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People have always known about dinosaurs but called them by different names.
Children's attraction to dinosaurs suggests that the giant creatures appeal to something innate in the human psyche.
A simple explanation is that images of dinosaurs convey the excitement of danger while posing no real threat. From a child's point of view, dinosaurs are very old and very big, just like grown-ups.
By inspiring fantasy in children, dinosaurs can reduce a child's feeling of helplessness. Unlike the power of adults of assertive peers, dinosaur power is under a child's thumb.
Dinosaurs appeal to a Victorian sort of "childhood wonder," emerging spontaneously in children, with little adult encouragement.
The most popular representations of dinosaurs ignore the limits imposed by paleontology.
Early discoverers of dinosaurs greatly exaggerated their size, appealing to the public's taste. Even with highly sophisticated tools, only so much information can be inferred from bones and related objects. Those who wish to reconstruct the appearance and habits of dinosaurs are using their scope for imagination.
The reason for the popularity of dinosaurs is that their symbolism is flexible enough to accommodate a vast range of meanings.
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