[Taxacom] Lesser prairie chickens vs. more dinosaur hype (vis-a-vis the Grand Canyon)

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 30 21:16:30 CST 2012

Dear All,
         Here we go again.  Newspapers across the country (world?) are again asking the question "Did dinosaurs gawk at the Grand Canyon."  They asked the same question back in 2008, and the hype still seems to depend on how one defines the "GRAND" canyon.  Of course, it only achieved its grandest dimensions less than 10 million years ago, but increasingly it appears that parts of the canyon system are older than that.  Nothing really very surprising about that.  
      Of course such semantic clarity is lost in what seems to be an overly-hyped, semantic debate, and bringing dinosaurs into it makes even more clear that it is largely a matter of hyperbole and semantics.  Asking what dinosaurs in the area might have gawked at (if they actually "gawked" at all) is typical of too much popular science journalism today.  One section of the Grand Canyon may have been forming in the latest Cretaceous, but it certainly was not the Grand Canyon tourists gawk at today.  Big deal.     
P.S.  I find it more interesting to learn that the U.S. announced today that it may finally get around to adding the Lesser Prairie Chicken to the Endangered Species List.  Having so much of its distribution in the "Dust Bowl" was bad enough in the 1930s, but other human disturbances have continued to erode its habitat ever since.  This seems more important than what some dinosaurs might have gawked at when the Grand Canyon began to form.  Dinosaurs (sensu stricto) are dead and gone, but lesser prairie chickens still have a chance if we pay more attention to existing problems.  

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