An Ode to Parasaurolophus
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
Tonight at about 1am, on the morning of Monday 28th May, I saw this tweet on my Twitter feed:
(don't ask me why I was awake at this time - I have no idea!)
Anyway, this tweet had a profound affect on me. Through all the politics, argument threads and internet flame wars, these 2 sentences gave me a serene sense of clarity that only the truth can bestow.
Because it is true.
No one, in my whole adult life, has asked me what my favourite dinosaur is.
Now growing up, as I did, with what was arguably the pinnacle of BBC documentaries, “Walking with Dinosaurs‘, and being, aged 8, what is termed in common parlance as “a massive nerd”, my favourite dinosaur is relatively obscure. Those of you who pay attention to titles may have guessed it.
Meet Parasaurolophus, you're friendly, neighbourhood hadrosaur!
This not-so-little guy really captured my imagination. It's large head crest and beaked mouth are weird and alien. Plus it was a herbivore, and it's easier to be endeared to a creature when you know you wouldn't be on it's lunch menu. It was kind of like the cool looking, reptilian cow of it's time.
“But Michaela,” I hear you ask, “what's a ‘friendly, neighbourhood hadrosaur’?”
Well, “hadrosaurs” are also known as “duck-billed dinosaurs” because of the bones on their muzzles, which looked like duck beaks. They could also run on their two longer hind legs. You heard of Iguanodon? That's a hadrosaur, too.
As for the “friendly, neighbourhood” part? I guess they took Barney Friends to heart.
Parasaurolophus is not my only love in the plethora of non-avian dinosaurs; I also have a soft spot for Diplodocus, Leaellynasaura and Pachycephalosaurus, to name but a few (I wasn't joking - I was super into dinosaurs when I was a kid).
But, as random as this blog post about dinosaurs is, I think there's something fun about owning ‘childish’ passion and wonder and awe. The adult world tells us theirs more important, grown-up, adult things to think about. There's no time to talk about our favourite ancient creatures, and getting excited about things that aren't in our lives right now is stupid and trivial.
But I would argue otherwise.
To say that there is no room for even a glimpse of our childhood passions risks us loosing ourselves in our adult lives. Swept away on the tide of jobs and rent and bills and drudgery. And I think dinosaurs optimises that childhood wonder; I doubt there are many adults who didn't have a favourite dinosaur when they were a kid.
And even though I'm not going to use my dino knowledge professionally (unless my one-woman stage adaptation of “The Land Before Time” gets picked up), it's been fun thinking about those ancient animals that fascinated me then, and discovering that they still fascinate me now.
So, what's your favourite dinosaur?