8-Year-Old Sends Stern Letter Urging NPR To Broadcast More Dinosaur Stories

NPR received a stern bit of criticism from an unlikely source this month: an 8-year-old Minneapolis boy, Leo Shidla, who took the broadcaster to task for not airing nearly enough dinosaur news.

Leo’s grievances were revealed Friday by Kyle Shiely, a producer for local NPR station Minnesota Public Radio. Shiely tweeted an email that Leo ― an avid listener of the network’s flagship “All Things Considered” show with his mother ― had sent him.

“Maybe you should call your show Newsy Things Considered, since I don’t get to hear about all the things,” wrote Leo, clearly not one to mince words. “Or please talk about more dinosaurs and cool things.”

Shiely’s tweet went viral, racking up thousands of comments and retweets. A day later, Shiely revealed that Leo’s mother had sent a follow-up, noting that she had encouraged her son to write an email to the station to express his “ongoing complaint” and was charmed that it had entertained so many.

Perhaps realizing that the words of an 8-year-old craving more dinosaur content are perhaps the most valid criticism a media company can get, NPR invited Leo to ask San Diego Natural History Museum research associate Ashley Poust a number of questions about dinosaurs and to publish the question-and-answer session Tuesday.

Leo asked Poust for details on how these giant, long-lost reptiles grew to their impressive sizes and also for the dimensions of his favorite dinosaur: the relatively obscure Concavenator corcovatus.

A computer-generated image of a Concavenator roaring in the desert.

Poust said that Leo’s questions were the stuff “that keep paleontologists up all night,” pointing out the immense difference in bone sizes between dinosaurs and animals of today.

As for Concavenator, Poust described the creature as somewhat smaller than a Tyrannasaurus rex but still a “really interesting animal with huge bones sticking out right up in front of its hips that give it this really sharp sail.”

The Q&A between Leo and Poust served to delight the internet further, attracting attention from not only a former secretary of state but also from the Jurassic World social media account itself.  

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