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Dinosaurs, discovery, and make-believe

PaleoJoe was at the library today. If you're not familiar with PaleoJoe, which we weren't and likely neither are you, he's exactly what he sounds like: an energetic, entertaining, real, live paleontologist, complete with stereotypical hat. The beard suited him quite nicely, too.

PaleoJoe is a local author, and between book tours (or probably the other way) he's at a site in Utah, digging for dinosaurs. PaleoJoe had just the right amount of scientific information to share, mixed with just the right flavor of humor to make it lively and absorbable. We learned a lot. I, for one, had heard that new thought on the T-Rex paints him as a scavenger or opportunistic hunter, but PaleoJoe gave us all the great arguments for why that would be true. Just ask Calvin and he will likely tell you about that carnivore's poor eyesight, good sense of smell, and brain shape matching that of the scavenging vulture, the opposite of the super hunting eagle. There's a bit about the tiny arms, too, and the danger of running or lunging after the prey you are stalking if you have no arms with which to catch yourself if you fall. We also explored the theory of the great die off and the effects of the volcanic ash from a super eruption.

PaleoJoe brought with him replicas of fossils he'd found, and also so fun dinosaur puppets. A velociraptor with hair? Well, no, but very fine feathers that resemble hair, yes.

PaleoJoe also brought some of his books with him, because this was a book tour, and we are suckers for books.

After PaleoJoe Calvin has an enlivened interest in dinosaurs and digging. Later in the afternoon we visited the park by my parents' house and discovered great dig sites.

And femurs and teeth.

And then, because it's make-believe and can take us anywhere we want, he climbed into his futuristic lab and used the computer to create images of the dinosaurs whose bones he'd found, and shipped them off to schools world-wide for other kids to discover.

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