The greatest, most diverse and successful class of land vertibrates ever, believed to have originated sometime in the Triassic about 240 million years ago, and disappearing around 65 million years ago. Gods among animals, and awesome testaments to the power of creation (or evolution, if your must insist that these words be mutually exclusive) they were physiologically superior to mammals and gave rise to birds.
Often our society shows a disinterest with the phenomena of the dinosauria, approaching paleontology with a "they're dead, who cares" attitude. They are also ridiculed for having "died out" when they in fact persisted a period of something like 160 million years--more than 40 times longer than the time elapsed since the earliest human anscestors appeared. Even the word "dinosaur" has a deprecative connotation, implying something that is outdated or obsolete.
Stop for a moment to consider that these animals did, in fact exist, and are not the chimeras of children. This writer would maintain, however, that anyone holding the view that an interest in dinosaurs is nerdy and childish deserves to have his or head bitten off by a Charcharodontosaurus.
Lots of kids my age got hooked on dinosaurs for a while--it was a childhood disease, like mumps or chicken pox, and if left alone, most kids recovered and then had a lifetime immunity to dinosaurmania. But I was that rare exception, a terminal, chronic case.-- Robert T. Bakker, "The Dinosaur Heresies"