Do Americans Believe Dinosaurs and Humans Lived at the Same Time?

Jurassic Park and its sequels -- including 2015's record-breaking Jurassic World -- have been putting people in movie theater seats since the original film debuted in 1993. The premise of Jurassic Park is that a billionaire and a team of geneticists could clone long-extinct dinosaurs. Although they are science-fiction, the Jurassic Park films may have influenced the results of a 2008 Harris poll and a 2015 YouGov poll. Both surveys found that roughly 40% of Americans believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed on Earth.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Both surveys probed American beliefs related to biblical creationism, evolution, evolutionary biology and general science knowledge. The 2015 YouGov poll also found that only 54% of respondents knew that the basis of the movies -- the ability to clone DNA from fossils -- is not currently feasible.

Fact and fiction about dinosaurs on Earth:

  • Mankind's earliest direct ancestors appeared on Earth just 6 million years ago -- long after the dinosaurs died out in a cataclysmic event.
  • The original Jurassic Park was based on a 1990 novel by Michael Crichton. The story takes place on a fictional island off the Central American coast, near Costa Rica.
  • Jurassic World broke records for the best opening weekend ever, raking in almost $209 million in North America.

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Discussion Comments

anon994696

It is astonishing that such a high percentage of the American public are so profoundly misinformed.

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