How I Fell in Love with Dinosaurs

Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs: Vintage Dinosaur Art: Life Through The Ages

Y’know what’s funny? Technically speaking, this animal isn’t even a dinosaur. It’s a plesiosaur, a contemporary of the dinosaurs. But this painting of a plesiosaur–now reposing, I’m told, in the Milwaukee Museum–totally haunted my early childhood and gave me an unquenchable, lifelong desire to explore the prehistoric world.

(I just noticed I’m sitting here in a Jurassic Park T-shirt.)

This illustration can be found in The Golden Treasury of Natural History by Bertha Morris Parker, who will always be one of my heroes. Another one of my heroes, my Uncle Bernie, sat me on his lap and read to me out of that wonderful book. That he butchered the dinosaurs’ names, I didn’t care in the least.

Here’s another funny thing: for some time after first seeing it in the book (a full-page illustration), I was convinced this animal still lived. Somewhere out there in the ocean, it was still swimming.

Here’s another one of those illustrations, this one depicting Dimetrodon–again, not a dinosaur; but always lumped in with them.

The Golden Treasury of Natural History – Looky

Now I know the pictures are only pictures imagined by an artist, not real–but oh yes they are! I’ve seen these creatures in my dreams.

I wonder where the LORD is keeping them.

11 comments on “How I Fell in Love with Dinosaurs

  1. Nice pictures — even though the artist has made the dimetrodons look like grumpy old men!

  2. I visited Milwaukee’s Museum many times when I lived there. If you are ever in Milwaukee, visit its museum with its many wonderful dioramas and exhibits. The exhibit “The Streets of Old Milwaukee” is a large walk through of 19th century downtown, complete with cobble stone streets, large trees and shops, some, where you can buy things sold during that time period, and the T Rex diorama, with a life size Rex eating a vanquished triceratops, were always my favorites.

    My love for those creatures began when my mother read to me my favorite bedtime story, “Dinosaurs,” book number 355, from the collection of Little Golden Books. As I grew older, I discovered the immensely popular 48-page “How and Why Wonder Book” series, which many my age will remember fondly. With beautifully illustrated cover art, there were 74 unique titles, but my all-time favorite children’s book was “Dinosaurs.” I dreamed about dinosaurs, had many plastic figurines, drew those creatures, and made models of them out of clay. I watched every movie about those beasts I could. “King Kong,” the 1939 movie, is still one of my all time favorite movies.

  3. Yes you did. Thank you.

    And just think, it wasn’t until I moved to the Philippines and was in my sixties before I knew I was able to carve dinosaur figurines out of wood.

  4. It’s hard to imagine what that must have been like, to have such immense beasts walking the land, doing their own thing. It speaks to our Creator’s grandeur, that such a thing could be made. The Behemoth, mentioned in Job, is thought be some to be describing a sauropod. Imagine seeing something like that in the wild. It goes beyond anything we’ve ever experienced. I got to walk up to a Boeing 747 once, from ramp level, and the size of it was, from that perspective, was breathtaking. Imagine a living breathing animal, the size of a sauropod; it would be an amazing thing to experience.

    1. Exactly. Beyond that, a large building with a mind of its own. I don’t imagine that sauropods were highly intellectual creatures, but if they had an idea, it was probably pretty hard to keep them from carrying it out.

    2. There is a recent movie (the name slips my mind), where whole cities move, and gobble up smaller ones.

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