorous dinosaurs like the Velociraptor were just as much a predator as they. And as long as the Speilberg’s of Hollywood portray the popularized and stereotypical aspects of culture in their movies, people will continue to believe that what they see is fact, not fiction.
Garcia, Mariano & John R. Hutchinson “Tyrannosaurus was not a Fast Runner” Nature Journal 415 (Feb 28,2002): 1018-1021
Anonymous, “How Fast Could Tyrannosaurus rex Run?” Physics Today, Copywrite 2002 American Institute of Physics www.physicstoday.com/vol-55/iss-4/p18.html
Perkins, Sid “No Olympian: Analysis hints T. Rex ran slowly, if at all.” Science News March 2. 2002 Vol. 161, No. 9, P. 131
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