Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why I Worry for Today's Youth

Today at the Paleontology Museum a fourth-grade (I'm estimating) class came for a field trip. They got the special behind-the-scenes tour, which meant they got to come see me while I was working in the lab. I was in the middle of gluing two iguanodon vertebra fragments together when one of the kids said, "Hey, what are you doing?" So I told him that I was working on some fossils that were from the backbone of an iguanodon.
"No, iguanodon. When they discovered it they thought it looked like an iguana skeleton* so they named it after an iguana."
At this point, I started to weep for humanity. Not a single person in the class group showed any sign of knowing or caring what an iguanodon was. Isn't an obsession with dinosaurs kind of a prerequisite for being a normal 8 year old?
"Can I take a picture of you working?"
The little girl whipped out her iphone.

I guess that explains it. They're too busy playing Angry Birds to go to the library and learn that birds themselves are descended from dinosaurs. That's just sad. Oh, humanity. HOW FAR WE HAVE FALLEN.

*Technically it was named for having iguana-like teeth, but no need to get picky.