My 4 year old son is passionate about dinosaurs. I don’t think he’s the only kid in kindergarten to get a kick out of “terrible lizards”. It seems that the reality of creatures covered in spikes and plates with razor sharp teeth and as tall as buildings really does something for the mind and spirit. It’s one thing to imagine monsters but it’s entirely another to understand that these ones actually existed.
Seeing as my son is steadfast on committing himself to becoming a palaeontologist when he grows up, I decided to use his superior knowledge of sauropods and theropods (herbivores and carnivores for common folk!) to help me draft a book of dinosaur poems. So far so good except when I need to include incredibly long dinosaur names (micropachycephalosaurus?) into the rhyme structure.
Extract of Dinosaur poem (work in progress)
“T-Rex gets a nickname, so why can’t we?
And why’s Pterodactyl spelt with a P!”
The palaeontologists don’t agree
“For starters your names are in Latin and Greek”
I think the true fascination children have for dinosaurs comes from their ability to use their imagination. Of course books and trips to the Natural History Museums of the World help demonstrate what dinosaurs looked like, but a lot of the time it’s conceptual. Scientists do their best to interpret the truth from fossils and bones but there’s always something left to us to figure out. Palaeontologists cannot confirm the colour of every dinosaur which means our kids can go wild with their colouring pens. And, did you know that when the Chinese first uncovered dinosaur bones they thought they were the remains of ancient dragons? Now, who is to say dragons didn’t exist too??