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Why We Love Dinosaurs

nautil.us

Dinosaurs by different names

People have always known about dinosaurs but called them by different names.

  • Old legends that put Western dragons in caves or underground may have originated with fossils.
  • The plumed serpent is described in mythologies of Mexico and Latin America.
  • The Rainbox Serpen...

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Children's attraction to dinosaurs suggests that the giant creatures appeal to something innate in the human psyche.

A simple explanation is that images of dinosaurs convey the excitement of danger while posing no real threat. From a child's point of view, dinosaurs are very old an...

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Inspiring fantasy

By inspiring fantasy in children, dinosaurs can reduce a child's feeling of helplessness. Unlike the power of adults of assertive peers, dinosaur power is under a child's thumb.

Dinosaurs appeal to a Victorian sort of "childhood wonder," emerging spontaneously in children...

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The limits of discovery

The most popular representations of dinosaurs ignore the limits imposed by paleontology.

Early discoverers of dinosaurs greatly exaggerated their size, appealing to the public's taste. Even with highly sophisticated tools, only so much information can be inferred from bones and rela...

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The reason for the popularity of dinosaurs is that their symbolism is flexible enough to accommodate a vast range of meanings.

  • Dinosaurs became extinct, and that story resonates with the apocalyptic traditions of the Zoroastrian, Judaic, Christian, and Islamic religions.
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