For the love of dinosaurs

Posted by mouthyb | Posted in , | Posted on 10:06 PM

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One of the traveling preachers at the long string of religious schools I went to actually did give the 'dinosaur bones were left by Satan to distract the gullible (scientists.)' My brother and I didn't get to many non-art museums when I was a child; my mother was typically the person who took us to museums, and she is an artist, not a scientist.

She did take us, a few times, to natural history museums, where I promptly had a nerdgasm over the dinosaurs. I wanted to be a paleontologist; to dig up those bones. I had just seen Indiana Jones, and had a sort of oddly mixed view of the process. I was relatively sure that I could battle Nazis, dig up bones and find artifacts worth thousands of dollars. (Of course, in my mind, I was wearing the fedora and the khakis.)

I had a knee-jerk reaction to the scale of the dinosaurs, as well; the models, pictures and bones were of these huge creatures, dragons in all but name and the ability to breathe fire. It was a mostly unconscious reaction; something about the size, and the reptilian features, and the fact that there were bones right there, as well as a diagram of the relationship between the models and creatures living today. They were still around, the dragons of the past, and in fact I saw a few dinosaur children every day that I was outdoors: birds. I was surrounded by dinosaur children, grandchildren, great grandchildren into the future and back into the distant past, chirping and calling and singing to each other, all day long.

The gift shop had little models to take home, fossils and tiny compressed sponges which expanded into dinosaurs, geodes and other completely awesome things. Even though it was the 'properly' feminine things which, for the most part, I was allowed to have, it has always been the science toys which attracted me.

Without the dinosaurs, I wouldn't have kept browsing in those sections and discovered how much I love science. Dinosaurs (and Indiana Jones movies), for me, were the gateway to loving science.

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