A view from Dave Trott: Why are there no baby dinosaurs?
A view from Dave Trott

Why are there no baby dinosaurs?

Jack Horner is curator of palaeontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana.

That means he’s spent his life studying dinosaurs.

One thing always troubled him: how come you never see any baby dinosaurs?

In every museum he’s visited he’s seen every shape, every size, of dinosaur skeleton.

From big to small and everything in between.

Every different type has its own name.

But he’s never seen a skeleton of a baby dinosaur.

This caused him to investigate.

But he didn’t focus on the dinosaurs, he focussed on the people who discovered and named the dinosaurs: scientists.

Everyone thinks scientists are the ultimate in objectivity.

But Jack Horner knew that scientists are people too, and they have egos.

That means they like credit for discovering and naming things.

The thrill of naming a new dinosaur means their ego doesn’t question it too much.

So Jack Horner decided to question it.

There are 12 primary types of dinosaur in North America.

One by one Jack Horner investigated them.

The museum he curated had lots of dinosaur skeletons.

So he could cut into the bones to check the dinosaurs’ ages.

He found that five of the 12 dinosaurs weren’t different types at all.

They were smaller, younger versions of the adults.

For instance, the Nanotyrannus was actually a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The Torosaurus was actually a pre-adult Triceratops.

The Anatotitan was a juvenile Edmontosaurus.

And the Stygimoloch and Dracorex were younger versions of the Pachycephalosaurus.

In short, five of the 12 types of dinosaur didn’t exist.

They were smaller younger versions of the other dinosaurs.

But as soon as scientists found the skeletons, their egos took over.

They didn’t investigate, they rushed off to stake a claim by naming the new dinosaur.

We find it surprising that scientists have egos just like the rest of us.

And yet we find it in "experts" everywhere.

Jeremy Bullmore wrote an article about advertising awards.

He said the problem with advertising awards was that they encouraged marketing people to change campaigns unnecessarily.

They change campaigns because their ego wants awards.

And often these new campaigns perform worse.

Jeremy Bullmore said there should be an award for leaving a campaign unchanged.

It would stop marketing people needing to change campaigns just for ego.

The reason to change, or leave, a campaign would simply be performance based.

Isn’t that a great idea?

Marketing people want to appear dynamic by being responsible for a new campaign.

Just the way scientists want to be responsible for discovering a new dinosaur.

Take the word innovation, everyone in marketing wants to be an innovator.

But the OED gives the following synonyms for innovation: "alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, reorganisation, restructuring, rearrangement, remodelling, restyling."

Nowhere does it mention "improvement".

Because change isn’t synonymous with improvement.

Everyone is so desperate to be known as an innovator, they feel they must be seen to change things.

But change that’s ego driven usually isn’t an improvement.

No more than a fake baby dinosaur.

Dave Trott is the author of Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three.