Meet Pritvik, resident palaeontologist

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Meet Pritvik, resident palaeontologist

A 12-year-old version of Ross from Friends gives us something to think about


Kelly Clarke

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Published: Fri 3 Mar 2017, 5:19 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Mar 2017, 7:22 PM

I recently received an email that left me feeling somewhat inadequate as a 31-year-old. It also made me question my worth as a child of yesteryear. It was about the Dino Park down near Za’beel.
I haven’t actually visited the place yet — I rarely make use of the outdoor spaces here — so I was eager to see what content followed on this email. I was eager to see if a stranger could strong-arm me into breaking my four-year abstinence from Dubai Parks.
As my eyes moved down the page, it was the following line that first caught my attention.
“While it is a great recreational park… almost 90 per cent of all the dinosaurs featured are scientifically inaccurate.”
My first reaction to this was one of disdain. Quite frankly, dinosaurs just aren’t for me. It should have bothered me that history dating back to millions of years was possibly being misrepresented here, but it didn’t.
All I know about palaeontology is that Ross Geller is a professor of it (that’s a nod to all you Friends fans out there). And sure, I know what a T-Rex is — Jurassic Park (the movie), was a classic — but that’s about as far as my knowledge stretches.
Going back to that email. As I read on, it was clear there was a means to an end. This person was writing to a newspaper journalist for a reason.
He made reference to things like “bio-mechanics” and urged me that “a lot has changed and a lot needs to be revised”. ‘Enthusiastic jobs worth’, was my initial thought. But then he revealed his trump card, and that’s when I put my palaeontology ignorance to one side.
He informed me he was in the process of writing an OpEd for National Geographic, so he clearly knew his stuff. I began to digest that he might just be on to something here.
“There is an immediate need to update each of the dinosaurs featured at the park,” he said, and then came the part that brought out all my adult insecurities.
Upon reading the email signature at the bottom of the page, I instantly recognised the name. No, it wasn’t David Attenborough, nor was it Ross Geller.
The name read ‘Pritvik’. It was a 12-year-old boy that I’d previously interviewed for a story. Yep, 12! A published author of five books — all of which are palaeontology-based — he’s your textbook whizkid. But there’s more.
Last May, while I probably sat idle in my apartment, binge-watching some brain-frying American sitcom, little old Pritvik was busy completing a university-level degree on palaeontology.
He only bagged himself a measly 92 per cent mind you — but come on, let’s leave the other 8 per cent for when he hits his teens — he can start them with a bang.
That 10-line email put a lot of things into perspective for me. It made me question my ‘wasted’ childhood talking about my teenybopper crush. And instantly I was hit with an underwhelming realisation: Were those A’s and B’s in my high school exams really worth all the praise my family gave me? I never excelled like Pritvik, I simply sailed. But sailing was enough when I was a nipper.
It triggered a nostalgic vibe inside me that forced me to compare ‘then with now’. Though I’m all for ‘junior geniuses’, every now and then I crave to see kids being, well, just kids.
Maybe it’s the whole expat thing that differentiates children here from when I was growing up in the 90s, but I think you can definitely agree that the kids of today have an entirely different scenario of youth. But in a world so connected where innovation cannot be helped, I guess it’s inevitable.
All that aside though, Pritvik, I salute you.
Kelly covers education and community development.
She finds it endearing when people call her Kel

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