10 Responses to Great and Pterrible Signs

  1. Mike Gogulski August 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    why does the image on this sign (and likewise the associated trailer) depict a pteranodon instead?

    The baby Jesus hates you?

  2. Black Bloke August 4, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    There wasn’t enough room for detailing the teeth?

    • Roderick August 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      It’s the long crest that identifies it as pteranodon rather than pterodactyl.

      Though it also looks like it has a tail. So it may be some other genus entirely. But anyway, it’s not a pterodactyl.

      For example, it really is toothless — check the scene in the trailer.

      • Black Bloke August 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

        You’re right. I wonder if that will be brought up in the show?

        • Roderick August 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

          Well, you know what sticklers they are for scientific and historical accuracy — and lengthy exposition thereof — at Doctor Who. (Where are Barbara and Ian when we need them?)

  3. Richard August 5, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    “Despite what many people think, there was no single species of pterosaur called a “pterodactyl;” the “pterodactyloids” were technically a large suborder of avian reptiles that included such creatures as Pteranodon, Pterodactylus and the truly enormous Quetzalcoatlus,”


    • Roderick August 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      It’s true that “pterodactyl” is not a species. It’s a genus. But it’s a genus that doesn’t include pteranodons. And “pteranodon” is also a genus, not a species.

      It’s true that pteranodons are pteradactyloids; but contrary to the impression one might get from the passage you quote, “pterodactyl” and “pterodactyloid” aren’t synonymous. “Pteranodon” and “pterodactyl” are both genera within the broader category of “pterodactyloid,” which in turn is a suborder of the order “pterosaur.”

      The phrase “avian dinosaur” in the URL you cite raises further doubts about that website, because pterosaurs aren’t technically dinosaurs, avian or otherwise. (Briefly, their legs are wrong; a dinosaur’s legs extend directly below its body, the way a horse’s or bird’s do — and the way a crocodile’s or pterosaur’s don’t. And an avian dinosaur is just a bird.)

  4. da99 August 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    “Terror dactal” sounds like an animal to run away from. “Terror nodon” makes it sound like a pet animal: “Terry, no don’t eat my slipper”.

    • Roderick August 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

      “Pteranodon” sounds even less scary when you know the etymology: “winged toothless.” (Though “pterodactyl” isn’t all that scary-sounding either: “winged finger.” Though it does help to explain the connection between giving someone the finger and flipping them the bird.)

  5. Roderick August 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    While we’re on the subject, someone needs to mention this.

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