Walking with Dinosaurs

dinosaurIt seems like this was my week to see old stuff...expensive fossils on Monday, and yesterday, a dinosaur exhibit at the National Museum of Nature and Science Tokyo.

This will probably come as no surprise, but I was obsessed with dinosaurs and other prehistoric life forms when I was a kid. I devoured every dinosaur book in every library and bookstore that I came across, and I probably spent hundreds of hours digging through gravel, mountain rocks, river beds, construction sites, etc. for fossils. (I found a lot!)

I drew dinosaurs at school (usually during reading and grammar classes), and dreamed up all sorts of little projects to pursue in lieu of doing homework. When I visited Washington DC...straight to the dinosaur exhibit.

...so seeing the dino displays at the museum yesterday brought back a flood of fond memories.

The were a number of dinosaurs on display. True to form, I gravitated to the ones with big teeth and sharp claws, giving only a casual glance to the duck-like, pacifist "veggisaursuses".

The one at the top of this post was the first to greet visitors to the hall. It's a Cryolophosaurus ellioti (can you hear me saying "cooooooolllllllll" as I walked in?).

And the ones below are a pack of Mapusaurus roseae. We listened to a brief talk by one of the researchers, who explained how our interpretation of these dinosaurs has changed over the past couple of decades.


He wasn't a great speaker, but he showed some illustrations from textbooks in the late 80s and early 90s that made these guys look like uncoordinated, dopey Barneys...which underscored just how off-the-mark researchers were only a few years ago, and how "accepted truth" at any given time can look really stupid with the passage of a little time.

We now view these and other similar dinosaurs as intelligent, agile, bad-a** pack-hunters...something probably much closer to what they were really like.

There were many other dinosaurs on display, including some flying reptiles that looked like they couldn't possibly walk, much less take to the air, but these guys with the big teeth were the stars of the show...the ones that left me saying "cooooollllllll" all the way back home.