Why dinosaurs will always be cool - even for grown-ups

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom/Universal Pictures.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom/Universal Pictures.  Photo: AP

Simply type the word "dinosaurs" into Reddit and you are taking the first tumble down a rabbit hole that puts Alice in Wonderland to shame.

In a thread titled Showerthoughts, blokefromthesky pondered that "the worst part about being an adult is that no one cares what your favourite dinosaur is".

As we brace – or in my case quiver with excited anticipation – for the next incarnation of the movie franchise spawned by Jurassic Park 25 years ago, parents like me are entitled to ask: Why can't dinosaurs be cool for adults too?

I love dinosaurs. I love the thought that they once roamed the earth and the original Jurassic Park implanted in me the notion that maybe, just maybe, if the science types get their act together we could bring them back to life (even if deep down we know that we shouldn't).

Earlier this year our family was lucky enough to visit Universal Studios in LA and upon taking the travelator down to the area that houses the Jurassic Park ride I broke out in goosebumps as we reached the bottom and heard that unmistakeable soundtrack.

(Dah na na na na, na na na na na, na na, na na na naaaa. Sing along, you know the words.)

The release of Jurassic Word: Fallen Kingdom this week marks the 189th release of a film where a dinosaur features; there have been 106 since Jurassic Park thundered into our movie theatres in 1993 and there are three more currently in production.

But for children, dinosaurs have been a fascination that need not be fanned by the flames of films.

Advertisement

Boys and girls especially of a pre-school age develop a fascination with dinosaurs that psychologists refer to as an "intense interest" and which they say contribute to above-average educational performance when they do enter the school sphere.

As for why kids love dinosaurs so much it is less simple to explain, even for experts who know deep down all kids think they're cool.

My son could pronounce Ankylosaurus (An-kye-low-soar-us), Euoplocephalus (You-oh-plo-seff-a-lus) and Pachycephalosaurus (Packy-seff-ah-lo-soar-us) before he could say his own name.

It was his little party trick and some child psychologists believe that the feeling of being somewhat of an expert in the field compared to their parents only helps to encourage this "intense interest".

Before he ever knew of the existence of dinosaur movies that should in most cases scare the Triceratops dung out of little ones, my son and I would build dinosaur zoos in our backyard using the fencing that had originally kept farmyard animals from straying.

(OK, I may have instigated that particular activity.)

Dinosaurs are monsters that are real, they just aren't real any more. (Hurry up pesky science people.)

Their stature makes them roar-some and those blood-stained razor-sharp teeth part of a horror story we have to classify as educational.

You can't admonish a child for explaining in graphic detail the way a T-Rex would take down a Heterodontasaurus just as you can't discipline them for analysing the food chain that the animal kingdom exists upon.

Or, as one Reddit user commented on a post titled "Why are kids so obsessed with dinosaurs?", "Giant prehistoric creatures that roar and fight each other. You try tell a kid that's not the coolest s*** ever."

Perhaps the hottest of hot takes when it comes to dinosaurs however belongs to the late Christopher Reeve, who narrated a 1985 documentary titled, Dinosaur!

"They're not creatures from museums or fossil beds. They're made of more than rock and sand. They're eternal, because they live in our imagination," he said.

That's right Superman, they're as real and fierce as kids want them to be because their fertile imaginations take prehistoric bones and turn them into living, breathing monsters straddling the realms of fantasy and reality.

At 42 and nine years of age my son and I are supposed to have grown out of our dinosaur phase.

But I'll be doing everything I can to ensure it's an endless fascination that we share, starting with a date with Chris Pratt and a Mosasaurus this weekend.