It’s funny what sticks in your mind.

As a kid I had the standard kid-type obsession with dinosaurs. Having an obsession with dinosaurs is great, or at least it was great in my case, because it mostly manifested itself as a desire to read every dinosaur book on which I could lay my sticky kid paws, and books were the one thing I could reliably convince my mom, bless her intellectual-curiosity-fostering heart, to buy.

One of these books—and it was one of the better, more modern ones, where the Tyrannosaurus’s tail didn’t drag on the ground—had a description of a Deinocherius (i.e., D. mirificus), which was a theropod1 with these giant, terrifying arms and hands with articulated wrists. The hands therefore could rotate and turn toward each other. The book explained this so memorably I remember the sentence verbatim even now, 20 years later:

“It might have been able to catch a ball, if anyone had been there and had dared to throw one.”

  1. Note that the Theropoda sub-order contains most of the really badass carnivores that small-framed, owl-eyed youngsters like yours truly were by turns fascinated with and terrified by.

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