‘You know why diplodocusus – diplodoci? – had such long necks?’
‘To see you coming?’
Maria’s husband Terry is at the foot of the bed, holding a water bottle with a fluffy dinosaur on the front. Behind him, Maria’s oxygen machine thrums and clicks.
‘No. Not to see me coming, Terry. I was reading about it in my magazine. They were specially adapted to save energy.’
‘What? Like a light bulb?’
‘No. So they could stand in one place and eat all the leaves from high up without having to move much.’
‘So they were basically lazy? Is that what you’re saying?’
‘Not lazy, Terry. Just perfectly adapted for their environment.’
‘I heard if they lifted their heads that high, they’d faint.’
‘Well that can’t be right.’
‘Why not?’
‘Because you wouldn’t have had any fossils if that had happened. You’d have had one diplodocus that fainted a lot, and that’d be it.’
Terry shrugs.
‘They could just have held their heads dead level. So they didn’t get dizzy.’
‘What’d be the point of that? Walking along with your head sticking out?’
‘Looking round corners?’
‘In case a Tyrannosaurus Rex was sneaking up?’
‘Maybe. Yeah.’
‘I don’t think Tyrannosaurus Rexes did much sneaking.’
‘How’d they get their food, then?’
‘They were hunters, Terry. They had big powerful legs. For running.’
‘Yeah – but then they had those funny little arms. You wouldn’t think they were good for much, would you?’
He holds the hot water bottle like a piece of meat he’s struggling to put in his mouth.
‘I don’t think they used a knife and fork, Terry.’
‘How did they manage, then?’
‘I think they put their face in their food and ripped it to pieces.’
She looks at me and shakes her head.
‘Do you want this hot water bottle or not?’ he says.

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