Not a Creature Was Stirring, Not Even a Microraptor | Science | Smithsonian

Not a Creature Was Stirring, Not Even a Microraptor

It’s traditional to leave out cookies and milk for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, but what do you do if Santasaurus is coming to town? I guess that depends on what kind of dinosaur he is. If he’s a predatory theropod, it might be a good idea to pick up some ground chuck and hide the cat, but if he’s...

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It’s traditional to leave out cookies and milk for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, but what do you do if Santasaurus is coming to town? I guess that depends on what kind of dinosaur he is. If he’s a predatory theropod, it might be a good idea to pick up some ground chuck and hide the cat, but if he’s an ornithischian, then a bowl of greens would do nicely.

In the children’s book The Dinosaur’s Night Before Christmas, a Night at the Museum-like Christmas story where all the dinosaurs come to life, Santasaurus turns out to be the horned dinosaur Styracosaurus. (Why his sleigh is pulled by other dinosaurs and not a team of Mesozoic mammals, though, is anyone’s guess.) A fanciful retelling of A Visit from St. Nicholas, the book even comes with a CD with paleontologically reinterpreted versions of traditional Christmas songs that will no doubt have parents saying “Turn that racket down!” before the new year.



If lots of kids had their way, though, they would be getting a living dinosaur for Christmas, and that’s the plot of another children’s tale (this time on video) called The Christmas Dinosaur. In this story, a young boy receives a pterosaur (not actually a dinosaur) for Christmas, and it proceeds to be naughty while simultaneously teaching a lesson about being nice. In real life, though, there would probably be plenty of difficulties with claw marks on the couch, piles of dino droppings, and keeping it away from the mailman.

I don’t want to be too much of a Scrooge, though. Happy holidays and merry Christmas to all who will be having visions of dinosaurs dance in their heads tonight!
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About Brian Switek
Brian Switek

Brian Switek is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology, and natural history. He writes regularly for National Geographic's Phenomena blog as Laelaps.

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