There’s something incredibly fascinating about dinosaurs, and they usually capture our imagination for the first time when we’re still very young.
The fact they don’t exist anymore, that some of them are huge, terrifying monsters, that they look like they were created by someone’s imagination all adds to their mystery, captivating generation after generation.
By the time I was four I could name over 30 species of dinosaur, if you were to ask me now I could barely scrape together five.
According to research this early obsession means I’m a genius, although I’m not sure what my subsequent decline in dino knowledge says about me - I guess I can add ‘former child genius’ to my LinkedIn at the very least?
Being obsessive can bring numerous benefits to kids, with the study by the University of Indiana and the University of Wisconsin showing that ‘intense interest’ can help boost their linguistic skills, as well as improve attention, enhance perseverance, and enhance skills of complex thinking, like the processing of information.
On top of that, it suggests the way children study the prehistoric creatures actually helps them develop strategies to tackle problems throughout their lives - better than those who don’t - and it’s a good indicator of higher understanding in younger kids.
And don’t worry if your child isn’t that bothered about velociraptors and pterodactyls, it’s not only dinosaurs that are mentioned in the study, it can be fascination with any topic - a keen interest in motor vehicles is apparently the most desirable.
Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara told CNN:
I think for many of these children, that's their first taste of mastery, of being an expert in something and having command of something their parent or coach or doctor doesn't know. It makes them feel powerful. Their parent may be able to name three or four dinosaurs and the kid can name 20, and the kid seems like a real authority.
That’s me, a washed-up ex-child genius who’s lost his authority. Stegosaurus, diplodocus, tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptor, pterodactyl - that’s all I’ve got left of my legacy.