The New News Isn't New and Even the Old News Wasn't New News When It Was New
(Jesus. Who am I to criticize people's titling decisions?)
If you're anything like me, then you know that New Jersey State Museum research associate Brian Switek is the closest thing the Internet has to an expert on dinosaur sex. (Spoiler: You are nothing like me, and you never will be.) Switek has a history of writing very thoughtful and informative essays about dinosaur sex, so I naturally assumed that if some clown at the Daily Mail was going to start stepping onto Switek's turf, he'd have something to say about it. I was right. In his essay on Wired, Switek also acknowledges that the July version of this story ripped off the February version, and he goes on to say that, even back in February, there was no reason to write the story in the first place. Even though both Daily Mail articles treat the sex reveal like some big, breaking story, Switek assures us that there hasn't been a new study on the topic in a long time. No new information on dinosaur sex in February or July, but that didn't stop the Daily Mail from getting you to stop what you were doing to pay attention to these dinosaur dicks right this second.
Also? They're Wrong
According to Switek (the only person in this situation who vaguely resembles an authority), "We really don't have a refined idea of dinosaur sex positions." Daily Mail reports that a T. rex penis is about 12 feet long, even though we've still never found a fossil of a dinosaur penis.
We put a man on the moon and made a cheeseburger entirely out of ground bacon, but I still can't take my nephew to a museum and show him a brontosaurus dick. Life, right?
In Conclusion ...
A crappy British tabloid republishes a bullshit study it published six months ago and the Internet picks it up and runs with it. It's already made its way around the Internet twice, I'd imagine, before Switek's article debunking it could even get its pants on.
I've written about the Internet's total inability to accurately report on news in the past, because it's a subject that completely fascinates me, and because I'd like us to try to be better. Aaron Sorkin's new show, The Newsroom, is about a news anchor who is sick of the modern state of broadcast journalism and longs for "The good ol' days," when real, honest, legitimate news was done by real newsmen.
These are the Internet's good ol' days. We're still so young as a "thing" and we're already spreading lies about T. rex dicks. I am by NO means saying we should stop talking about dinosaur penises. Just that we should be honest about it.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's senior writer (ladies), and he will be at Comic-Con all weekend long if you want to meet up and talk about dinosaur sex (no other topics will be discussed). Follow him on Twitter to find out about spontaneous San Diego Cracked meet-ups.
For more from Dan, check out 4 Reasons to Hate Comic-Con and Proposed Script for Spider-Man 4: The Grittiest Reboot Ever.