This text addresses the question of how dinosaurs moved from natural extinction to pop culture resurrection, exploring the animal's place in our lives and the source of its popular appeal. In tracing the cultural family tree of the dinosaur there is discovered a creature of striking flexibility, linked to dragons and mammoths, skyscrapers and steam engines, cowboys and Indians. Here the dinosaur becomes a cultural symbol whose plurality of meaning and often contradictory nature is emblematic of modern society itself. As a scientific entity, the dinosaur endured a near-eclipse for over a century, but as an image it is enjoying its widest circulation. The text suggests it endures because it is uniquely malleable, a figure of both innovation and obsolescence, massive power and pathetic failure - the totem animal of modernity.