Six year-old Owain Lewis was in the news when he found parts of a pterosaur’s wing on the beach at Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight in the summer of 2007. Pterosaurs were flying reptiles that went extinct with the dinosaurs; they weren’t really ‘birds’, but that’s much too fine a distinction for a six year old. I wondered how he told his parents.
‘Dad, Dad, I’ve seen this smashing bird,
Down there in Compton Bay.’
‘Such silly talk I’ve never heard;
Now run along and play.’
‘But Dad, this bird is something else –
You’ll never see another.
I want to take her home with me.’
‘You’d better ask your mother . . .’
‘You’re only six,’ his mother said.
‘Though you might think that’s old,
It’s much too young to fancy girls;
Now do as you’ve been told.’
‘But Mum, this bird’s more beautiful
Than all I’ve seen before.
She’s not a girl at all, you see –
She is a pterosaur!’
‘A terror-what?’ his Dad replied,
‘She’s clearly turned your head.
It’s too much sun, you’re sick inside.
It’s time you went to bed.’
‘But Dad, I’m news, and it’s colossal!
Look, switch on the TV.’
And there is Owain, with his fossil;
And Mum and Dad agree.