TV educational advert portraying men hunting dinosaurs is Darwinian gaffe

08 January 2009

The Royal Society of Chemistry is challenging the use of scientifically incorrect images in a television health awareness advert being broadcast nationally.

"In the very year that Darwin's evolution theory is being celebrated, the advert suggests to millions of viewers that humans and dinosaurs existed at the same time, "said Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC.

"The message of the advert, which is that today's population is too sedentary for its own good and that it needs to move more and eat better, is the right way ahead.

"However, the makers of the advert and those who commissioned it should have thought about the other, educational consequences of their inaccurate portrayal of hunters hitting dinosaurs with clubs.  Fred Flintstone might have done that 40 years ago but surely we should expect a more accurate approach today."

The Change 4 Life anti-obesity advert by Saatchi and Saatchi aims to make people aware that lack of exercise and bad diet leads to cancer, heart failure and diabetes.

Richard Pike added: "Darwin Year will remind us of the achievements of that great scientist and will also reinforce to the world that evolution was the result of chemistry working at the biological level. Indeed, the way we digest food and convert it into movement is also one of the wonders of science."

"We need to maintain the highest standards of science education and, while chemists like to maintain a sense of humour, we must ensure that powerful tools of mass communication, like television adverts which aim to educate, attempt to stick to the basic truths."

Related Links

Link icon Government anti-obesity advert (via Guardian website)
Advert showing man hunting dinosaurs for food - an inauspicious start to Darwin Year

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