Saturday, May 05, 2007


The last few days with Frank have been a treat. We spent a good deal of time frequenting the Smithsonian strip* along the National Mall: perusing the crowded collections of the Smithsonian National Air and Space* and Natural History* Museums. We saw a bunch of really neat things, too: the stuffed remains of the first monkey to survive spaceflight* (exhibited in nosecone capsule situ), the Hope Diamond,* John Glenn's space suit,* Triceratops skulls,* the Spirit of St. Louis,* the stuffed remains of a spectral bat* eating the stuffed remains of a pinky mouse,* moon rocks,* a diorama model of a dinosaur variously labeled as either an Albertosaur or Gorgosaur,* and lobbies crowded with tour groups in matching t-shirts.* In one special collections room of Air and Space is a small portion of the currently-under-construction Museum of American History,* a pop collection that includes the Ruby Slippers,* ENIAC,* R2-D2,* Kermit the Frog,* and Abraham Lincoln's hat.* After two straight days of museum sightseeing, my head was buzzing with plaque-sized information bites, and pondering the tragic duckbilled Trachodon, that grade school favorite and pitifully menaced Cretaceous common victim.* Is it a conspiracy that Trachodon is most often represented as prey: prone between the jaws of a Tyrannosaur or mortally wounded beneath the clawed hind feet of a Velociraptor flock? I mean really, it isn't as if all the dinosaurs we discover aren't already dead. But here we have created a dinosaur fall-guy which through consistent popular depiction seems more mortal than most. I've been thinking about the poor brute since seeing that diorama of either Gorgo- or maybe Albertosaurus snacking on another duckbilled morsel. Interestingly, when I looked it up, I discovered that the presumed genus Trachodon has been mostly debunked as a mistake of the original assemblers.* Poor guy. [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

* Pictures from the noble duckbill’s storied modern history of defeat: here are just a few examples I managed to quickly find online, including first the Smithsonian diorama already linked above. One, two, three, four, five, six.

Saturday, May 05, 2007 1:07:00 PM  

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