Why do children have such a fondness for the Tyrannosaurus Rex, possibly the most brutal and deadliest land predator that ever lived? I distinctly remember, as a small boy, thinking that the T Rex was incredibly cool and wonderful. Even after I was a teenager, when I finally got around to seeing Walt Disney’s “Fantasia”, it was the T Rex I enjoyed the most, out of all of the wondrous creatures of old brought to majestic life while Leopold Stokowski conducted the “Rite of Spring”.
In reality of course, if through some quirk of time we were to coexist with one of these monstrous behemoths – in the flesh, so to speak – the mighty and relentless reptilian predator would almost certainly gobble us up in an instant, bones and all, and then have some of our friends for a snack. There was nothing even remotely sentimental about this creature – the T Rex was, from all evidence, one of nature’s more impressive and relentlessly efficient killing machines.
Yes, I knew all that when I was seven – all little kids know that – and yet we love them, with a kind of completely irrational exuberant love. And when, as small children, we are not musing fondly about our friend, the savage and deadly king of the dinosaurs, our innocent young thoughts often turn appreciatively to Orca the killer whale.
Why do we do this? Perhaps there is some deep instinct at work here.