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RE: Dinosaurs Changed My Life

The Secret Origin of Tom "King of the Dinogeeks" Holtz,

Only it isn't so secret, since there are a few websites that mention this.

All this happened prior to personal memories, so I have to rely on my parents' 

When I was about 3 or so, my mom bought me and my brothers plastic toys from a 
local 5 and dime. One got a "farm animal" of some
sort, the other got a "zoo animal", and I got either the "Brontosaurus" or 
Tyrannosaurus toy. I asked what it was, and my mom said
it was a dinosaur. Okay, I thought.

Then a couple of weeks later, she brought home another set of toys, and I got 
the other of the dinosaur toys. I asked what it was,
and my mom said it was a dinosaur. Apparently I looked very skeptically at her, 
wondering how such two different animals (more
different from each other than cows & horses) could be called the same thing.

Well, my mom didn't know, but she had a background in education, so she decided 
to find out. And bought (and read to me from) the
How and Why Wonderbook of Dinosaurs.

Apparently at that point I decided that when I grew up, I would be a dinosaur. 
(Tyrannosaurus rex, of course. Would anyone be
surprised at that?) When I found out that wasn't going to happen, I decided 
that I'd be a paleontologist. I went about getting my
hands on all the library books on dinosaurs I could, and the rest is (personal) 

One drawback about living in the Houston area at the time (late 1960s-early 
1970s) is that there weren't any dinosaur mounts at the
museum. There was an Ankylosaurus model, and the scaffolding for the Diplodocus 
mount (which was, naturally, finished after my
family moved to the D.C. area, but then I could get to the Smithsonian...).

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796