One day, Jimmy was playing in the yard with his dog Ollie. Ollie started to dig a hole, and he found something surprising - bones from an old dinosaur!
What a sight! There were many bones on every yard of the land. There was a whole skeleton of an old dinosaur. Jimmy was excited, but he didn't rush to touch the bones. He knew that they were incredibly old and probably very fragile.
Jimmy's mom came in and saw what Jimmy had found; she said that it must be a whole skeleton of an old dinosaur called Tyrannosaurus Rex, which means 'Tyrant Lizard King'.
Jimmy had already read about dinosaurs at school - they lived here on Earth millions of years ago, but millions of years ago weren't now, so it couldn't be a real Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.
Not even ... could it? Jimmy wanted to know more about it, so he asked his mom
"Mom, are you sure this isn't something that someone has planted here?"
"Why would someone do that?", his mom asked with a smile.
"But they told us in school that there are dinosaurs only in museums", Jimmy said thoughtfully.
Jimmy couldn't believe that he had discovered ancient dinosaur bones in his own backyard! Now he wanted to know how he should treat them so that nothing would happen to the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.
So, he took some digging tools and began turning up more bones from the soil underneath. He needed no help for this job because if you dig carefully, you can find fossils without damaging them; if you're lucky enough, you can even find fossil fish!
Jimmy and Ollie had been digging up old dinosaur bones all afternoon. It was now evening, time for supper. Jimmy couldn't wait until his dad got home. He wanted to tell his dad about his discovery, and he wanted to know more about what mom said.
Jimmy's dad didn't seem extremely interested in the discovery. He just said, "Your mother didn't tell you before? Those are bones from an old dinosaur that lived here a long time ago." Jimmy looked at his dad and said that he knew, but he wanted to know how long ago they were here.
"Oh, I don't know," said his dad with a shrug, "A million years ago, maybe."
"No!", Jimmy replied, "I learned in school that dinosaurs lived on Earth until 65 million years ago - over 50 million years before we were born!"
Jimmy's jaw dropped. He just realized that he had found something really, really old - fossils from millions of years ago! But how could he find out for sure? Jimmy's mom had a good idea. She said, "I'm sure that there are scientists in museums who know more about dinosaurs than we do. Let's go to the Natural History Museum next door and tell them what you found."
The next day, Jimmy and his sister went to the museum with their dad. "Hi," said the woman at the museum entrance. "My name is Mrs. Smith. How can I help you?" Jimmy eagerly told her about his discovery, handing her a note with coordinates of where he found the bones of an old dinosaur called Tyrannosaurus Rex.
"Oh, they must be from a dinosaur called Tyrannosaurus Rex. I'm sure that they are very old," she said, then she told him to go in and visit a scientist who studies fossils inside the museum. "Where can we find him?" Jimmy asked curiously.
Mrs. Smith smiled kindly and said with a gesture towards a room upstairs: "He's up there - in the dinosaur exhibit!" Jimmy walked up the stairs with his sister, and they were almost to the top when they started to feel a little dizzy. "Beware! Beware!" a voice seemed to warn them.
Jimmy stopped in his tracks and turned around slowly. There, on the wall, was a big painting of what looked like a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
"Wow! A painting of an old dinosaur!" Jimmy said in amazement. His sister clapped her hands with delight. They both moved closer to the picture to have a better look at it.
"It's not just any old painting," Jimmy's dad said as he approached them from behind. "This is one of the most famous paintings of dinosaurs that has ever been painted." Jimmy's dad rubbed his forehead thoughtfully, "the scientist must be close then ..".
They had reached the end of the gallery, and another painting was facing them - this time it wasn't a picture of an old dinosaur but instead it showed all sorts of dinosaurs along with other creatures that lived back then such as animals and insects!
"Wow!' Ollie said transfixed by all these amazing animals from long ago, but Jimmy didn't notice because he was reading what was written in small print under each animal: 'A giant sauropod', 'A Stegosaurus', or 'A Pteranodon'.
Jimmy turned around as he read these words and spotted something out of place near their feet: there was a small sign next to one little dinosaur that read: `Tyrannosaurus Rex '. Jimmy read the sign with wide-eyed fascination.
"Tyrannosaurus Rex !" he said, reading aloud the sign. "It says here that only six skeletons in the world are known to exist, and one of them is in this museum! And we dug up some more bones from an old dinosaur just next door!"
The woman who was waiting for them when they came into the museum overheard their conversation, and she said: "No, you found some bones from an old dinosaur. There's a difference between a skeleton and a fossil. A skeleton is like what you see on TV - a whole animal held together by bones. But there are usually many pieces. The only six skeletons that exist are of different dinosaurs, but they're all complete."
"And Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of them?' Jimmy asked enthusiastically with wide eyes as he reached out for the sign. "Yes", she replied with a smile. "You know they died out 65 million years ago? They're not alive today."
Jimmy didn't answer, but instead, he sat down on the bench in front of the painting of old dinosaurs to think about it all over again.
Clearly, not everything he learned at school was true after all! Jimmy thought about it for a minute and then he asked, "Dad, what was the name of the scientist who studies fossils and dinosaurs in the museum?" "His name is Dr. Jones," his dad replied.
"And how can we find out for sure how old the fossils are?" Jimmy asked Mrs. Smith. "We can ask Dr. Jones to examine them," she answered. "He'll know if they're real or not."
Jimmy's dad said that he would talk to Dr. Jones about it all right away so that there wouldn't be any doubt about it! He said that he would ask him to come over later to examine the bones in the backyard!
Jimmy smiled because he knew that this time things would be different; this time Jimmy knew more than just a little about dinosaurs - and now everyone else did too!