A new poll on dinosaur/human coexistence

Prompted by the release of the movie Jurassic World, a new poll from YouGov indicates that Americans are about evenly split on the question of whether dinosaurs and humans lived on the planet at the same time.

Asked "Do you believe that dinosaurs and humans once lived on the planet at the same time," 14% of respondents said definitely, 27% said probably, 18% said probably not, and 25% said definitely not; 16% were unsure.

Demographically, YouGov noted, "While most Americans who describe themselves as 'born again' (56%) believe that humans and dinosaurs once shared the planet, most Americans who do not describe themselves as born again (51%) think that they did not."

In seeming confirmation of the roughly even split in opinion, a poll of registered voters in Texas in 2010 found that 30% agreed and 41% disagreed with "The earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs," with 30% saying that they didn't know.

Similarly, in Reports of the NCSE in 2010, George Bishop and his colleagues described a 2008 survey in which 40% of respondents agreed, and 48% of respondents disagreed, with "Dinosaurs lived at the same time as people."

But the 2008 survey, which posed a large number of related but different questions to the respondents, also revealed apparent inconsistencies in their views: for example, 69% of respondents agreed with "Dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago."

In its press release, YouGov says that "the last dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago." In fact, the scientific consensus is that dinosaurs are still extant: birds are theropod dinosaurs. It is unclear to what extent respondents were influenced by the scientific consensus.

The poll surveyed 1000 adult Americans between June 15 and June 17, 2015, apparently on-line; the margin of error reported was plus/minus 4.4%. Further details of the polling methodology are not readily apparent.

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