Lunch Post: Feathered Dino! [UPDATED]

02.19.11

When he was little, Ben knew dozens of dinosaurs with names unpronounceable to any normal adult. He was on a first-name basis with critters that hadn’t yet been found when I was a kid, back in the dark ages when we still used the word Brontosaurus.

Somehow, that knowledge has dripped from his brain, emptied out to make room for more current interests. It’s fascinating to see the pattern repeat, the small-child obsession with dinosaurs metamorphosing into big-kid love of book and movie monsters, as it did with me. But I miss the hours spent on my belly with his vast plastic menagerie of prehistoric beasts (“Chinasaurs,” I call them, their haunches stamped “China” where my childhood dinos bore their names). It was a chance for me to rediscover my love of paleontology, and learn about the amazing things unearthed since the 1970s.

At least *I* still remember the new things I learned with him, that Brontosaurus should properly be called Apatosaurus, that dinosaurs still live among us, in the form of birds, direct descendants of the meat-eating theropods. I can still pronounce Parasaurolophus and Pachycephalosaurus (and decode their Latin-Greek mishmash names). Luckily, there are other nerds with similar interests around here, enough to support the Secret Science Club, where I found myself this past week, in a crowd of hundreds of fellow Brooklyn geeks, drinking Smuttynose IPA and hearing about recent Tyrannosaur discoveries. Tyrannosaurs, I was delighted to find out, had feathers. I raise my bottle. Here’s to you, big, scary, birds. Roar. I have an urge to slash open a pillow, plug in the hot glue gun and dig out the box of Ben’s Chinasaurs….

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