Like so many others, my family definitely went through the stage where spending every weekend visiting Dippy at the Natural History Museum in London was essential. (Top tip – the side door has a far shorter queue than the front door). By the way, if you’re keen to meet Dippy he (is it a he?) is on tour – here’s his schedule where to meet Dippy – he’s currently in Newcastle and next stop is Cardiff.
So I was curious about this dinosaur book, plus I was keen to hear the weekly podcast iknowdino for some serious dinosaur facts.
Taking the podcast first, there are an astonishing 253 episodes in the series which I hoped would keep even the most dino-obsessed youngster happy for a while, but whilst interesting, the podcast is serious stuff so really not young-child friendly, and this is (mostly) a kids blog!
Anyway, on to the book 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 More Discoveries From the Golden Age of Dinos
The first thing I didn’t know is that we’ve recently discovered new types of dinosaurs, so the 50 in his book are NOT the standard triceratops etc. Great!
The book is a mixture of short stories and facts. Given this is an unusual combo, Sabrina Ricci kindly agreed I could share this excerpt: the story of Weewarrasaurus pobeni, a dinosaur whose bones were opalized.
I’m interested to know what you think? I think it would be a great resource for the school library, but where to display it? The non-fiction section? Here you go …
Look to the right. Nothing. Good. Look to the left. Still nothing. Good. Tilt head back to the right. What’s that crackling sound? Just a fellow Weewarrasaurus pobeni taking a step. Good.
Weewarrasaurus has been on guard for hours with her brother and sister, watching over her family’s territory. The three ornithopods stand in a semicircle, ready to sound the alarm at any moment, if necessary.
The rest of her family is busy foraging for food. Weewarrasaurus doesn’t mind. She has an important job: to keep her family safe. After her shift ends, she will be able to eat.
They are in a particularly lush area. Sweet, fresh vegetation is everywhere. Weewarrasaurus knows that she won’t have any problem finding a snack later.
Like the rest of her family, Weewarrasaurus is a small animal, and living in a group has a lot of advantages. Someone is always watching for threats, so it’s safe to concentrate on finding food. If there are any threats, Weewarrasaurus can band together and show their strength in numbers. At night, everyone cuddles for warmth.
Most of the time, guard duty is uneventful, but it is also exhausting. Weewarrasaurus is on constant alert, looking in all directions and listening for any unusual sounds. Even normal sounds require scrutiny. A small splash could be her brother taking a drink or a potential predator dipping its toes into her family’s usual watering hole.
To be an effective sentry, Weewarrasaurus must stand upright on two legs, her head held high. She likes to stand on her toes to get the best view. Weewarrasaurus never takes a break, not even when her legs feel tired. Her job is too important.
Weewarrasaurus hears a smacking sound. She turns her head and sees her brother chewing on a plant. He’s on all fours and has used his beak to crop off a few tender leaves. Weewarrasaurus moves to his side and smacks him with her tail—a warning that he should respect his duties.
He flinches and stares at her for a moment, still chewing. Then he swallows and stands up straight.
Weewarrasaurus moves back to her post and looks away from him to show her disapproval. She has a reputation in the family for being a reliable guard, and she doesn’t want her brother to ruin it.
Luckily, her duties are almost done for the day. The sun is low in the sky, and the foraging family members are looking full.
Weewarrasaurus looks over to her mother, the leader of their group, for a sign that they’re ready to go home. Her mother notices the sun and lets out a quick grunt. Everyone stops feeding and lifts their heads. As a unit, they start to move back to their home for the night.
Weewarrasaurus quickly bends down into a quadrupedal position and heads to the nearest plant. She picks off as many leaves as she can with her beak. Once her mouth is full, she runs to catch up with the rest of the group, chewing as she goes. Her brother and sister follow.
Weewarrasaurus is satisfied. Another job well done.
- Weewarrasaurus pobeni was an ornithopod that lived in the Late Cretaceous in what is now New South Wales, Australia.
- Weewarrasaurus fossils were preserved in green-blue opal.
- Weewarrasaurus had teeth and a beak to eat vegetation.
- The genus name Weewarrasaurus refers to Wee Warra, where the holotype was found.
- The species name pobeni is in honor of Mike Poben, an opal dealer who first recognized the fossil when it was in a bag of rough opals he got from miners. He donated the fossil to the Australian Opal Center.
“Gualicho takes a bite out of the ornithopod’s back as it runs away from her, causing it to stumble and fall. She jumps on top of the body and rips open its neck with her teeth. The ornithopod becomes still and limp.
Satisfied, Gualicho begins to feast. But, after only two bites, she senses something is wrong. She lifts her head and sees a Mapusaurus making its way toward her.”
About 50 Dinosaur Tales
Blending fiction with fact, 50 Dinosaur Tales imagines the way 50 newly described dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous lived in their natural habitats.
Also included is a list of fun facts for each dinosaur story, and facts about 108 additional dinosaurs.
If you want to hear more about new dinosaurs as soon as they are discovered, listen to the weekly podcast I Know Dino.
Sabrina is a writer and podcaster. She loves nerdy things, like technical specs and dinosaurs, especially sauropods. When she’s not writing, she’s podcasting with her husband at I Know Dino(iknowdino.com), a weekly show about dinosaurs.
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