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The limits of discovery

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.

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

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

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.

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

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