Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Vampire Buddha: This trope was originally meant to be about how certain types of dinosaur turn up far more often than others, but along the way, seems to have mutated into about dinosaurs not being protrayed accurately. Now, dinosaurs portrayed inaccurately is itself a trope, and I think it would be a shame to lose all the hard work that has gone into this page.

However, I do think that the fact that certain dinosaurs appear more often in disparate media is also tropeworthy. Hence, I suggest splitting this page. The current page keeps the title and most of the examples, but has the description changed to more accurately reflect the fact that it's about time and space misplaced dinosaurs.

A new page would then be created which would include most of the current description, but restructured so as to be less nattery. That page would be called something like StockDinosaurs, and be about how certain dinosaurs are far more likely to appear in fiction than others.


Ununnilium: Sounds good. Stock Dinosaurs is tropeworthy.

TTD: Capital idea. Would Jurassic Stockpile be too punny?

Vampire Buddha: I've been meaning to make this split for some time, but stuff keeps getting in the way. I'll try and hvae it done by tomorrow.

While I normally oppose overly original names, Jurassic Stockpile does have a certain charm.

LATER: The split has been made. Comments on the other page are welcome. Also, here's some stuff I took out and couldn't fit back in:
***And keep in mind that the Jurassic Park dinosaurs were gentic contructs made from a Biological Mashup of dinosaur, frog and reptile DNA. Basically they were (literally) The Theme Park Version of dinosaurs, and thus conformed to public expectations.

* A few other Therapods have become increasingly popular in fiction. Most of these will be of recently-described species who are touted (even in scientific literature) as "Bigger than T.rex!" And bigger is obviously scarier, isn't it?

** Regardless of species, every single carnivorous dinosaur (and quite a few of the ones that aren't) will want to chase after large, fast-running, clever, evasive humans. Really, this would be as if you gave up on a bag of popcorn to chase after fruit flies for a snack.

Ununnilium: Good stuff. ~.~ However, cutting out a few bits which seem to be there only to confirm that the people writing this page know more about science than those darn fiction writers. (Also, shut up, Dino-Riders was awesome.)

Ross N: Should we at least expand on the Maniraptors a little? The relationship between birds and dinosaurs should probably be given a sentence of explanation or two for those with less familiarity with the subject.

Tragic The Dragon: Sorry, it's just cause I love animals and know way too much about them. ^_^ I've added a link to a website that straightens the feathery Dromaeosaur issue out better than I could.

So on another topic:

  • The Land Before Time features ... a Parasaurolophus (probably because they hit it with a dart)

Say what?

Ununnilium: AKA, chose it at random.

Also, "the smaller relatives were probably more intimidating from a predatory standpoint" — I don't get this.

Duckluck: This probably goes along with the notion that some recent paleontologists have been bouncing around that T. Rex may have been sort of a scavenger. The idea is that its huge jaws and tiny forelimbs wouldn't be all that useful when chasing down prey, but could be quite handing for stealing prey from other predators. There's also some talk that small predators may have been faster, although others disagree with this. The problem with paleontology is there's a limit to how much information you can actually glean from a bunch of bones buried in a rock shelf. There's really no reliable way to tell how a Tyrannosaurus hunted based on its skeleton, but that doesn't seem to stop people from arguing about it.

Ross N: *Sigh* I love dinosaurs, but sometimes (as so often in life) reality is a sad substitute for romance and imagination. A scavenger Tyrannosaurus might make more sense, but it is a poorer sort of universe for that sense.

If that past sentence made any (sense that is).

Ununnilium: Recent? I've heard about "scavenger T. rex" my whole life. `.` Anyway, taking the sentence out, because the Rule of Cool sentence makes it superfluous:
"Never mind that the species was, by all evidence, exceedingly rare and that the smaller relatives were probably more intimidating from a predatory standpoint."

  • How about animals taking the place of modern machines? Or people using their feet to run cars, often at highway speeds? Realism was obviously not the point.

Well duh. Both these sentences are already covered by the simple phrase They Just Didn't Care.

TTD: "the smaller relatives were probably more intimidating from a predatory standpoint"

It's partially the scavenger theory, partially a question of whether you'd want to be chased by a Grizzly Bear or a Mountain Lion...

As far as the scavenger issue, what drives me nuts is the contention many scientists seem to have that T. rex had to be either a predator or a scavenger. This is in spite of the fact that few living animals are either/or. Also, we're talking about an animal with a head about the size of a Mini-Cooper. It's going to eat whatever the f*** it wanted to. >:)

The British spelling is "palaeontologist", not "paeleontologist".

Mysticpenguin: I wonder, can the scope of this trope include not just an uncreative selection of prehistoric animals, but movies/shows that use them in such a stupid way as to make paleontologists cry (for example, the pteranodons in the third Jurassic Park movie, which had toothed beaks despite their name meaning roughly "toothless wing")?

TTD: Yup, and indeed it already has. I'll add "J.P.3" in as an example. Though I don't recall teeth on the Pteronodons. The bigger issue was having them immediately prey on the humans. That kind of thing jhappens in nearly every fictional depiction of Pteronodons. Next time you see it, ask yourself when was the last time you were dragged off by pelicans?

Demetrios: Agreed. Even though Pteranodon was one of the largest pterosaurs (23-foot wingspan), it only weighed 37 pounds. Not exactly the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the pterosaur realm, is it?

Moving these out of the main Artistic License - Biology page as they're a tad redundant now:
  • There is no such thing, scientifically speaking, as a Brontosaurus. The name was given to a genus of sauropods that a paleontologist thought was a newly-discovered genus, but was later decided to be a species of the earlier-reported Apatosaurus genus, and the rules of scientific naming of species give the title to the latter. (As often cited, an incorrect skull was placed on the Brontosaurus, but this actually had no bearing on the naming issue, contrary to popular belief) But that doesn't stop "Brontosaurus" from being used as a synonym for "Apatosaurus".
    • For example in Doctor Who. "Invasion of the Dinosaurs": "The Brontosaurus is large, placid, and stupid!".
    • Their appearance in The Flintstones is really the least of their problems.
    • A few Paleontologists (probably figuring that if you can't beat 'em, you may as well join 'em) have taken to using Brontosaurus as a synonym for either all Sauropods or just certain kinds of Sauropods (such as the iconic Diplodocid family.
    • In Discworld it's acknowledged that it isn't really a brontosaurus, but should be since it's just a much better name.
    • The Peter Jackson King Kong got around this by having the Brontosaurus be a new species of sauropod native to Skull Island.
  • Actual Velociraptors were about the size of a dog, not the man-sized version used in the film Jurassic Park and copied all over popular culture thereafter. The "Jurassic Park" 'raptors are actually Deinonychus, and this is somewhat justified as it and Velociraptor are both in the subfamily Velociraptorinae. Furthermore, the name Maniraptor was (and still is in some circles) a popular name for the group of dinosaurs now known as Dromaeosaurs.
    • Really, thanks to a surge in new Dromaeosaur finds in recent years, the bigger issue here is that we still see "Raptors" who look exactly like they walked off the set of "Jurassic Park" when we now know the real animal was actually small, fluffy... and kinda cute, really...
    • There was, in fact, a species of raptor about the same size as those in "Jurassic Park". The Utahraptor stood up to 6 feet tall, was 22 feet long from nose to tail tip, weighed over a thousand pounds, and sported a gigantic 9-inch curved claw on each foot.
    • Averted/spoofed in Runaways; One of the characters has a pet Deinonychus (her parents were time-travellers) that is constantly being mis-identified as a Velociraptor, much to her irritation.

Ununnilium: So, it looks like we're going to have to change the name of the entry, due to the mispelling of paleontologist/paeleontologist.

Also, taking out:
  • Ah, the Spinosaurus. First off, she is introduced to the audience as "BIGGER" than a Tyrannosaurus rex. (For those not in the know, a Spinosaurus is sixteen meters long, and a T. rex is thirteen meters long, so by that reasoning, an anaconda is "BIGGER" than an elephant.) The even bigger issue is that we've got another animal generally agreed to be a fish-eater and/or scavenger chasing after large, fast-running, clever, evasive humans. Really, this would be as if you gave up on a bag of popcorn to chase after fruit flies for a snack.

For the first half... the Spinosaurus was bigger than a T-rex; longer and heavier. For the second, it's covered by a reference to Kill All Humans.

TTD: Really bigger? Hmm. Well, I'll add in some information about ol' Spiny in the Big List Of Popular Dinosaurs section as (thanks to JP3) it's become popular.

Ununnilium: "Indeed, Spinosaurus is generally agreed to be a fish-eater and/or scavenger." Well, yeah, but there's that whole thing about T. Rex being a scavenger too. ``

In case you're wondering, I edited the "T. rex was a scavenger" bit due to my personal experience. I've been into dinosaurs since I was five, have absorbed a lot of knowledge about the subject, have worked on fossils at a museum and in the field for most of last summer, and attended a professional conference of paleontologists from around the world. And basically, the background of the scavenger idea is this: Jack Horner, a specialist in hadrosaurs, came up with the idea and published it in a book called "The Complete T. rex". He never sent his idea to a peer-reviewed journal and nobody at all in the scientific community (except Jack Horner, of course) takes it seriously. He's been telling it to the media all over the place, though, and since the media loves a controversy, they make his position look better than it is. If you want more information, you can check out the archives of the Dinosaur Mailing List at Try doing a search for "horner" "rex" and "scavenger".

Vampire Buddha: *checks some books*. Bugger, I've somehow been misreading the word ''palaeontologist'' for 22 years. Yeah, the spelling should definitely be corrected.

As for T. rex, it seems like every few years somebody comes along and says "This thing was too big to have been a hunter/scavenger, it must have been a scavenger/hunter". I've never seen any merit in something as big as that, with all those teeth, subsisting on corpses. Also, those little arms seem to have been much better adapted for holding onto struggling prey than any use in scavenging.

Ununnilium: I'm just plain taking it out, at this point:
  • Some paleontologists suggest that, in a depressing violation of the Rule of Cool, the T. rex may have been a scavenger all along (which is why its arms atrophied). Writers of fiction ignore this - as well they should.
    • This editor, as an aspiring paleontologist, can honestly say that nobody in the scientific community (except the guy who thought up the idea) actually thinks the scavenger idea has any merit.

  • Additionally, Dilophosaurus was about ten feet tall, not the cuddly household pet size depicted in the film. Oddly enough, in the book their size was portrayed correctly and they didn't have the neck frill, making this a case where the filmmakers did do the research...and then disregarded it for some reason.
  • Actually, the dilophasaurus was a baby, hence Nedry's comment about it just being a baby. Interestingly enough, the tar spitting was also creative license. The frills where based on a Australian lizard.
  • And because I like Jurassic Park, I feel I have to defend it: The Dienonychus were at the time (of the book) were considered by some to be Velociraptor. Or something. In the third one they do phase in feathers though. In the fourth (Raptor Mercenaries!) they might be pretty much birds. Mercenary birds

First of all, "because I like Jurassic Park, I feel I have to defend it" means "I haven't read Justifying Edit". Second, "actually" means "I haven't read Conversation in the Main Page either". Third, the paragraph beginning with actually completely cancels out the one before it, so I'm just pulling the whole thing out.
Vampire Buddha: The page title has been corrected. You may wish to update your watchlists.

Also, now that the spelling has been sorted out, I've removed this:

By the way, paeleontologist is the standard spelling in Britain and Australia. In the USA, the first e tends to be dropped. Either spelling is acceptable.
  • Palaeontologist is the spelling in Britain and Australia, while paleontologist is how it is spelled in the USA.

Rogue 7: Correct me if I'm mistaken, Scizio Technician, but I was under the impression that true birds as we know them weren't really present until the early-to-mid Cretaceous period, while Archaeopteryx is a Late Jurassic creature.

Ununnilium: Yeah. Plus, being "a holdover from an earlier time" is very Evolutionary Levels. Pulling it out.

  • To make matters worse, it was a holdover from an earlier time, like platypuses are to modern mammals- there were already birds as we know them by the time of archaeopteryx.

  • 10,000 B.C. That is all.

No, it's a title, which doesn't tell us anything about what the movie has to do with this trope.

Demetrios: I think the movie has plenty to do with the trope. Come on, ancient Egypt? I couldn't think of a less appropriate place for a woolly mammoth to live. Would you walk around the Sahara Desert wearing a fur coat? I don't think so.

Ununnilium: It may well have plenty to do with the trope. So tell us about it, in the entry.

Radioactive Zombie: Sigh. This page sounds like a big BAAAWWWWW for not doing research. It's fiction. I'll have to re-write the damn page later, so it doesn't sound like another "lol no research itz faakee!111one" thing.

Rogue 7: That's the entire point of the page. It's here to let us, geeks as we are, show the world that we know more about dinosaurs than the people who write this sort of stuff. It's supposed to be pretentious and kinda arrogant. I'll be reverting this later today during my lunch break.

Ununnilium: Research isn't unnecessary just because you're writing fiction. This trope points out mistakes, not only so that people who've seen the series where the mistakes were made will know the truth, but also to help the creators of the future avoid them.

TTD: Cutting this from the main page as it sounds similar:

"Then again, maybe some paleontologist's are babies, most people don't care about accuracy when there's no real point, and are just trying to tell a damn story."

Good job of Complaining About Tropes You Don't Like. >:/

There's a -reason- I put in the MST3K Mantra link. It was me slapping around the angrier parts of this.

Trouser Wearing Barbarian: I remember Bill Watterson talking about how he thought that dinosaurs were cooler after he started learning more about them and portraying them more accurately in The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book. I'm personally a big proponent of Rule of Cool and I know that fiction isn't supposed to be realistic, but dinosaurs are a case where the reality is just as awesome as fiction, if not more so.

Besides, some of this stuff is on roughly par with "African jungle populated by tigers and man-eating kangaroos" when it comes to not doing the research. A six year old could do better.

apparently ignorant of the fact they already used the name Bahamut.

Just because they use different words that derive from the same word for different things doesn't mean they're wrong for doing so.
Trouser Wearing Barbarian: Anyone else think that we could use a Useful Notes On Dinosaurs page?

Vampire Buddha: I'd like to have a Dinosaur Tropes index at some point in the future. Useful Notes...probbaly not, I think we can just discuss the truth in the trope entries.

Trouser Wearing Barbarian: Dinosaur Index, you say? I've abondoned the Useful Note idea, though.
Vampire Buddha: Removed the Dilbert examples.
  • After calculating that dinosaurs can't be extinct, Dilbert finds a family of them, Bob, Dawn and Rex, hiding behind his couch. Furthermore even though they all look like carnivores they're vegetarians.

They're funny, but not examples of what this trope is about (12:57 GMT, 26/5/2009)
Vampire Buddha: Applied a hatchet to all the natter this page had accrued.

    What was removed