Ah, Halloween. Spooky costumes, trick-or-treating, haunted houses, and my absolute favorite, jack o' lanterns. Carving pumpkins is something I enjoy greatly, and every year in addition to the standard scary face or two to keep the ghosts and ghouls away, I like to throw a "paleo-pumpkin" into the mix. Last year, I decided the scariest thing I could think of was being attacked by a theropod dinosaur. This year, I found something a lot scarier.
That's right - "Three Triceratops Pluto". Now let me clarify. I was not, I repeat, was not scared that scientists were going to "delete" Triceratops (like they "deleted" Brontosaurus and Pluto). Rather, I was scared that so many people believed that! There were Facebook groups, websites, and blog posts popping up all over the internet rallying behind a cause that didn't even have a reason for being. You'd think a paper with a title like "Torosaurus Marsh 1891, is Triceratops Marsh, 1889" would be easy enough to understand, even at a glance. But people still didn't get it. Upsetting? Of course. But the thought that so many people believed it/reported on it without doing any fact checking was, legitimately, terrifying to me.
Of course, the silver lining to the dark cloud that was "TriceraFAIL" was the "Three Triceratops Pluto" meme. I'm not going to lie - it was pretty clever. So there you have it. Another year, another paleo-pumpkin. And I was happy to see that this year, I wasn't alone in my passion. Susan over at Cruotarsi: The Forgotten Archosaurs posted a photo of her Postosuchus skull pumpkin from last year, and Paleochick and Paleeoguy from The Paleochick's Digs posted photos of their "JURASS-O-LANTERNS" after weeks of showcasing other paleo-pumpkins. Even Pick & Scalpel, the official blog of The Witmer Lab at Ohio University got into the spirit of the season.