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16 September 2016 @ 07:47 pm
Fossil Friday: Archeopteryx  
One of my dinosaur books rather dubiously claims that Archeopteryx is "perhaps the most famous extinct organism in the world". I find this doubtful - surely Tyrannosaurus Rex holds that distinction?

Still, the discovery of the first Archeopteryx fossil in 1861 is a hugely important point in the history of our understanding of dinosaurs, bird evolution and evolution in general. B. has occasionally bombarded Archeopteryx specimens with fundamental particles.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/209607.html.
wellinghallwellinghall on September 16th, 2016 06:55 pm (UTC)
It's got to be T Rex
louisedennislouisedennis on September 18th, 2016 03:33 pm (UTC)
I think vocatus_fortis could be right about the Dodo... but either way, definitely not Archeopteryx.
wellinghall: Goldiewellinghall on September 18th, 2016 04:43 pm (UTC)
Mm, yes, that is a fair point
wellinghall: Goldiewellinghall on September 18th, 2016 07:37 pm (UTC)
I'd put woolly mammoths ahead of Archeopteryx.
louisedennislouisedennis on September 19th, 2016 09:10 am (UTC)
And probably any of the really famous dinosaurs like Triceratops and Stegosaurus...
vocatus_fortisvocatus_fortis on September 16th, 2016 10:13 pm (UTC)
I'd say the dodo was the most famous.
louisedennislouisedennis on September 18th, 2016 03:33 pm (UTC)
Ooh! You could be right!
wellinghall: Goldiewellinghall on September 18th, 2016 04:43 pm (UTC)
Mm, you could well be right
Pollyjane_somebody on October 2nd, 2016 07:19 pm (UTC)
I have given this some (probably too much) thought. I think the dodo is a fair suggestion for the older generations (among whom I count myself) but I do not feel it is as significant a part of the cultural baggage of the younger generations, and therefore not of the population as a whole. I have not heard the phrase "dead as a dodo" much recently (nor, indeed, "dead as a doornail", alas poor Marley!) My two-year-old nephew, for instance, can reliably identify a T. Rex, and indeed a triceratops and stegosaurus, but I doubt has any familiarity with a dodo.

Alright, I have done some research using the resident members of the younger generation, 8 and 10. Slightly to my surprise (though I probably should have known better, especially as one has a special interest in all areas of biology) both did enthusiastically agree to having heard of a dodo, and could prove they knew what was meant ("An extinct flightless bird", "with a big beak!"); only one had heard of archeopteryx ("flying dinosaur with a long neck", good enough.) When asked to rank the three contenders in order of most to least famous, both firmly agreed that it was T. Rex first, then the dodo, with archeopteryx a long way behind :-)
wellinghall: Goldiewellinghall on October 2nd, 2016 07:26 pm (UTC)
I applaud the research.
louisedennis: dinosaurlouisedennis on October 3rd, 2016 09:20 am (UTC)
It's difficult - I would guess that current concerns about man's impact on the environment would make the appearance of the Dodo at school far more likely than the T. Rex - on the other hand, clearly pre-school children are much more likely to have encountered the T. Rex.

We probably need to start some kind of internet meme "How many of these extinct species can you identify?" and then collate the research.
king_pellinorking_pellinor on September 17th, 2016 06:57 am (UTC)
"B. has occasionally bombarded Archeopteryx specimens with fundamental particles."

Some people juggle geese... :-)
louisedennislouisedennis on September 18th, 2016 03:33 pm (UTC)
He's endlessly amazed people actually pay him to do what he does!
liadtbunny: Dragon mediaevalliadtbunny on September 17th, 2016 03:38 pm (UTC)
I hope no archaeopteryx were hurt by the bombarding!

What about brontosaurus;p
louisedennislouisedennis on September 18th, 2016 03:34 pm (UTC)
I'm going with the Dodo, even if the no-longer-existant Brontosaurus' of our youth deserve some love.

The archeopteryx thus bombarded was a fossil - though I think there was some concern that someone might drop it, which would have been bad.