The Way of the Dinosaur

I have decided that my new chat-up line will be “What is your favourite dinosaur?”

There are many reasons for this. The most obvious reason is that it allows me to gauge the level of knowledge which a potential romantic partner has regarding extinct prehistoric reptiles.

For example, if a woman were to reply: “What are you talking about?” then it would be quite clear to me that there would be no point in pursuing any sort of romantic endeavour. What use is anyone who does not even have a basic knowledge of dinosaurs (and I mean that in a general sense, not merely in the context of ridiculous dating criteria)?

If the woman were to reply: “Oh, Brontosaurus!” then she would also be of no interest to me. Anyone who knows anything about dinosaurs knows that Brontosaurus is a scientifically redundant synonym of Apatosaurus. If the woman had qualified this, explaining that originally Apatosaurus excelsus had been named Brontosaurus excelsus (prior to almost all scientists deciding that the Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus specimens belong in the same genus), but that the name “thunder lizard” sounds better than “deceptive lizard”, then there might be some slim hope of me buying her a drink, but this seems unlikely in the extreme (especially as “deceptive lizard” is WAY cooler).

Fear my deception

Of course, it could be that the potential date has seen Jurassic Park, and so may try to be clever by saying “Velociraptor”. This in itself isn’t so bad – Velociraptor was actually pretty awesome – but if she thinks that Velociraptors in real life were anywhere near the size of those portrayed in Jurassic Park, then we may have some problems. Further questioning would be required for this answer. Perhaps some comparisons to Deinonychus or Utahraptor, just to see if she really does know what she’s talking about.

Of course, it could be that the lady in question doesn’t know too much about dinosaurs, but she knows enough, and has some additional praiseworthy knowledge to counterbalance her lack of palaeontological know-how. Mathematics knowledge for example. I mean, if a girl were to say “My favourite dinosaur is Stegosaurus,” I might at first brush her off and lose interest. If, however, she were to continue with “because he looks like a graph of normal distribution, but with spikes on,” then I would definitely be interested in pursuing this one.

Velociraptor was only the size of a small dog

So it could be that the object of my potential affection does know a fair amount about dinosaurs. Maybe her favourite is one of the Ornithomimidae, like Gallimimus, Ornithomimus or Dromiceiomimus (which of course would require another taxonomic debate on the legitimacy of the name). Perhaps she likes Styracosaurus, because he’s the “Spinal Tap” of the ceratopsians (his horns go up to 11). Maybe she likes Tyrannosaurus Rex, but only if he was covered in feathers and was a carrion feeder rather than the predator he is often made out to be. Or perhaps she favours one of the lesser known Tyrannosaurs, such as Daspletosaurus or Gorgosaurus.

The best answer anyone could give would of course be “oooh, good question! Are we talking about pradatory instinct, intelligence, sheer size? Hmmm, there’s lots that I like, but I’m hard pushed to pick one. Maybe $dinosaur, or perhaps $another_dinosaur, but then if $dinosaur and $another_dinosaur lived in the same time period, on the same land mass, perhaps it would be different…” Not only does this imply that they are well versed in The Way of the Dinosaur, but also that they appreciate that there are numerous different factors involved in assessing which dinosaur (or anything, for that matter) might be “best”.

I’m still single.

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