Saturday, July 04, 2009

Ridin' and ropin' those docile dinos



This photo by John Scalzi is great in so many ways. It's from Kentucky's Creation Museum, and shows a boy riding a statue of a baby Triceratops, which is Wyoming's official state dinosaur. The kid is having fun, and probably doesn't care a wit that Triceratops were never used as rodeo stock. Since it's rodeo season in the West, you can ask just about any cowboy -- horses and bulls are preferable to dinos. It's a fine idea, though, and one which should be considered if we ever get our hands on that dino DNA that was used so disastrously in "Jurassic Park." I think it would be much more fun to ride bareback on a Velociraptor, with others playfully nipping at your boot heels. But that's just me.

The Creation Museum contends that humans and dinos lived side-by-side. It also contends that the T-Rex was a vegeterian. Not sure what those big pointy teeth were used for. Maybe plants were tougher 6,000 years ago.

In Wyoming, we know our dinosaurs and our evolutionary history. That what makes the closing of the University of Wyoming's Geological Museum so sad. In a time of Creation Museums, we desperately need as much real science as possible. So budget cuts are made and the thing that UW decides is expendable is a museum devoted to the reality-based world. The move has been controversial. I heard news yesterday that private funding has been raised to keep the museum in business. Let's hope so.

More dinosaur bones have been dug out of Wyoming that almost anywhere else in the world. Plant and animal life from millions of years ago make up our massive oil and coal reserves. We boast an official state dinosaur and an official state fossil, the Knightia. I think we're the only state that puts so much stock in the ancient world, one that goes back way farther than 6,000 years.

I have a story called "The History of Surfing in Wyoming" that posits a post-global warming Wyoming (Wyoming Islands) where the surf is bitchen on the beaches of the Big Horns and Wind Rivers (formerly mountain ranges) and aqua-rodeo cowboys get their kicks riding sea creatures resurrected from the floor of the ancient inland sea. Reality-based scenarios are fun when it comes to science. But they don't hold a candle to the worlds conjured by the imagination.

I leave you with the Wyoming Islands version of the Beach Boys' Surfin' U.S.A. (feel free to sing along):

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like Wyoming-yay
You'd see 'em wearing cut-off Ryders
Stetsons and (boots) too
A buzz-cut surfers’ hairdo
Surfin' U.S.A.

You'd catch 'em surfin' at Happy Jack
Casper Island Beach
Flaming Gorge and Lander
and the Big Horn Islands
All over South Pass
And down Encampment way
Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

We'll all be planning that route
We're gonna take real soon
We're waxing down our surfboards
We can't wait for June
We'll all be gone for the summer
We're on surfari to stay
Tell the teacher we're surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

Rock River and Sundance
and Laramie Peak
Meeteetse and Midwest,
Big Surf Reef near Ten Sleep
All over the Wind Rivers
and Uinta Bay
Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

3 comments:

joanne said...

Love the picture! And it's absolute proof that dinos and man lived side-by-side, because look! That dinosaur is pooping an electrical outlet!!! Explain that, Richard Dawkins:)

Michael Shay said...

Well-known fact: Creationist dinos pooped electrical outlets and crackpot theories.

smarry said...

Really very nice pictures I love this.......
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Smarry
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