From Beast to Blockbuster: Our Changing View of Dinosaurs Through the Eye of Popular Culture
Dinosaurs were first introduced to the general public over 150 years ago, making their first
appearance in literature in 1851. Since then, they have shown up in a range of popular media, from
film to comic books, trading cards to toys. But how has their image changed through time? Over the
past 200 years, paleontological studies have led to the realization that dinosaurs weren’t slow,
cold-blooded, dumb beasts but instead quick, warm-blooded, intelligent animals. These changes can be
observed within mass media, from being portrayed initially as mindless, vicious brutes to quick,
crafty creatures that were simply trying to survive the world they inhabited. Join me in a journey
through history and let’s examine these changes as seen through the lens of popular culture.
Mark is originally from Newington, growing up in town during the 1970’s and 80’s, where he was a fixture at the Langdon Library, when he wasn’t wandering the town’s fields and woods. After graduating high school, he joined the US Navy, working as a weatherman supporting fleet operations during Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch. Following his enlistment, he enrolled at Keene State College, earning a Bachelor of Science in Geology followed by the University of North Carolina – Wilmington, earning a Master of Science in Geology. He has been working and teaching at the college level for almost 25 years, currently holding the position of Professor of Earth Science at Northern Essex Community College, where he has been for 20 years. His current research is focused on how paleontologists have updated their view of dinosaurs through the decades and how those updates have translated into popular culture. He now lives in Manchester, NH with his wife, Karen.