Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dinosaurs vs. Humans

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? I know I do. My first toys were dime store plastic versions of triceratops, dimetrodon, T-rex and brotonsaurus*—all the known species at that point in time (now there are hundreds of known species). These plastic toys fit in well with my cowboys and Indians, and when they fought, the dinosaurs always won. Always.


Because dinosaurs are cool! They have teeth, spikes, claws, horns, clubbed tails, and they were as big as busses, homes.

The concept of mixing people and dinosaurs is a popular one—even though people and dinosaurs are separated by approximately sixty-five million years. I think this is because dinosaurs seem so wild, foreign, and dangerous that it’s fun to wonder about what it would be like to see a dinosaur in person or interact with them, especially considering a dinosaur’s capacity for inspiring awe, fear and perhaps, joy.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for you (human) to spend some quality time mixing with dinosaurs and their kin:

10.   Visit your local natural history museum. Mostly what remains of the dinosaurs today are fossilized bones—but that’s enough to make for a fun and interesting afternoon.

My son at the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota.
It’s small but packed full of dino-goodness.

9.     Dive with the Coelacanths. OK. The coelacanth is not really a dinosaur; it’s a prehistoric fish—one that was not smart enough to die out with its dinosaur buddies. Thought to be extinct for millions of years they’ve been spotted by divers off South Africa.

8.     Hang out with a Tuatara. Again, not a dinosaur, but the last of a species of reptile that was around when dinosaurs walked the earth. They also live to be over 100 years old.

7.     Read Ray Bradbury’s book, Dinosaur Tales. It contains classics like, “The Fog Horn” and “The Sound of Thunder.”

6.       Watch “One Million Years B.C.”
Raquel Welch in this famous swimsuit—

--running from Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion dinosaurs.

5.     Find an elementary school student and read, “The Enormous Egg.” What would happen if you raised a pet dinosaur from an egg?

4)     Curl up in front of your TV and DVD player and watch Nigel Marvin’s “Chased by Dinosaurs” series. You’ll believe dinosaurs are real as Nigel runs for his life from them. Fabulous stuff! (My wife got to meet him once briefly and apparently he is a nice guy—the dinosaurs had no ill effect on him.)

Side note: The scariest thing I ever saw him do was handle a king cobra live on Conan O’Brien’s show – it got loose for a moment and seemed to be heading for the audience.

3)    Visit your local comic book store and pick up a back issue of “Turok, Son of Stone.” Dinosaurs vs. Indians at it’s best. 

2)     Check out another Ray Harryhausen classic, “Valley of the Gwangi.” Dinosaurs vs. Cowboys.  Allosaurus vs. Elephant, FYI.

1)     Go see Jurassic Park in 3D (It’s playing in IMAX, now). Or better yet, find the Michael Crichton book that inspired it. My fav moment in the movie.

Human/Dinosaur Honorable mentions:
Johnny Quest cartoon, “Turu” episode.
Land of the Lost TV show (terrible effects)
The comic and short lived TV cartoon, Cadillac’s and Dinosaurs
Jurassic Park II & III movies
The Lost World by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle
The Lost World by Michael Crichton
(I could go on and on and on)

So apparently we’re obsessed with dinosaurs and humans, and for plenty of reasons. First and foremost dinosaurs make great entertainment. But in addition, I believe that those who fail to remember (pre)history are doomed to repeat it.

The dinosaurs and I thank you for reading~


 (*yeah, that’s what we called them, then. None of this Apatosaurus crap.)

Note: All images in this post were added through inline linking to the original sites--check them out! This was done to honor those great people and their appreciation for all things human/dinosaur. 


Jon said...

Hey, great post. Even better examples. I was going to remind you that you forgot one though and post a link to the intro to Land of the Lost... but I couldn't get the HTML tag to work... annoying.

Anyway! Here:

Jon said...

Although on second pass, I see you mentioned it in the Honorable Mentions...

Mark Teats said...

Jon, I couldn't forget "Land of the Lost."

The more I think on this topic, the more movies/books/shows come to mind. "Primeval" (TV show) is one I should have put on the list.

Morgan was quick to point out that "Godzilla" fits this concept, and I think the dinosaur aspect of "King Kong" does, too.

Lisa said...

Nice post, Mark.
Just this week I was walking by a large bank of windows at work, outside of which a gigantic back hoe was very elegantly levering up. And I had the most vivid image of a dinosaur replacing it. My mind went on a jolly little quest, imagining dinosaurs in Loring park, meandering through downtown.