Review: So You Think You Know About Dinosaurs
PUBLISHED: 10:22 06 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:06 06 February 2017
I stupidly thought being a bit of an animal expert and having a good shared knowledge of dinosaurs with my eight-year-old son would stand me in good stead for watching So You Think You Know About Dinosaurs at the Playhouse in Weston-super-Mare on Friday.
But I was sadly wrong - it turns out I know a lot less than rows full of clued-up young dinosaur geeks and most of mine and my family’s education was based on a diet of Jurassic Park and my personal favourite, Ray Harryhausen films while growing up, instead of reference books.
So now I finally know the difference between sauropods and theropods, which dinosaurs are not actually dinosaurs, the ones which are still alive today including chickens - yes, you heard right - chickens - and that T-Rex looked and sounded more like a ginger bird than the ferocious, teeth-baring, roaring, gigantic monster we have grown up thinking it to be. And it is all thanks to a fun, imaginative, thought-provoking and relatively intimate talk, plus question and answer session with dino expert Ben Garrod, a scientist who has worked with the legend that is David Attenborough on BBC TV’s Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur. With the help of TV film footage from Planet Dinosaur and photos of his own paleontological dinosaur digs, he helped his audience tell the story of how dinosaurs lived, why they looked the way they did, what they ate, why a lot of them were quite big and most importantly, how we know all this.
Making an educational talk not feel like being at school is no easy feat but one which Dr Garrod pitched perfectly, pitting the knowledge of unwitting parents against their all-knowing kids and listening patiently to youngsters’ drawn out replies to his probing questions. He also seemed genuinely pleased and somewhat surprised at the sheer extent of some of the children’s knowledge - encouraging them to further explore and feed their keen interest and filling them with hope that perhaps pursuing a future career in science and paleontology, in particular, is well within their reach.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable and captivating two hours and my son and his friend were completely hooked throughout and I would urge anyone to catch the show next time around.