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Terrible Lizards

December 14, 2009

A long time ago, in a life that seems very far away, I was an archaeologist. Or archaeology student. Or aspiring archaeologist. Whatever you want to call it – I did some fieldwork in New York, some in Denmark and interned at the American Museum of Natural History. For a million reasons (only some of which I mourn) – I am no longer an archaeology person. Instead, I live vicariously through my PhD-student boyfriend who most certainly is a cuter, less-Nazi fighting Indiana Jones.

Most people have never met an archaeologist, so they ask lots of questions. Which is cool – you get to feel like you finally have something interesting to say at dinner parties, and you get to educate people about a field you love. But one of the most irritating questions that I received ALL of the time was “That’s cool! So, you really love dinosaurs?”

Archaeologists don’t dig dinosaurs.  Archaeologists study human culture. And contrary to Flintstonian belief,  humans and dinos did not hang out at Mr. Stone’s quarry together.

But the question always bugged me because I really, really love dinosaurs. How do you answer that? Almost any response could make the questioner feel a little dumb, and if I steer the conversation back to archaeology, I lose the opportunity to talk about dinosaurs!  I have always had a fixated-eight-year-old-boy love for dinos. I collected dino toys, memorized thousands of tidbits of trivia and had imaginary dinosaur friends. The fossils at the museum scared the crap out of me (still do) but those halls are still my favorite place in any museum (except maybe the Temple of Dendur at the Met).

I don’t understand how some people don’t love dinosaurs. I mean – seriously? They have awesome Latin names like “three-horned face” and “deceptive lizard” and have all sorts of neat tools like clubbed tails, and … three-horned faces.  And some of them were freaking tremendous and had itty-bitty hands or were total vegetarians. Bad-asses. In fact, all vegetarians should get shirts with herbivorous dinosaurs and then head-butt anyone who makes a comment about vegetarians being weenies.

Sure, they didn’t make it (although I have some theories that are completely without merit about plesiosaurs and Nessie – I am looking at you, Marshall) but they were here for quite some time, and whenever I think about the extinction I get kind of bummed out.  Luckily, the Discovery Channel indulges my craving for dino gore and giant thighbones (and comparisons of brains to walnuts) every Sunday.

This post has no point, other than I really love dinosaurs. And now – awesome pictures of dinosaurs!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2009 11:30 pm

    Most people don’t know this, but I was obsessed with dinosaurs when I was a kid. In fact, when I was six my parents took me to the Museum of Natural History, and I corrected a tour guide about what one species ate. He loved that, I’m sure.

    Despite an early determination to do so, I didn’t grow up to be a paleontologist (I got distracted by physics or girls or something), but I do stop channel-surfing if there are dinosaurs on Discovery or NatGeo.

  2. December 16, 2009 4:05 pm

    you should check out dinosaur train on PBS Kids.

    it is a really cool show and my three year old and I love it.
    My fave is the Argentinosaurus…freakin’ huge.

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