Wednesday, 16 May 2007

FREAKY FACTS... This one's for Simon

THE dinosaur age is a passing phase.
It tends to hit kids, mostly boys, between the ages of seven and 13. Any longer and you could have a palaeontologist on your hands.
My husband wasn’t and isn’t a fan of the Rex family. He’s not an anti-evolutionist, it’s just that he doesn’t get the fascination with big beasts from millions of years back.
He prefers the Brutus maximums of the oval ball-throwing kind.
Our nephew in Lower Hutt, however, loves anything Jurassic. He can recite a whole list of spiny-saurus creatures from 213 to 144 million back.
In this family, we prefer their mythical look-alikes – dragons. But I was a follower of the Flintstones, although our Dino has always been a dog.
This week’s Five Freaky Facts are for Simon, and his mega-minded mates.
1) The word dinosaur actually means “fearful lizard”, and was first used by Englishman Sir Richard Owen in the 1840s when reporting on British fossil reptiles.
2) Not all dinosaurs were big. The carnivore, Compsognathus, which walked the earth about 131 million years ago, was about the size of a chicken.
3) The largest was the plant-eating Brachiosaurus, with a long neck and tail. It weighed about 31,480kg, stood 14 metres tall and was about 22 metres long.
4) In terms of life spans, we would playfully describe them as dinosaurs. Scientists believe that some dinosaurs lived for up to 300 years.
5) We know the movies Jurassic Park and King Kong are pure fantasy, especially because they mix their monsters. No Stegosaurus ever saw a Tyrannosaurus – the former having been extinct for about 80 million years before the new tyranny arrived.
Also, the Brontosaurus was a fossil before the T. rex appeared on the scene.

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