What comes to mind when you picture a dinosaur? Something monstrously big, of course, and probably green or brown with scaly skin? Well you would be wrong on all counts other than monstrously big.

As it turns out they were feathered, brightly coloured and didn’t roar but made a cooing sound.

This came as quite a surprise to me, but TV presenter and scientific expert Ben Garrod explains: “We’ve found things like voice boxes, last year one was found right down in Antarctica. We’ve found fossilised feathers and even imprints of dinosaurs where you can see feathers around them.

“There’s tiny structures that sit differently according to colour and they’re so well-preserved in fossils that we can see from living birds that this way is blue, that way is orange. So with a high degree of certainty we can say that this one was black and we know that there were a lot of ginger dinosaurs.”

Even the frightful T-Rex was adorned in bright feathers with a deep, pigeon-like coo, and yet another shock is that “the head and tail were the same level and it walked horizontally along the ground.”

Ben is an evolutionary biologist and primatologist, who you may know as a co-presenter on the BBC One show Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur alongside wildlife presenter David Attenborough.

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He will be touring the UK with the interactive show So You Think You Know About Dinosaurs?, which comes to the Beck Theatre on February 12 and London’s Royal Geographic Society on March 4.

You will need to forget everything you thought you knew because along with the few little spoilers I let slip above, Ben will have jaws dropping with weird and wonderful stats and facts, from the longest, to the smallest, the tallest to the shortest, creepiest to the cutest.

Using film footage from the BBC’s Planet Dinosaur, Ben will talk about the deadliest predators that ever roamed the planet and the ones that, 65 million years ago, would have walked right where the audience is sitting now.

The show is primarily aimed at children but adults should also find it fascinating. Ben himself has had a lifelong interest in the natural world. He studied BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge and went on to do an MSc in Wild Animal Biology with the Royal Veterinary College, London and Zoological Society of London.

“From a really early age it was always animals and nature and being outside on the beach, finding things washed up," he says. "It really inspired me as a kid.”

You will be hard pressed to find somebody who hasn’t been fascinated by dinosaurs at some point in their life, whether that is the age of five of 50. I couldn’t wait to ask Ben why we are so intrinsically interested in the creatures.

“I still don’t know the answer” he tells me, but doesn’t shy away from trying. “We have this idea that we’re all scared of monsters in the dark or ones that live in the wardrobe.

“I think, weirdly, dinosaurs give that a little bit of credibility because it’s a fear we love to play with, but we can’t be scared of these monsters because we know they’re gone. It allows us to play with this inherent fear of the unknown.”

As our interest continues through generations, how will we sustain it I wonder. Will we begin to run out of things to discover, leaving budding palaeontologists void of a dream job?

“We still find dinosaurs all the time,” Ben tells me, with childlike excitement and wonder. “It’s not just China, Australia or Argentina – the classic dinosaur places – Britain is one of the best places in the world for finding dinosaurs. Bristol had its own dinosaur and there’s one that lived just in Cardiff.

“We’re finding species all the time, partly because of a resurrection in interest and also the technology has improved. There’s so much more for the new generation to discover. A little girl found one in the Isle of Wight three-years-ago.

“London and the surrounding region would have been under water 100 million years ago, Britain was a series of little islands, so you get a lot of marine reptiles. Also London and the whole region has preserved different species, partly because the geology is so good – the clay and sediment. No T-Rex remains in that region though, sadly.”

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As science continues to make leaps and bounds forward, I wonder how far-fetched a Jurassic Park scenario was. Will we ever be able to bring dinosaurs back to life?

“With certain extinct species it’s no problem. There are people trying to resurrect mammoths now and dodos, things from not so long ago. You can put the DNA into a pigeon or an elephant for mammoths, then you could bring something back very quickly that is half mammoth and then next time three quarters mammoth and so on.

“With dinosaurs it’s much more difficult and much more easy. With a T-Rex, the fossils are so old that we cannot extract DNA at the moment, maybe one day. The weird thing is you’ve got dinosaurs outside right now.

“Genetically and scientifically we class birds as dinosaurs. They are the modern descendants. In some ways it’s never going to happen, you’re not going to get DNA out of something that’s 65 million years old but you could work with their descendants and see if you could work with that.”

Perhaps an even more important question is, if we can bring back an extinct species, does that mean we should?

Ben gives me his astoundingly admirable answer: “The inner child in me would love to see a mammoth, however, if we can’t even look after our own elephants and rhinos and chimpanzees, why would we consider bringing back a herd of mammoths? Where are we going to stick them?

“Should we bring something back we know has to go in a zoo? No, that’s terrible. Can we stick them in Siberia? No, because they’d be killed within minutes.

“As a scientist I think it’s really interesting and it opens doors to huge areas of other research like human diseases, it lends itself to that. It’s a wonderful area of science, it’s really cool, but we can’t be trusted.”

Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes, UB3 2UE. February 12. Details: 020 8561 8371

Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, Kensington, London, SW7 2AR, March 4. Details: 020 7591 3000