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Prof. Mathew Wedel
Paleontology, Western University

Any paleontologist would love a chance to be featured in the Discovery Channel's miniseries Clash of the Dinosaurs, so Mathew Wedel jumped at the opportunity, excited to share his knowledge with a worldwide audience.

Unfortunately, the producers had something else in mind. They elected to sensationalize the outdated notion that dinosaurs had a second brain in their tail to help control the back half of their body — an old idea that's now thoroughly discredited. In his on-camera interview discussing why we no longer believe this, Mathew said (in part):

...They did have a swelling in the spinal cord in the neighbourhood of their pelvis. And for a while it was thought that maybe this was sort of like a second brain....

Out came the razor blade, and they deftly excised the part of his quote they didn't want, covering the edit with an animation of a lumbering dinosaur with its rear limbs controlled by this amazing "second brain":

...They did have a swelling in the spinal cord in the neighbourhood of their pelvis. And for a while it was thought that maybe this was sort of like a second brain....

Thus, in this instance, Discovery Channel deliberately misinformed its viewers, because these few seconds of screen time seemed so exciting.

Science Friction is a new documentary film that will expose these faux documentaries, and give the scientists a chance to clear the record. The film is being crowdfunded right here on this page.

Skeptoid Media is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, so all crowdfunding donations are fully tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.



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