The Posture of Tyrannosaurus rex: Why Do Student Views Lag Behind the Science?

PRI educators published in Journal of Geoscience Education:

"The posture of Tyrannosaurus rex: Why do student views lag behind the science?" will be published in a forthcoming issue of Journal of Geoscience Education. It was authored by Dr. Warren Allmon, Director, Paleontological Research Institution, and Hunter R. Rawlings III Professor of Paleontology, Dept. of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University; Dr. Robert Ross, Associate Director for Outreach, Paleontological Research Institution and adjunct assistant professor in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University; and Dr. Don Duggan-Haas, PRI education research associate.

This article states that despite updated knowledge regarding T. rex and its posture and basic body structure, young children and even college students interpret the creature as having a more upright stance, one that was regarded as correct in the 1960s and 1970s. This relates to the idea that children have preconceived notions of T. rex and other dinosaurs from a very early age, stemming from interactions with popular characters such as Barney the Purple Dinosaur and other items such as toys and clothes with a T. rex image that is more upright. These images stick with the individual, even after seeing correct representations, such as the ones in the Jurassic Park films.

For more information, please contact Dr. Warren Allmon at 607-273-6623 x114.