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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dinosaur Myths and Mistakes Showcased

The Dinosaur Discovery Site museum in St. George has a new exhibit that showcases dinosaur myths and mistakes, including mistakes made by early paleontologists. The museum is one of several popular dinosaur sites in Utah. It was built over a spot where numerous dinosaur tracks were found.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the exhibit. Below are excerpts.

A new exhibit at the Discovery Site museum in St. George explores some myths and mistakes in the context of the history of paleontology. “Dino Right, Dino Wrong,” open through March 1, was the brainchild of Rusty Salmon, director of the dinosaur track site discovered in 2000.

The new exhibit includes several examples of how conclusions drawn by early paleontologists were later proven wrong as identification techniques improved and knowledge increased.

In one case, a dinosaur’s thumb claw was thought to be a horn. In another, the fossilized skull of a dinosaur was mistakenly placed at the tip of its tail.

Besides misidentifying the thumb claw, scientists wrongly believed the tail of the spine of elasmosaurus was the top of its neck and worthy of a fossilized skull. They stood by their claim until it was proved that the other end of the long spine was where the head really belonged.

Also on display are early geology textbooks along with toy dinosaurs and novels featuring the giant creatures, including The Lost World and Jurassic Park, which were later made into popular films.

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