THIS JUST IN FROM CATERPICKLES CENTRAL:
This morning at approximately 7:32 a.m., we discovered a question about dinosaurs and other ancient beasties that The Four-Year-Old both doesn’t know the answer to and doesn’t much care about.
While steeping her second cup of tea, Mommyo wondered (out loud, because her conversational filters weren’t yet online):
“What do you call a group of pterosaurs, anyway?”
Daddyo, who had downed his second cup of coffee some time before so had both synapses and conversational filters fully functional, replied, “Aren’t they called herds?”
Mommyo: “Sauropods are, but what about pterosaurs? Wouldn’t they be called flocks, like birds?”
Daddyo: “Or a wing. A wing of pterodactyls.”
Mommyo: “Ooh, that’s nice. What do you think, <The Four-Year-Old>?”
The Four-Year-Old just shrugs.
Daddyo, stunned: “Don’t you know?”
The Four-Year-Old shakes her head.
Daddyo: “Don’t you want to know?”
The Four-Year-Old: “Can I have more bacon?”
Mommyo, sniffing her oversteeped tea and wondering whether she should have gone for coffee instead: “Well, I was going to put it on Caterpickles, but I guess it’s not really that interesting.”
The Four-Year-Old, placing her hand very gently on her mother’s shoulder: “It’s ok, Mommyo, you can ask Caterpickles… if you really want to.”
So of course I did.
As far as I can tell, paleontologists put all of their energy into naming individual species and absolutely none into creating collective nouns for them.
If they use collective nouns at all, they use herds for sauropods and other vegetarian dinosaurs, packs for velociraptors and other group-hunting carnivores, flocks for flying reptiles, and one presumes, schools for whatever marine animals bothered to collect themselves into groups. I am so depressed by this utter failure to propose anything vaguely interesting — an ambush of Velociraptors or a thunder of Brontosaurs, anyone? — I am going to treat myself to another cup of sugar — I mean tea.
On the bright side, since paleontologists as a group apparently don’t care about this question either, The Four-Year-Old still has a bright future in dinosaur hunting.