Building immunity

Fainjin skidded his scooter to a stop near me in the driveway.  His hair needs a cut again, it was sticking up through the ventilation holes in his helmet.

“Mum!” he said with an air of gravitas.  “I was scootering down here and I hit a rock, and it bounced away.  I licked it – ”

“You what?!”

” – and it didn’t stick to my tongue, so it’s probably not a fossil.”

“Ah.  Right.  Checking for fossils.  Well.  I think licking rocks to check for fossils is probably best left for palaentological digs, ok?  Please don’t lick the rocks in the garden.”

“Why not?”

I sighed to myself.  Why not indeed?  What reasoning could possibly make sense to a five-year-old boy who has decided that there might be dinosaur bones just lying around in our driveway?

Bless him.

He got the idea – to lick rocks, not that our driveway might harbour T-Rex remains – from a talk on dinosaurs at Questacon last month.  The speaker said that it can be hard to tell fossils from ordinary rocks, so sometimes palaentologists will touch rocks to their tongues.  Fossils are slightly porous, he said, and will stick to the tongue slightly, whereas rocks don’t.

I wonder how many other kids who were at that talk have been going around licking random rocks?

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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