SHARJAH – Dinosaurs are often depicted as fierce creatures, baring their teeth, moving like colossal deranged lizards. Talking to a packed audience full of curious school children at the Book Forum, during the 37th Sharjah International Book Fair was Dr Ben
SHARJAH – Dinosaurs are often depicted as fierce creatures, baring their teeth, moving like colossal deranged lizards. Talking to a packed audience full of curious school children at the Book Forum, during the 37th Sharjah International Book Fair was Dr Ben Garrod who is an English evolutionary biologist, primatologist and broadcaster.
“There is no definition of a Dinosaur. That’s because the problem is that there are so many of them. There were thousand species of dinosaurs. Some had the head that was taller than this building, some had four legs and some had two. Some could swim, some could jump and some could fly. With so many different types of animals, in science, they didn’t have anyone definition,” said Dr Ben.
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles that first appeared some 230 million years ago. The origin and timing of their evolution is the subject of active research. Dinosaurs’ types are many and varied, from small bird-like creatures to the largest animals ever to walk on Earth. It has been the subject of blockbuster films, history museum exhibits and much more.
The first dinosaur was recognized in the 19th century and ever since dinosaurs have been the source of many questions. Comparing scientists to detectives Dr Ben said, “We have to turn into investigators and look for clues on our fossils. Now fossils don’t even need to be broken open, there are millions of CT scans and X-rays and great technology is available to look inside. Now technology is so much better. That means we know about dinosaurs than ever before”.
Teaching students about clues to identify dinosaurs Dr Ben further said, “If you have an incredible fossil with clues like two holes at the back of the skull and short little legs and legs that are straight underneath their body… you’ve got a dinosaur”. He then screened pictures of different kinds of dinosaurs like Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex, Diplodocus, Coelophysis from over 700 different species explaining their varying brain size from a walnut as in the case of Stegosaurus to the more intelligent and smart ones like Gigantoraptor. He explained how the modern bird is connected to the prehistoric creature and how a new dinosaur species have been unearthed in Argentina.
The session concluded with giggling children sharing videos of these lumbering, foul-tempered creatures gasping from footstep to footstep. Now, that they’re extinct, people can make fun of them as much as they please. They have also been the perfect subject of many memes. Dinosaurs have been dead for tens of millions of years, they can’t fight back, and they can’t hire a lawyer to sue us for copyright violation.