Dinosaurs and dinosaur lore have fascinated the public consciousness for centuries. The publication of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton in 1990 added fuel to a fire that continues to burn brightly today. Little in the earth sciences has so thoroughly captured our imagination as these complex prehistoric creatures. The recent release of Jurassic World is a testament to their enduring popularity and stokes our dino fever.

dino fever

One of the more interesting aspects of Crichton’s first novel is his layman’s explanation of the supposed science behind genetic engineering coupled with biological theory on dinosaurs. Crichton has a brilliant way of explaining the basics, describing the complicated field of bio-engineering in a way most readers can follow. This allows readers to feel smart and gives us the impression of comprehension. The work is intriguing but as that first Jurassic Park novel reminds us, it’s important to remember the old adage, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

What do we really know about dinosaurs? Where are the lines between science, fact, informed hypothesis, speculation and imaginative storytelling? The first nearly-complete dinosaur skeleton was found in New Jersey in 1838. William Parker Foulke heard about the find and completed the work in 1858. The skeleton was eventually dubbed a Hadrosaur and heavily influenced the popular image of dinosaurs and dinosaur science for years. For whatever reason, dinosaur fever in the United States still glows. The success of the third installment of the Jurassic Park series has movie goers of all ages scrambling to theaters to see dinos in action.

How can we explain the continuing interest in dinosaurs? Their allure, especially to the young, is practically instinctive. Sociologists and child psychologists have many theories. Crichton discusses the phenomenon in his own work. He suggests that children are fascinated by dinosaurs because they represent their parents. Learning about them, especially the language of dinosaurs, is a means of controlling that which they fear. Another suggestion is that dinosaur history began as lore. Early dinosaur bones were imagined as proof of giants, ogres, griffins or dragons. What tales could be spun around a campfire after such a find?

Whatever the reason, Bookmans is always eager to share your dino fever. It’s another way for us to geek out over what we love and dinosaur love is strong. We are glad that these “terrible lizards” exist today only on screen and in museums. Some of us just can’t run that fast and don’t feel like facing a T-Rex on our lunch hour.

* We encourage you to come into our stores to browse all things dino, but remember we can’t guarantee stock. If you are looking for something in particular, please give your nearest Bookmans a call.