• Richard Farr

A storey on or about dinasuors in Teh Grauniad

I love The Guardian: it's one of the best news sources in the world. I feel guilty about The Guardian: I use it every day and ought to send lots of money to help keep excellent independent journalism afloat. But really. Never famous for the excellence of its proof-reading, The Grauniad (as we long-time readers fondly call it) hit some kind of new linguistic low yesterday with a peculiarly atrocious word-gabble on British dinosaurs:


"The stegosaurs group of dinosaurs" - Ouch. Surely "The group of dinosaurs known as stegosaurs"?
"Iguanodons were herbivorous dinosaurs that lived in the Early Cretaceous period. Weighing four-and-a-half tons and growing to 10 metres long, it was ..." No, no, no. "They were ..."
" ... one of the first dinosaurs to be named. One of the most common dinosaurs found on the Isle of Wight, an Iguanodon tail was discovered ..." No, no, no. "An iguanodon tail" is not and cannot be "one of the most common dinosaurs" found anywhere, because it's a dinosaur tail, not a dinosaur.
"Baryonyx ... hunted fish ... wading into shallow water and using its 31cm-long claw to hook them, similar to a bear." Baryonyx looked similar to a bear? Its claw was similar to a bear's? Its technique was? All of the above? Why oh why isn't it clear that this is clumsy at best and unclear at worst?
"First discovered in 1983 in a Surrey clay pit, it had a crocodilian-like snout." No, no, no. Either it had a crocodilian snout, or it had a snout like a crocodile. "Crocodilian" means "crocodile-like." Perhaps "crocodilian-like" means "like something crocodilian, but not quite" - but what that means is a mystery.
"A fossilised Ichthyosaur was found on a Somerset beach by dogs just before Christmas." How long had the dogs been on the beach? Were they fossilised too?

Enough, enough. One wonders whether the piece was ever edited at all. It reads as if written by someone who knows a bit of science but who had to reconstruct the probable shape and habits of living English from a few bones.

Long live indipandant juorlanism.

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