Did Not Do the Research

Maybe a random rant is not the best way to break a longish silence, but I just had to. Because WTF, Budapest Zoo?

Preamble: the aforementioned is an amazing place. I’d never recommend anyone not to visit if they got the chance. But sometimes, institutions of public education fail rather spectacularly at actually educating the public. And nothing gets me quite like “education” spreading misinformation. I didn’t rant about the painful-to-read evolution stuff I saw at London Zoo a while back, mainly because I couldn’t be bothered to thoroughly fact-check all of my million and one objections. But this, this is so annoyingly simple. And so infuriatingly wrong.

I’m referring to this:

It’s supposed to be an Oviraptor with its adorable chicks. Now, me and anatomy in general are very distant acquaintances, but surely even the last stubborn holdouts of Jurassic Park fandom have heard of feathered dinosaurs by now. Surely someone designing an exhibit/sculpting a dinosaur for a big-ass zoo would know, or find out in the course of their in-depth research that in all likelihood, everything closer to birds than, say, Allosaurus was at least a little bit fuzzy, and an Oviraptor-grade animal definitely bore feathers. Come the fuck on, surely they’ve at least heard of Caudipteryx?

The sculpture is also bunny-handed. I’ve spent enough internet time around hardcore dinosaur nerds to know that these creatures couldn’t hold their forelimbs like that without seriously damaging something. Unlike us, they couldn’t pronate their forearms. Maybe this arcane piece of information isn’t easily available outside dinosaur nerddom? But one would think that someone preparing an educational exhibit would, you know, do some research about the animals in question.

The whole fuck-up is all the more puzzling because right next to this monstrosity you find these:

Which also aren’t the best works of dinosaur art I’ve seen by a long shot, but at least they don’t look like they time-travelled from the eighties. If the “raptors” got the updated treatment, why was poor Oviraptor left behind?


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