Expert view on ever-popular dinosaurs

IT’S more than 230 million years since dinosaurs walked their first steps.

For the next 160 million years they ruled the planet.

But despite becoming extinct around 65 million years ago the fascination with them remains.

Expert Noel Jackson explained: “Dinosaurs are still very popular with youngsters and to be perfectly honest no-one really understands why.

“Their appearance does tie in with that of a dragon which youngsters find quite fascinating and, of course, they have these very strange names.

“For many kids as well, they are these enormous animals which they have only seen on television or in books.”

Mr Jackson, the head of education at the Centre of Life, in Newcastle, traced dinosaurs back to lizard-looking creatures which remained on all fours.

These early species then developed into the better known Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and Velociraptor.

But, Mr Jackson admits it is impossible for us to know exactly what these creatures were like.

“We are as close as we can get,” he said.

“Nobody will ever know what a real dinosaur looked like, but we have a good idea.

“We can study the bones and muscle attachment to work out their shape and how they evolved.

“But what we will never know is what colour they were.”

Youngsters in Hartlepool will get the opportunity to find out more about the fascinating species when the first in the 24-title Wonderful World of Knowledge series goes out absolutely free with your Mail next Tuesday, March 15.

And Mr Jackson insists that children can learn more than just knowledge of dinosaurs through studying the species.

He added: “Younger kids often find it quite difficult to understand why dinosaurs don’t exist to this day.

“But history is a constant stream.

“I think it is very useful subject for children to know about.

“Dinosaurs ruled the Earth when they were around.

“But they did become extinct, crops were no longer produced and they couldn’t survive.

“I think it demonstrates just how important it is for us to look after our planet, and for children to realise we do need to be caretakers of the world we live in.”

Dinosaurs are just one of the subjects children can enjoy reading about in the coming weeks.

Each week readers can get the next book in the wonderful Disney series for just £2.99 with tokens available in your Mail.