For those who can’t stand the suspense of wondering what my position is on this vital question, you can have my answer right now. It’s a definitive “Don’t know!”

But one recent article suggests that some people think that they do know.1 It makes no difference to anyone’s position on the truth or otherwise of evolution whether or not these dinosaurs were nocturnal, but the substance of the paper provides an extremely good example of the way that popularizers of evolution use language.

The substance of the article is this: Researchers claim that larger eyes are more likely to be found in nocturnal rather than diurnal animals. The researchers then looked at the eye sockets of small dinosaurs, which they assume were carnivorous predators, such as a type of velociraptor, and decided that the animals must have had large eyes, and therefore must have been nocturnal. The article makes this remarkable claim:

In the long-ago age of the dinosaurs, the smaller, fierce and predatory beasts were night hunters, stalking and seizing their unwary prey in the dark, while giant plant eaters of the same era browsed both day and night in order to fill the energy needs of their huge bodies.2….

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