NICKY Dee devotes her time to writing about dinosaurs.
Her desire to give children the most up-to-date information in a fun and engaging way led to the creation of book series What’s So Special About Dinosaurs? Nicky tells Tracey Bryce the Honest Truth about the prehistoric creatures…
Tell us about your interest in dinosaurs.
I’m hooked! Until I fell into the world of dinosaurs seven years ago, the word dinosaur had barely crossed my lips. Now I can’t get enough. Spreading dinosaur joy is now my full-time career and I love it!
Why do kids love dinosaurs?
As imagination-engines, they spark a thirst for learning as kids want to discover more about these creatures that are so different and much, much larger than anything alive today.
Why did you write the books?
My mission is to tell the world that T.rex and the few that have made it into Hollywood and Disney films weren’t the only dinosaurs to have lived.
New species are being discovered every week. Did you know that over 1000 have been discovered so far?
Did you have help from a dinosaur expert?
I’m very lucky to be working with an amazingly talented palaeontologist called Dean R. Lomax who has access to the latest scientific papers to check every fact that I write.
How did you simplify the information to make it more appealing to a younger audience?
The bite-size chunks of text are written in child-friendly language and dinosaur names are spelled out phonetically.
The colourful pages and simple graphics make the books easy to read and the comparisons with buses, bicycles and doors make it simple for kids to appreciate just how big (or small) the dinosaurs were.
When were dinosaurs in existence?
The age of the dinosaurs began 231 million years ago.
It lasted until 66 million years ago when the mass extinction took place. Humans first appeared just three million years ago, so we’re very new in evolutionary terms.
Can you tell us some interesting facts about dinosaurs that we might not already know?
Dinosaurs are not extinct. They are still among us today. Birds actually evolved from dinosaurs.
At the beginning of the age of the dinosaurs, all the land on earth was stuck together in one supercontinent called Pangea, so the dinosaurs could have walked from one side of the world to the other without getting their feet wet!
Will I find one in my back garden?
Fossils could be found in lots of places. In fact, many of the greatest discoveries have been made by chance.
In 1990, Sue Hendrikson was part of a group searching for fossils in South Dakota, USA. When they discovered the truck had a flat tyre, she waited behind – and stumbled across the largest and most complete T.rex skeleton to be discovered.
If she hadn’t waited behind, who knows how long the fossil would have remained undiscovered?
Where have they all gone?
The most popular theory is that the impact of a 10km wide meteor crashing into the sea just off the Yukatan Peninsula, Mexico, set off an irreversible chain reaction of events which had a catastrophic effect on the dinosaurs.
Which was the brainiest dinosaur?
The brainiest of all, so far, was the Troodon, a 2m long carnivore. One of the dumbest could have been the Stegosaurus with a body almost the size of a bus, the head the size of a horse and a brain the size of a walnut.
What’s next for you?
Another book, The Bone Wars, telling the story about how palaeontology began. It’s out next year.
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