Yes, Stegosaurus’ tail is named after an old Far Side comic

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Like “kryptonite” and “milquetoast” https://screenrant.com/far-side-stegosaurus-tail-thagomizer-comic/ ,, “thagomizer” also has its root in comics. The sharp tail of the Stegosaurus was named by Gary Larson’s The Far Side.

sometimes comics, including The dark side, are responsible for creating new words and phrases, such as kryptonite, milquetoast, and “follow the Joneses”. Words that are becoming common in usage are generally quite familiar and the term thagomizer is no exception. It is the current specific word – and the only one – used to describe part of the anatomical structure of a Stegosaurus.

The dark side is a one-panel comic that began publication in 1979. It is created by designer Gary Larson and has won several awards. This comic is easily recognizable, especially given its surreal humor and Larson’s distinctive style. It lasted until 1995 and was interrupted until 2020. Despite this long publication gap, the comic certainly left its mark in paleontological circles when it was first released.


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Before the strip’s publication in 1982, there really wasn’t a term used to refer to the end of a Stegosaurus tail. The entire appendix is ​​a tail, but the section with spikes was naturally called only a spiked tail or a tail with spikes. However, the band gave it a new name – by means of a caveman giving a presentation in a conference hall. The comic is associated with a caption using thagomizer, and says that this dub refers to “the late Thag Simmons” – a prehistoric person who presumably lost his life thanks to the fighting tactics of a Stegosaurus. It may not be a professional term, but depending on Smithsonian magazine, it was widely used by paleontologists themselves for fun.

Like Smithsonian, Discover – another popular science journal – reflects on the use of the term by paleontologists, noting a presentation by Ken Carpenter. This happened at the 1993 annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Thagomizer is also used in a dinosaur encyclopedia by Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. Dr. Holtz is a professor at the University of Maryland and has written extensively on dinosaurs in various academic journals. His book, Dinosaurs: The Most Complete and Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages (2007), refers to the academic work of Carpenter, noting that “there is no sign that any Stegosaurus species had more than two pairs of spikes on its thagomizer. The term may be familiar, but it certainly has an educational purpose and has caught on in the scientific community.

Contemporary comics definitely have a role to play in expanding the lexicon. Kryptonite is an easy way to refer to weakness, while milquetoast describes a person’s behavior. The major commonality between the two is that they also have a comedic origin, but not in The dark side. Larson’s work tends to use amphitheatres and classrooms in his storytelling. Dinosaurs and cavemen are also common topics, with a gang toppling tables as they ask a Stegosaurus to lecture his fellows on their poor chances of survival. It may not be considered the most academic place for vocabulary building, but the comics have a lot more influence than initially believed, as the thagomizer and The dark side easily prove.

More: Spider-Ham Pays Tribute To Peanuts, Garfield And Calvin & Hobbes

Source: Smithsonian magazine, Discover the magazine,

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