SD: Why I can't take Jurassic Jabber seriously

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Hi everybody,


I recently reviewed Dixon's worst dino book (I.e. "If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today": https://www.amazon.com/review/R2906RZLY2I88D/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), which was the last straw "that made [me] cease taking Dougal Dixon seriously" as a source of dino info ( https://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2011/11/not-vintage-dinosaur-art-if-dinosaurs.html ). Similarly, Jurassic Jabber's recommendation of Blasing's "Dinosaurs! My First Book About Carnivores" (which I'm in the process of reviewing) was the last straw that made me cease taking JJ seriously as a source of dino info ( https://www.facebook.com/JurassicJabber/posts/2682380538690151 ). This isn't the 1st time JJ has promoted a not-so-good dino book, but it IS the most egregious example:* For 1, Blasing's book is educational non-fiction (& thus, should be held to a higher standard than the other books, which are educational fiction); For another, when I questioned/commented on JJ's recommendation (See quote #1), they either replied w/misleading/wrong/irrelevant claims or didn't reply at all (See quotes #2-3). I don't know whether JJ overlooked the many problems w/Blasing's book on purpose or by accident, but I do know that, either way, it shows that JJ shouldn't be taken seriously as a source of dino info.


*I'm specifically referring to Braun's "Could You Survive the Cretaceous Period?" ( https://www.jurassicjabber.com/single-post/2019/09/18/this-new-interactive-book-series-is-buzzing-right-now ) & Galusha's "Cretaceous" ( https://www.jurassicjabber.com/single-post/2019/01/11/prehistoric-predators-battle-it-out-in-this-exclusive-cretaceous-preview ).


Cheers,

Herman Diaz


Quote #1 (me): "I hope you don't mind, but I have to ask: Are you recommending Blasing's new book b/c 1) he's a friend, or 2) b/c you actually think it's a good book? I really didn't wanna have to ask b/c neither answer is good: If #1, it comes off as irresponsible, similar to hiring a friend even though you know they're not right for the job; If #2, it implies that you overlooked the book's many problems; More specifically, it's full of ugly/inaccurate paleoart (E.g. Oversaturated colors, scaly-skinned coelurosaurs, etc) & misleading/wrong claims (E.g. "Did you know a Tyrannosaurus rex had an infectious bite?": https://www.amazon.com/Dinosaurs-First-About-Carnivores-Beyond/dp/1646114299 ); It doesn't help that he's still promoting himself as a paleontologist even though he still hasn't published any peer-reviewed literature ( https://svpow.com/2010/11/12/tutorial-10-how-to-become-a-palaeontologist/ ); Put another way, he's "impersonating a professional in the field, and in the process, he is misleading the public when he talks so matter of factly about some of his subjects" ( http://reptilis.net/2008/09/14/jfc-lockjaw/ )."


Quoting #2 (JJ): "hello. I’d like to first point out that George Blasing has never once said he was a paleontologists. But a dinosaur enthusiast who has studied and worked with doctors like Larry witmer, robert Bakker, Paul serino. He has also done countless interviews with paleontologists on his podcasts. So the information he is getting is directly from the source. It has been speculated by many paleontologists that it would be very easy for flesh to remain in between teeth of a tyrannosaur and rot. Transferring nasty bacteria to another animal with a bite. It is quite possible as some animals do this today.


George blasing travels to schools and get kids excited about dinosaurs. It’s people like him who help the future of the field. He takes what he learns and passes it on. Never once claiming any of this information is his own.


There are a lot of paleontologists who are just don’t have time to talk to kids.


So to answer your questions. I respect him for what he does for the future of paleontology. Who knows how many kids will enter the field because of him. And two, I don’t believe there is nothing that he has written that is 💯 blatantly untrue. Colors of dinosaurs is something that is bran new in the field. We are only just starting to discover the variation and saturation of feathers of the past. Even jack Horner has said there is no reason a large carnivore could not be brightly colors. I think it is unlikely that they were but it is possible.


Thank you for being involved. Healthy debates are good."


Quote #3 (me): "Many thanks for getting back to me. However, I need to correct or clarify a few things.


"I’d like to first point out that George Blasing has never once said he was a paleontologists."


Actually, he's done so many times, including on his website ("Blasing is a self taught paleontologist and animal behaviorist": https://dinosaurgeorge.com/dinosaur-george-bio ), in his new book ("Blasing is an animal behaviorist, podcast host, and paleontologist"), & in JFC ("Paleontology Expert").


"It has been speculated by many paleontologists that it would be very easy for flesh to remain in between teeth of a tyrannosaur and rot. Transferring nasty bacteria to another animal with a bite."


Based on "the dirty myth of the Komodo's bite" (which has been known to be false for many years: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mAFliqhZ_2AJ:https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/here-be-dragons-the-mythic-bite-of-the-komodo+&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us ).


"And two, I don’t believe there is nothing that he has written that is 💯 blatantly untrue."


The double negative notwithstanding, he's done so many times, especially in JFC (E.g. "When Mr. Blasing spouts off something patently wrong like “dromaeosaurs could breathe through their bones,” or “megalodon was the size of a jumbo jet,” the audience at home will come away accepting that as a fact": http://reptilis.net/2008/09/14/jfc-lockjaw/ ), but also in his books (E.g. "Giganotosaurus may have been able to run over 30 [mph]"; Not according to what we actually know about similarly-sized theropods: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5518979/ ).


"We are only just starting to discover the variation and saturation of feathers of the past. Even jack Horner has said there is no reason a large carnivore could not be brightly colors."


I think you're confused. I didn't say anything about the likelihood of large carnivores being bright colors. I did list the new book's oversaturated (as opposed to well-saturated) colors as 1 of many examples of its ugly/inaccurate paleoart. Heck, the scaly-skinned coelurosaurs alone should've disqualified it from being recommended as an educational book. Put another way, to paraphrase Holtz, "depicting a [non-tyrannosaurid coelurosaur] without feathers...would simply be antiscientific" ( https://www.deviantart.com/jd-man/journal/SD-Holtz-s-A-Dinosaur-Lover-s-Bookshelf-374321353 ).


1 more thing: I also didn't say anything about problems w/Blasing's intentions (which seem to be good), just w/his execution (which is very bad)."

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