New scientists join Children’s Museum of Indianapolis staff

Have you ever been asked to interview a scientist about dinosaurs, a subject you know nothing about? It’s a really great way to feel like a troglodyte. {Editor’s note: That means “a person who lived in a cave.” I had to look that one up Luis! Okay back to the post…} And for this assignment, I was being sent to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to meet and interview Drs. Phil Manning and Victoria Egerton – their newest “dinomite” paleontologist Scientists-In-Residence.

Except I had a sneaking suspicion that troglodytes had a better working knowledge about dinosaurs than myself. So as you can imagine, I did what any good children’s magazine writer would do: I punted the interview to my kids. That’s right, they wrote the questions for this piece. So, if any of these questions sounds a bit dim or immature blame it on them. None of them read above a 6th grade reading level but they sure do like quizzing me, so I figured this was the perfect chance to put their future prosecutor-type skills to the test.

Dinomite Scientists Join Children's Museum _ Indy's Child Magazine

Our day started off with my 3 year old’s question {which I thought was a soft ball}: “What’s your favorite dinosaur?”

Apparently, for a paleontologist this one can be tricky. “It’s like choosing between your children!” cried Dr. Phil Manning in horror. Although it only took him about 3 seconds to put out that he really prefers the torosaurus to all other dinosaurs. And isn’t that really the way of it when you’re asked about which kid you love most? I mean you’re going to protest at first but we all know who the favorite is (*wink wink*). I learned that trick from my mom… sorry sis. His wife and partner Dr. Victoria Egerton {wait, did I mention they were married?!} on the other hand favors the gorgosaurus on display at the museum. Make sure you ask her why, it’s a story worth hearing.

RELATED: “Fables Across Time exhibit opens at The Children’s Museum”

Moving right along to my nearly 8 year old’s inquiry, “What modern animal most closely resembles the dinosaur?”

Now before you start to feel like this was a very smart question, remember that she owns a chameleon so goodness knows she was hoping to hear it was a lizard and secondly that the Dino Dr’s tell me that they were once asked by a child if “dinosaurs had hopes and aspirations.” So I assure you that Maggie’s question is likely not making their top ten list. But the answer? Birds! Shockingly, birds are only a few bones removed from their prehistoric counterparts, and emerging science suggests that dinosaurs would have likely had some amount of feathers.

….this was the part of the interview where I embarrassed myself by asking, in a far too enthusiastic tone I might add, “So T-Rex was like BIG BIRD!!??!” {*smh* this is why the kids wrote the questions.}

Dinomite Scientists Join Children's Museum _ Indy's Child Magazine
Finally that brings us to my 6 year old son’s question. Which is in true 6 year old boy form. “Did dinosaurs have boogers?”

You’ll be glad to know that my education on this subject was increased two fold having learned that yes, dinosaurs likely did have gigantic boogers and that in the UK boogers are called bogies. Brings a whole new meaning to my golf game and my time as a top-gun.

Make sure you stop by the Dinosphere and have a chat with the docs when they’re in. They will introduce your kiddos to the science behind paleontology in an encouraging and enthusiastic way with their superb storytelling. Clean out some space in your garage for your kiddos soon to be rock collection, because your kid will leave feeling like he or she wants to be the next great paleontologist. Don’t worry, you’ll leave feeling like that’s totally cool too!

MORE INFO: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is located at 3000 N. Meridian Street, just north of downtown Indianapolis. Call 317-334-4000 or visit for additional details, ticket prices and hours.


Related Articles



From our Sponsors