An 8-year-old from Minneapolis lately identified a giant drawback with NPR's oldest information present, All Issues Thought of. Leo Shidla wrote to his native NPR station:
My title is Leo and I'm 8 years outdated. I take heed to All Issues Thought of within the automobile with mother. I pay attention loads.
I by no means hear a lot about nature or dinosaurs or issues like that. Possibly it's best to name your present Newsy issues Thought of, since I do not get to listen to about all of the issues. Or please discuss extra about dinosaurs and funky issues.
Leo has a degree. All Issues Thought of is about to show 50 years outdated. NPR's archivists discovered the phrase "dinosaur" showing in tales 294 occasions within the present's historical past. By comparability, "senator" has appeared 20,447 occasions.
To treatment the state of affairs, All Issues Thought of invited Leo to ask some questions on dinosaurs to Ashley Poust, a analysis affiliate on the San Diego Pure Historical past Museum. Leo needs to be a paleontologist when he grows up.
What's your favourite a part of the job?
"The factor that is the best for me is discovery," Poust says. "There's nothing higher than being out within the area, determining the place to go after which trying down and eventually discovering a little bit of a dinosaur protruding of a hill."
Being a paleontologist additionally means he will get to work "with lots of actually totally different, actually attention-grabbing folks," Poust provides. "But additionally that trade of ideas and concepts like we're doing proper now leads you to provide you with actually neat concepts in regards to the historical past of the world and about these superb animals."
Have you ever found a dinosaur?
"I've," Poust says. "I'd say that I hope to seek out many extra sooner or later, however I have been in a position to title just a few actually cool fossil animals. A few of these have been found by different folks within the technique of doing fieldwork and even building. I lately named a dinosaur Wulong, from China. And that was found by farmers. I personally have gotten to do some actually cool fieldwork in locations like Montana and again in China, and I discovered issues starting from Tyrannosaurus enamel to dinosaur eggs."
Leo's favourite dinosaur is Concavenator. How huge was it?
Poust describes Concavenator as a "actually attention-grabbing animal with enormous bones protruding proper up in entrance of its hips that give it this actually sharp sail."
"It is a bit smaller than, say, your T. rex or your Spinosaurus," Poust says. "A very tall individual may need been in a position to look it within the eye, but when it reared up, it may simply shadow you. And it might be actually scary."
How did dinosaurs develop to be so huge and why aren't people and mammals the dimensions of dinosaurs as we speak?
"These are the forms of questions that preserve paleontologists up at night time," Poust says. "One factor is that dinosaurs are constructed totally different. They've bizarre bones in comparison with mammals. Big long-neck dinosaurs, sauropods, even have enormous holes which might be crammed with probably air-like sacs. And in order that lightens their our bodies and possibly offers them structural energy. Additionally they develop totally different.
"And so mammals, after all, do not come from eggs," he says. "Now we have to lift them and we're famously depending on our dad and mom. Possibly dinosaurs may lay a lot of eggs and depart them and go lay a lot of eggs some place else.
"Additionally they grew actually rapidly. And so possibly they're in a position to develop to those huge sizes by being fairly energetic. And that is one in every of my favourite areas of analysis.
"In order that they have been constructed totally different. They develop totally different, however possibly they are not that totally different. Mammals get fairly huge. Whales which might be alive as we speak are as huge as something the dinosaurs ever produced. And so do not sleep on whales."
NPR One made a playlist of tales particularly for Leo and another NPR listeners needing extra consideration of "dinosaurs and funky issues." Pay attention right here.
Artwork Silverman and Justine Kenin produced the audio model of this story. James Doubek produced for the Net.