How did your love for dinosaurs “evolve”? Mine began, obviously (if you know me at all) with the original Land Before Time film, one of the earliest films I have memory of watching. With Jurassic Park, my fascination would increase tenfold, and I wonder if paleontology as a topic is something that would have interested me further as a child, had I not attended a Catholic school in the 90s, with a library and curriculum completely devoid of books on the topic.
The potential reason for the absence would not hit home until, when I was eleven years old, one of my schoolmates (a little girl who, while not especially smart, was widely known as being the hardest worker in the class) decided to do her homework assignment on evolution, and was roundly yelled at by the teacher in front of all of us.
In four years, I had not seen her be scolded once, and the teacher’s reaction seemed incomprehensible to all of us. The absolute consternation in her tear-stained little face stayed with me all of these years. Back then, evolution was a concept I knew of, which went in the same “field” in my head as dinosaurs. Neither was a topic that had been covered in school, and while I hadn’t understood why, it wasn’t until then that I realized it went against doctrine to even discuss it.
In Argentina, where I lived at the time, it felt like everyone around me was Catholic, or just about. Whether in or outside of school, I never had the opportunity to learn more about dinosaurs. My love for them would lie dormant until I arrived to the US, and had more resources. My knowledge expanded, but far too slowly. I was still heavily religious and struggled with many topics that the study of natural history exposed me to –topics which made me contemplate possibilities that I was not ready to accept.
So my fascination would not REALLY come into its own until rather recently, starting about three years ago, when I began to open up to my potential agnosticism/atheism, something that had been in my mind in some shape or form since I was twelve, and which I finally fully and joyfully accepted a bit over a year ago. Then, with no more scales in my eyes, I jumped into all sorts of science topics like a ravenous animal, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube channels and documentaries, expanding my library and my knowledge and learning about our world, how it may have come to be, and above all, about dinosaurs.
Yes, we come back to dinosaurs, finally.
I finally began to learn stuff beyond the one form of content I’d been exposed to (movies). Every single day, I either read or watch or listen to something new. My studio now has dinosaurs anywhere you look, as does my wardrobe, and other parts of the house, such as our game shelf, my library, the porch, and even the master bedroom. Were you to ask any friend or family member what is something they think of when they think of me, dinosaurs are probably high on the list, because I never shut up about the things, and there is SO much for me to learn. I have so much lost time to make up for. There are so many books to read, podcasts to listen to, movies to watch (fantastical and science based) and more, so much more.
I am, at my core, an animal lover. Dinosaurs are simply more animals to love –but especially fascinating ones, tinged with a bit of bittersweetness, because most are no longer here. But they were: this same Earth they walked on, I walk on. And that connection fascinates me.
And have I mentioned that I love ALL dinosaurs? “Movie monster” ones. Closer to scientifically accurate ones that keep evolving as our knowledge improves. Good documentaries, mediocre documentaries. New, old. Great Jurassic Park/World movies, “bad” Jurassic Park/World movies. CGI, cartoon, anime. Give it to me. Give it all to me.
Feathery, scaly, big, small, colorful or not, realistic, fantastical. New books full of new knowledge on dinosaurs, old books filled with outdated but fascinating takes on them. I love it all. I love paleontology. I love natural history. And I. LOVE. DINOSAURS.
This was quite the ramble, but something I wanted to share today. If you love dinosaurs too, then you are already partly my friend, and I wish you a very Happy Dinosaur Day!