Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On Being Dubious

The Wikipedia article for the obscure dinosaur Pterospondylus begins thusly:

"Pterospondylus (meaning "winged vertebra") is a dubious genus of theropod dinosaur from the Late Triassic."

I understand what they mean by dubious -- i.e., it's known from such poor, sketchy material that it can't be defintively proven to be a valid type of dinosaur. Still, as someone who himself has been called "dubious" in the past, I think it's a lousy word to describe a fossil. Which led to this conversation between myself and my friend Linsey:


 me: i think it's a little presumptive and disrespectful to call a dinosaur who's been dead for 216 million years dubious
how does wikipedia know?
did wikipedia lend pterospondylus money and then get stiffed?
did they see pterospondylus at a seedy bar?
Sent at 9:09 PM on Tuesday
Linsey: oh man that's true
what do they know about pterospondylus?
as a soul
he could have been a beautiful soul
me: it's bullshit man
Linsey: TOTAL bullshit
i don't like their crap
THEY are the dubious ones
me: I KNOW
Sent at 9:12 PM on Tuesday

me: maybe pterospondylus just fell on hard times
Sent at 9:14 PM on Tuesday
Linsey: yeah, they're so quick to judge a man
whose claws they have not clawed in
me: i hope wikipedia has learned a valuable lesson from this
never assume
There ya go Wikipedia. Linsey and Pterospondylus just showed you. Maybe next time you won't be so quick to judge.

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