People expect dinosaurs in any book set in the Stone Age
This is mainly the fault of Hollywood, because producers (used to) think any story in prehistory had to have these large reptiles to make it exciting. They could have made movies about dinosaurs without any humans. I suppose that would have upset a lot of people, especially actors.
Why can’t a movie or a novel have humans AND dinosaurs?
Dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, give or take a few. According to scientists, the earliest type of humans appeared a mere few million years ago, and they were not people as we know them. There were several species with long Latin (or Greek?) names. The earliest evidence for proper humans, homo sapiens, puts them on the planet a couple of hundred thousand years ago.
How sure are we that humans and dinosaurs never met?
Even if the experts are wrong, the margin for error is so vast that even a sceptic could hardly imagine that dinosaurs survived tens of millions of years and didn’t leave a trace. Likewise, there might have been humans around, a few hundred thousand years sooner than we thought, but millions?
No dinosaurs? Does this mean there are no monsters in the novel?
It depends on your definition of a monster. No jokes, please, especially political ones. At the end of the Ice Age, say ten thousand years ago in Britain and the nearer parts of the EU – sorry, the Continent – there were lots of big mammals, both herbivores and carnivores. Life for humans, and a lot of other species, was pretty precarious. The carnivores were out to kill anything edible, including us, whilst the the big herbivores could be dangerous if you tried to hunt them. Some were bad enough, even if you were just passing by.
What mammals were as scary as dinosaurs?
A soldier once told me that the deadliest weapon wasn’t the nuclear bomb, but whatever someone was pointing at you at the time. Some of the things people hunted in the Stone Age, and some that hunted us, are now extinct. These include mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, sabre-tooth cats (I don’t say ‘tigers’ because we don’t know what colour they were) and giant ‘Irish’ elk. These lived in what is now England as well as Ireland. They were probably unionists. One of the most dangerous animals that people often killed was the aurochs. We know this from the bones that archaeologists have found around human settlements. They were wild cattle, much bigger and more aggressive than the domestic kind. Nine feet at the shoulder. Scary enough?
What else went the way of the dinosaurs?
Apart from those, there were plenty of other animals that are now extinct in the wild in Britain but survive elsewhere, including British zoos. Wolves, bison, musk ox, and several kinds of bear. I wouldn’t want to bump into any of those unexpectedly.
It’s a good thing Stone-Age Man had his dog to help him.