Which Came First, the Chicken or the 30’-Tall Feathered Therizinosaurus?

It’s easy to mock earnestness.

But better not to.

Certain Dinos Came from Birds

The Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah is earnest. Much if its message is to suggest that certain dinosaurs (the dromaeosaurs) evolved from birds — and not the other way around. Their premise: If it had feathers and flew it was a bird, even in the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras — dinosaur times.

And this Cryptovolans, they say, did both, way back then.

Thus a bird.

So instead of birds being modern dinosaurs as most folks think, birds have been birds for 100+ million years, coeval with T-Rex and stegosaurus and all the others. Since that early, early time, the museum demonstrates, some of those archaic bird ancestors also evolved to lose some feathers and the ability to fly and became towering, frightful bipeds such as this beastie called Therizinosaurus.

That’s all new to me but so be it. I’m no paleontologist.

Curator As Collector

What I know is that very earnest curators have spent considerable amounts of their lives’ passion in telling the story. And I respect that.

The curators have also spent considerable time showcasing the depiction of dinosaurs in media and pop culture. As a lifelong comic collector I can respect that too, but nonetheless seeing these two passions juxtaposed with equal reverence is startling.

Because right alongside Allosaurus and Apatosaurus …

… are Barney and Barbie.

The Proper Response

It’s easy to mock earnestness.

I could smirk at the respect the Dinosaur Museum grants The Land Before Time and Godzilla, or at the single-minded vision it took others to build Bishop Castle or The Bug Museum or the Fire-Breathing Dragon of Kaskaskia. It’s easy to shake your head and sneer about monomania or worshiping the trivial.

But why be petty? How about instead being a lot less smug and just going along for the ride? How about borrowing someone’s sense of importance for a time, to feel what it’s like to dismiss convention and claim that this matters to me – and needs no further justification?

That sense of purpose is something I want more of.

Instead of mocking earnestness, I’m grateful to people tenacious enought to turn their passion into something real and brave enough to say, “Here everyone, I made this for you.”

I think there’s only one proper response in the face of that courage:

“Thank you.”

One comment

  1. I’ve always thought that a curator’s job is very cool in a very professsor-ish sort of way. I’m glad you’re trying to tell their stories.

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