8 November 2018

Waiting to give Jen a lift home yesterday, I was listening to a podcast about dragons. Tales of these mythical creatures, which crop up in many cultures from Wales to China, must surely have been inspired by finds of mysterious, but very real fossil bones of extinct, giant, prehistoric animals.

As I gazed across the car park, I tried to envisage just how big certain dinosaurs would have looked against a modern backdrop. All very Jurassic Park. Idle thoughts of that sort can give you nightmares.

That night, I dreamt thousands of plesiosaurs were fishing off Pier Head in Liverpool. It was wonderful to watch them dolphining in schools. In my dream, I wondered what they were hunting. Perhaps the ammonites had made an equally miraculous return! Then, as Jen and I sat on a bench somewhere, another, extremely large, plesiosaur flew directly overhead. I remarked how much easier it was to appreciate the length of their necks when you could see their whole bodies like this. And then I woke up.

I’m sure any palaeontologist reading this would be quick to point out plesiosaurs were not, technically speaking, dinosaurs. But what do they know? In all their years of scientific study, have they ever managed to work out plesiosaurs could fly?

Plesiosaur fossil

Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. He is currently working on a book about looking at the world through Darwin’s eyes.Website · Newsletter · Mastodon · Facebook

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