Did Dinosaurs Wear Trousers?

That is set to be the most hotly debated topic at this year's International Dinosaur Symposium, the annual gathering of palaeontologists, biologists and other assorted folk who think dinosaurs are cool. One person who certainly believes the suggestion to be nonsense is Ingrid van Klacker, Emeritus Professor of Gravel at the University of Utrecht.

"Well, you know, this is clearly not the case, clearly," she explains to us in a heavy Dutch accent. "Of course, there is much that we do not know about the dinosaurs, you know, but the one thing we do know is that they were all - how do you say this now - schlappers."

"Slappers?"

"That is what I am saying," she confirms. "They were all big schlappers, this we know, because they were successful for the many millions of years, you know."

The Professor explains how the fossil record indicates that many species of dinosaurs bred at colossal rates. This, she believes, is how they were able to adapt and survive for so long.

"Now, they could not do all of the breeding with the trousers on," Professor van Klacker explains. "Mr T-Rex, when he comes home to find the lady dinosaur waiting for him in the cave, he's not going to fumble about with the buttons and the zips and whatever have you. Not with the little hands. No, of course, we know he's going to say 'phut' to the whole of the business and go and get a mammoth burger instead. So, hey presto, no trousers. The case is closed, whatever Sir Harvey is saying."

The 'Sir Harvey' to whom Professor van Klacker refers is Sir Harvey 'Bones' Brackish, one of the UK's foremost fossil hunters. Sir Harvey is a self-taught amateur but nevertheless enjoys a formidable reputation, and when he first proposed the idea five years ago that dinosaurs wore trousers, the world was prepared to sit up and listen.

"Stands to reason," he explained to us, in the clipped, privileged tones of a man who isn't accustomed to interrupting his flow long enough for anyone else to get a word in edgeways. "Dinosaurs ruled the Earth, you know. I think there was a film about it. Can't do that without pockets. Need somewhere to put stuff. Can't have pockets without trousers. QED. Think about it, Mr T-Rex goes into town, grabs himself a mammoth burger, leaves his stegosaurus on a meter. Got to have somewhere to put the change, hasn't he?"

While the logic of Sir Harvey's argument appears inescapable, Professor van Klacker is equally vehement in her beliefs. The scene is set, therefore, for the thunderously energetic debate which is scheduled to close to the symposium. It's sure to be hotly attended, but who is our money on? Well, despite the persuasiveness of Sir Harvey's argument, we think Professor van Klacker might just have the edge.

"Well, of course, it is all about empirical evidence, of course," she told us. "Sir Harvey's parking meter theory, this is good, but where are the fossilised parking meters. I tell you where the fossilised parking meters are. The fossilised parking meters are nowhere, that is where the fossilised parking meters are. But you want to know what is somewhere? What is everywhere?"

We encourage the Professor to continue.

"Birdies," she says. "The little birdies, they are everywhere. Now, of course, we are knowing that the little birdies are the descendants of the big dinosaurs, and yet the little birdies, they do not wear the trousers. No trousers for the little birdies. Look at the talking duck - the talking duck in the movies, with the waistcoat and the no trousers. Donald the Duck. This is what I am saying, of course, Donald the Duck is the big schlapper. Case is closed."

 

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