Pterosaurs in the media

A while back I wrote this piece on  what I suggested my have been the worst media coverage of all time. However, Darwinopterus has ensured that everyone has jumped on the pterosaurs-are-cool bandwagon and most of them have, inevitably screwed up. However, there is one outstanding candidate for ‘getting as much wrong as it is possible to in the lest words while massively misrepresenting the science and introducing a ton of irrelevant nonsense that the researchers never commented on or mentioned at any point in order to try and ramp up the interest levels’.

If you can stomach the stupid, go here.

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21 Responses to “Pterosaurs in the media”

  1. 1 CQC 16/10/2009 at 11:40 am

    What the hell?

  2. 2 Carl Zimmer 16/10/2009 at 11:59 am

    This almost seems like a cry for help.

    • 3 David Hone 16/10/2009 at 12:36 pm

      I don’t know if it was a cry for help, but they certainly need it. Preferably from someone who knows very, very basic facts about the history of life on Earth.

  3. 4 sterndavidi 16/10/2009 at 12:41 pm

    The problem is then all these comments from the public saying how the scientists are just making stuff up, when actually it’s mainly the journalists just making stuff up. For a parallel in economics see:

    • 5 David Hone 16/10/2009 at 12:45 pm

      Yes, that is something that drives me nuts. The assumption always seems to be that the highly trained experts who have spent years if not decades in their field make major errors on basic science when writing peer-reviewed papers and that often inexperienced, or non-specialist journalists take down everything perfectly first time and fact check every detail and never make mistakes.

  4. 6 Mark Wildman 16/10/2009 at 5:04 pm

    I’m ashamed to say that I actually laughed out loud reading this. But it isn’t a surprise and this continual form of unresearched, careless reporting by reporters and editors who clearly don’t give a toss will continue to plague us. This and the continual stream of television programs that portray possibility as fact are a pet hate of mine. But such is life….

  5. 9 William Miller 16/10/2009 at 7:02 pm

    They ate flying mammals? (What flying mammals? Bats didn’t exist in the Mesozoic!) Dinosaurs died out in the Ice Age?

    And the article says it’s a 2-foot-long animal with 15cm fangs; even ignoring the pointless use of two measurement systems, that’s totally disproportionate…

  6. 14 Diego 16/10/2009 at 8:09 pm

    Impressive! I didn’t think it was possible to screw that many things up at once. They should get some kind of award.

  7. 15 David 17/10/2009 at 9:19 am

    @Diego – maybe the IgNobel Prize?

  8. 16 Suz Winspear 18/10/2009 at 3:45 pm

    That’s a grotesque bit of reporting even by the notoriously abysmal standards of the Daily Mail! It might make an entertaining ‘spot the mistakes’ quiz, though.

  9. 17 amphiox 04/11/2009 at 3:30 am

    The first line of that crazy article makes me wonder if the author managed to confuse Darwinopterus and Darwinius.

    If so, would this be an example of meta-overhyping?

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