Dinosaur Train follows a family of Pteranodons who have three lovely Pteranodon children, and, oddly enough, a young T-Rex who hatched in the nest as well. The dino-siblings are very cute and earnest (much like Sid and his friends), and in each episode they learn all about a new dinosaur species.
The Dinosaur Train itself lets the dinosaurs travel through all of the different periods of the Mesozoic era to be able to visit dinosaurs that lived in different times. (Any sci-fi effects of constant time travel seem to be lost on the traveling dinosaurs.) There’s lots of conversations about meat versus plant eaters, and investigations into why dinosaurs have such different features, like sharp claws or long necks.
An episode that ran earlier this week, showed the Pteranodons visiting a Brachiosaurus family… and their boulder-sized dino-poop. The episode helpfully taught Olive about 5 different names for poop, and has had daily screenings since it aired.
Each episode ends with a segment featuring Dr. Scott the Paleontologist, who talks at the kid’s level about dinosaur discoveries and similarities with animals that walk the earth today. He’s just awkward enough on TV that I buy him as totally the real deal – this guy loves dinosaurs and really wants you to know all about them. Did you know that dragonflies have been around longer than people AND longer than dinosaurs? Dr. Scott told us that.
Olive is quickly picking up the language of dinosaurs in the facile way that kids can pick up another language, while I’m still saying, “Ornitho-WHAT-us?” She’s showing a greater interest in dinosaurs outside of the show, too, like when she demands dinosaur books at bedtime. Looks like we have a budding paleontologist on our hands. Better go buy her a pickaxe.