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Why We Love Dinosaurs

An attraction to dinosaurs

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 and very big, just like grown-ups.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Why We Love Dinosaurs

Why We Love Dinosaurs

http://nautil.us/issue/67/reboot/why-we-love-dinosaurs

nautil.us

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Key Ideas

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 Serpent of Aboriginal tales was since the beginning of time.
  • The Asian dragon combines features of many animals.

An attraction to dinosaurs

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 and very big, just like grown-ups.

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, with little adult encouragement.

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 related objects. Those who wish to reconstruct the appearance and habits of dinosaurs are using their scope for imagination.

We impose our own meanings

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.
  • Their size and power suggest empires and battles of a huge scale. The view that some dinosaurs survived to become birds suggests a sort of angelic elect that will be saved.
  • Secular views have changed the meaning of dinosaurs. The apocalyptic associations could be used to express the terror of a nuclear holocaust or ecological collapse.
  • Dinosaurs have also been used to comment on human violence, innocence, wealth, failure, and many more.

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The bodily symptoms of this strange appearance point to three dimensions:

  • Sensory: The marvelous things take hold of our senses - we stare and widen our eyes.
  • Cognitive: We are perplexed because we don't have a past experience to understand them. It leads to a suspension of breath, similar to when we are startled.
  • Spiritual: We look upwards in veneration, which makes our heart swell.

The scale of wonder

At the mild end of this emotion, we talk about things being marvelous. More intense emotions might be described as astonishing. The extreme of this experiences is met with expressions of awe.

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Sports is a big deal across the world, with die-hard fans who are extremely emotional towards their home teams. It is hard to pinpoint the motivations of a sports fan, and why a win or a loss of a ...

Why We Love Sports

Sports psychologists have a list of why people love sports:

  • Sports carry self-esteem benefits.
  • Commercial reasons (money bets etc.).
  • Peer pressure of being part of their group.
  • Sports are exciting.
  • Sports is an aesthetically pleasing activity.
  • A venue for emotional expression.
  • Sports is an escape from real-world problems.
  • Sports provide a sense of connectedness and belonging.

Explaining Sports Appeal

  • Talent-Luck Theory: Sports appeals to a lot of people due to its ability to balance skill with randomness.
  • Mirror Neurons: Many fans are able to feel what the player is feeling, and experience the excitement first-hand in his mind, with no barrier between the self and the outside world.

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