As a child I entertained, for a time, the notion that dinosaurs became extinct because they had no bottoms, and thus exploded when they became too full.
There was a logic to it. No dinosaur toy features a dinosaur bottom. I checked. It’s important to be thorough about these things. If I had delivered a lecture at the Natural History Museum and someone had piped up: “Have you looked at the underside?”… well, I would have been a laughingstock.
Adults scoffed at me then, but I’m increasingly convinced that I was right and that there is a paleontological conspiracy to obscure the truth. After all, no paleontologist has ever discovered a fossilised dinosaur bottom, and it’s a lot better than the lump-of-rock-from-outer-space theory, which smacks, frankly, of deus ex machina.
I tested this theory yesterday with my friend, S, who appeared to side with the orthodoxy. He demanded to know whether dinosaurs exploded internally, with an unspectacular rupture of the gut, or in a conflagration. “Because,” he added, a glint of triumph in his eye, “if they exploded properly they would be scattered over a wide area.” Far from disproving my theory, he had strengthened it. The vast majority of paleontological discoveries are individual bones – finding a whole skeleton is very rare.
The Natural History Museum awaits. There is only one flaw. “Exploding dinosaur” is also slang for, well, something that is both highly unsanitary and, in another sense, very sanitary indeed.