April 4th

Dinosaurs in Popular Culture

Yesterday we talked about how museums have shaped the public’s fascination with dinosaurs, but our cultural representations of dinosaurs are even more powerful than museum displays. More people were made aware of the dinosaur renaissance watching Jurassic Park in 1993 than in the preceding decade. Two hours in a movie theater was more potent than a decade of papers, lectures, documentaries, and exhibits.


This is because dinosaurs are not simply animals. They are constructs of our imagination, both cultural and personal. We have emotional ties to dinosaurs. They form part of the structure of our internal time scale for the Earth. Whatever dinosaurs were, whatever their truth was, it has passed and given way to a world that is shaped by humanity’s truths. They are remote and yet part of the framework that gives us time and consequence.

Our dinosaur toys, our films, our animated television specials, our animatronic robots are all just as important as bones at the natural history museum. Because dinosaurs are a part of us and our world, not just relics from the distant past.

Share your thoughts on dinosaurs in science and popular culture with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #TDIDinos.