Remember, magazine articles are supposedly vetted by knowledgeable editors. Yet a magazine with a 100+ year history of science writing manages to fuck up so egregiously that the error practically leaps from the page. Even creationists should be able to figure this one out:
I’ve bitched and complained about the sorry state of popular science writing for years. Here’s another textbook example from, of all places, National Geographic in an article about a rather amazing 90 million year old dinosaur boneyard:
Judging from the animals present at the site and their ages, as determined by carbon dating, the herd was probably made up of one- to seven-year-olds, said David Varricchio, a Montana State University paleontologist.
Of course, there’s more than one bit of dumbfuckery in there, but it’s sort of like puppies: you notice the one that’s jumping up and down barking first. The ones it’s using as a trampoline come to your attention a bit later.
I need to apply as an editor. Apparently, you don’t even need a high school education.
For those of you who had a temporary brain seizure along the lines of what NatGeo’s editors must have suffered and can’t spot the stupid, you can pop over to Ed Brayton’s blog for the punchline. I’ll give you a hint. It’s got something to do with carbon.
I imagine David Varricchio’s either supremely pissed or very amused about now. I wish I had the transcripts of this interview. They probably look something like this: