Saturday, May 20, 2006

Most puzzling headline of the day

Some headline writers must just be bored. Else, why this?

"Scientists Show Dinosaur Fingernail Fossil"

The headline says the fossil is of a fingernail, yet the body text calls it what it actually is -- a claw.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - A dinosaur claw fossil found in Brazil reinforces the theory of an evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds, a new study says. Brazilian scientists dubbed the dinosaur the dino-bird, which they said was found in Minas Gerais state, about 370 miles northwest of Rio. ...

"The anatomic structure of this claw shows ..."

... he expressed doubt that a claw fragment could prove the existence of a previously unknown dinosaur. ...

"If this claw was all that was found, .... This claw doesn't add particularly much to our knowledge ....

"The claw is similar in shape to that of many other raptors ...."

Nowhere is "fingernail" mentioned, so why did the headline writer feel the need to anthropomorphize the fossil? Was it a joke? Was it a subtle way to try to influence readers to think of animals as somehow human? Either way, it was uncalled for. This guy's boss should admonish him.

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