Artistic License - Paleontology aka: Somewhere A Palaeontologist Is Crying
He's got a chauffeur who's a genuine dinosaur.
"'Many people (including some scientists!) are confused about what is or isn't a "dinosaur". They think that flying pterodactyls or fin-backed Dimetrodon or seagoing plesiosaurs or woolly mammoths are dinosaurs. THEY ARE WRONG!"
Justified in A Natural History Of Skull Island (based on the King Kong remake), in which the name was intentionally recycled for its modern apatosaur-descended sauropods. Not that that book didn't have plenty of other examples of this trope...
Similarly, plenty of works featuring a pterosaur will use the generic term pterodactyl (usually reserved for the short-tailed pterodactyloid pterosaurs or the genus Pterodactylus) for any kind of pterosaur. Also, said pterosaur is likely to be highly inaccurate, not closely resembling any known species.
The popularity of the film Jurassic Park led to a pan-medial explosion in use of the term "Jurassic" to describe the dinosaurs' time period. Actually, the Jurassic Period only comprised the middle third of the dinosaurs' era (in between the earlier Triassic and later Cretaceous), which in its entirety is called the Mesozoic. This was lampshaded frequently in Michael Crichton's original novel; probably because he didn't want to seem scientifically illiterate but wasn't about to give up such a cool name.
Cold-blooded dinosaurs and pterosaurs. Particularly, dinosaurs are often depicted as being unable to function let alone survive in cold climates, when there's evidence that some genera can thrive just perfectly in snowy environments (which are often said not to have existed in the Mesozoic era). Not to mention some of them are nocturnal. Even the anatomy of dinosaurs and pterosaurs suggests endothermic lifestyles.
Any medium (including a few documentaries) that suggests that mammals either didn't evolve until after dinosaurs died out or had barely done so when they did. In fact, mammals coexisted with the dinosaurs throughout most of the Mesozoic and may be present in the fossil record as far back as the late Triassic, which would make them almost as old as the dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs dragging their tails along the ground. An old idea, essentially derived from "Well, crocodiles do it, so they must have". In fact, dinosaurs walked with their tails held rigid. This early misconception has led to the academically approved vandalism of several dinosaur skeletons, to the point of even breaking the bones of some to make the tails drag as desired.
Dinosaurs only colored grey, green or brown. Another ancient trope derived from the "they were just huge crocodiles" line of reasoning. Crocodilians are grey, green or brown because they are adapted as semi-aquatic ambush predators that depend on camouflage, but in fact, most reptiles today have a wide range of skin colorations and rely heavily on visual communication (having a wider spectrum of color vision than mammals). It is likely that at least some dinosaurs had vibrant colors and patterns. That is not to say no Mesozoic dinosaurs were comparatively drably colored, but brightly-colored representatives probably weren't rare.
Anytime T. rex is spelled "T-rex" or some variation thereof (even "T. Rex" is unacceptable). T. rex is an abbreviation for the scientific name Tyrannosaurus rex, just like E. coli is an abbreviation for Escherichia coli, so the hyphen is not applicable. Scientific names are given with genus capitalized and species not, and are traditionally italicized.
Birds being regarded as different animals than dinosaurs. Also, when dinosaurs are referred to as lizards (probably because the word "dinosaur" actually means "Fearfully Great Lizard"). Actual lizards (including snakes) are further away on the evolutionary line from dinosaurs than birds (and crocodylians and even turtles) are.
Whenever Stegosaurus is said to have a walnut-sized brain and a second brain in its hip. Also, any depiction of Stegosaurus that has a fat body, a dragging tail, an immobile neck, stubby limbs, and paired plates (excusable if this is seen in older portraits, but not in modern ones).
Stegosaurus may be shown with a long sauropod-like neck in some depictions, when it had a short neck in real life (although Miragaia, a long-necked stegosaur, was discovered in 2009).
Whenever sauropods are depicted up to their necks in water. This is more commonly seen in older depictions, because paleontologists initially couldn't believe that such huge creatures could exist without being supported in water. However, we now know that sauropods could not breathe in such a situation, and so it is thankfully a slowly dying trope. In fact, studies on the flotation dynamics of sauropods show that they would have floated unsteadily on the water surface rather than walk along the bottom were they to take a dip beyond wading depth.
The belief that an ice age killed the dinosaurs.
Quadrupedal dinosaurs with elephant-like feet.
Plesiosaurs, the long-necked water reptiles, almost always have bendy necks. In some old books, they are even described as "snake-like". In reality, their necks were relatively stiff and had limited mobility.
Anytime saber-toothed cats are depicted with long Panthera-like tails, and when they are referred to as "saber-toothed tigers".
Also, saber-toothed cats are often shown attacking and even destroying things with their long canines, when in real life, these teeth are fragile and only used for stabbing.
Machairodus may be an exception to the above rules.
Dinosaur eggs will often be shown as gigantic, often over six feet tall. In reality larger eggs require thicker shells, but the shell has to stay air-permeable. This limits the size of porous calcium carbonate eggshell for dinosaurs and recently-extinct large birds to about 15 liters in volume and 35 centimeters in diameter — not much bigger than a basketball. No larger eggs were ever found. Eggs from less rigid materials were even smaller. Not to mention that a six-foot egg would also be implausible due to the square/cube law.
Spinosaurus with an allosaur or tyrannosaur-like skull and four-fingered hands. Science Marches On for works from before the late 1980s, but otherwise unacceptable.
Also, any spinosaurid that is depicted as an entirely terrestrial predator.
Dinosaur tails are often shown to be extremely bendy as if they are made of rubber. In real life, dinosaurs had relatively stiff tails (even the stegosaurs and sauropods, which had flexible tails as far as dinosaurs go), and the bipedal ones even use them for balance.
Mistaking a dinosaur's (especially a theropod's) antorbital fenestra for its eye socket.
Brachiosaurus with a diplodocid-like body. Brachiosaurids (or at least those for which forelimbs & tails are known) have longer forearms & shorter tails.
Egg-stealing Oviraptor. To be fair, oviraptorosaurs appear to have been omnivorous, but it is unacceptable if eggs are stated to be the main or only source of their diets.
Anytime Allosaurus is depicted looking like a three-fingered, downsized Tyrannosaurus (i.e. bulky body, no brow horns).
Frilled, venom-spitting Dilophosaurus.
Styracosaurus with no frill and the long spikes protuding from the nape. And to a lesser extent, it may be depicted with long, Triceratops-like brow horns.
Ankylosaurus is often depicted with the wrong body shape, such as resembling a tortoise with a club tail, having big spikes along its sides, or being too thin in width.
Carnotaurus (or any other abelisaurid) with tyrannosaur or allosaur-like arms.
Tyrannosaurs as allosaur relatives. Acceptable for pre-1990s works, otherwise horribly wrong.
Tyrannosaur arms described as weak.
Crocodilians as dinosaur descendants. While fairly closely related to true dinosaurs, crocodylomorphs (including extant crocodilians) are in fact a different type of archosaur.
Gantz is a partial aversion. Its raptors (actually aliens masquerading as raptor models in a museum) are notably covered in feathers (or maybe fur, but we'll be optimistic). On the other hand, the T. rexshoots fireballs... well, they're aliens.
Genesis Climber Mospeada subverts this trope: Stick and Ray fall into an underground cavern, where they see a mishmash of various kinds of creatures from different periods, including Dimetrodons, apatosauri, and tyrannosaurs. At first, Ray mentions that something "seems odd" about it, but he can't put his finger on it. Later, he realizes that the dinosaurs are a spattering of dinos from different periods, and the 'cavern' is actually a laboratory where the Inbit are trying to determine the form of life best suited to their "new" planet.
Dragon Ball features characters who either have the ability to fly or have a flying device with them. Convenient enough, there are some pteranodons or other prehistoric fliers around. Is someone still unable to fly? No problem, just bring in the T. rex. To be fair, Dragon Ball has a whole lot of other weird stuff so that the pterosaurs and such fit right in. Given that there are also canon dragons wandering around, it's likely it's just a Rule of Cool alternate Earth. Not featured in the manga, in the anime though? There are the same dinosaurs...on Namek. Which could be intended to imply that Kami brought them with him to Earth. Though given the relatively small size of his spaceship, he could only have brought eggs.
Another error is Toriyama's design of the Tyrannosaurus—first off, it has what look like horns on its head—now there MIGHT be tiny brow ridges over its eyes, but the design he used is completely off. Secondly, Tyrannosaurus had tiny arms with two fingers—he seemed to have based the arms on Allosaurus. And fourth, it is much too big. Tyrannosaurus would be 12-13 meters long (42-45 feet) and 4 meters high (13 feet), yet are drawn nearly 20-30 meters long and 10 meters tall.
One Piece has at least one island with dinosaurs, not that this is out of place given the rest of the world. It's surprisingly more biologically accurate than Dragon Ball Z's dinosaurs.
Averted in the Gaiden chapters of Saiyuki; what looks like a rampaging T. rex is proved to be genetically engineered to do just that by the Big Bad.
Pickle in Baki the Grappler. Holy heavens. Again, Itagaki Keisuke takes his "almost realistic extreme martial arts manga" and reminds us that it's a "freaking Rule of Cool extreme martial übermensch manga", with Pickle, the Jurassic man. Revived after being found frozen kicking aT. rexin the mouth.
You Are Umasou has tyrannosauroids that shift from tripod stance to horizontal stance, the now dubious genus "Titanosaurus" and a really bendy-necked elasmosaurid, as well as a bit of Anachronism Stew and Misplaced Wildlife. On the other hand, it has feathered maniraptors, hadrosaur nesting colonies, migrating herbivores, pack-hunting tyrannosauroids (a questionable speculation), and snow-roaming dinosaurs.
The purple Chilantaisaurus (according to the book and second episode of the animated series) trying to eat Umasou in this scene has a rather interesting case in which it may be hand waved. It is depicted with bull-shaped horns, and yet at the same time no decent skull material of the animal was found yet (although its skull may be no different than other carnosaurs and could have stubby horns).
Although because of the horns, some viewers refer to it as aCarnotaurus. Never mind that it has huge arms and claws, which Carnotauruslacked (and Chilantaisaurus did have).
The first Doraemon movie (and its remake) refers to a plesiosaur as "Nobita's dinosaur". Not that the franchise doesn't have other examples (Science Marches On aside).
In Cage of Eden, creatures from different points in history, who all lived in very different habitats, live in the island where the characters are marooned at. Justified since it is later revealed that the monsters are but man-made clones.
Subversion: In Runaways, Gert has a pet genetically engineered dinosaur named Old Lace. Everyone calls her a "raptor" and she does look exactly like a Jurassic Park raptor (Identified as a Velociraptor in the film, but very similar to the the later-discovered Utahraptor). However, as soon as Victor joins the team he points out that it is a Deinonychus, and raptors as depicted in Jurassic Park do not exist. Old Lace is still incorrectly depicted as featherless, but is nonetheless referred to as a real species with a plausible (for time-traveling, Mad Scientist-filled comic books) reason for existing. Also,
Played straight: During the Runaways/Young Avengers crossover, the young supers find themselves hit by a mini-blizzard. While the humans quickly shrug it off, Old Lace is rendered practically catatonic, and almost dies, because she's "cold-blooded". However, it was John Ostrom's study of Deinonychus which largely brought on the "Dinosaur Renaissance", which drastically altered the scientific and popular conception of dinosaurs. This renaissance has ultimately resulted in, at the very least, a consensus that some dinosaurs (such as Deinonychus) were closer to modern, warm-blooded birds than to modern, cold-blooded reptiles, physiologically speaking.
It's also worth mentioning that Old Lace wasn't "born" in any sense, but was genetically engineered in the 83rd century. Anything odd about her appearance or physiology pales in comparison to her having a telepathic link with Gert.
Subverted in a Batman comic. During the Knightfall storyline, Batman and Commissioner Gordon find a dead man inside the skeleton of a dinosaur. Gordon calls the dinosaur a "Brontosaurus" before being corrected as Apatosaurus by a curator, who tells them the story of how the skull of one dinosaur matched the head of another and the other way roundnote Although this is actually a common misconception. It's true that Brontosaurus was a spuriously assigned new genus for what only qualified as a new Apatosaurus species, and that it had the wrong head, but these are two separate issues with the fossil that have become conflated in the public consciousness, giving its "two-head" clue about the culprit: Two-Face.
Though the prehistoric beasts in this Batman comic seem to be robots of some sort, allowing for some errors, there is one completely unforgivable mistake: they misspell the word "dinosaur"!
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs... look at the title. If you're expecting accuracy from a series involving dinosaurs coming back several hundred years in the future, why are you even bothering?
According to one Chick Tract, the dinosaurs escaped the great flood by getting on the Ark with all the other animals. Unfortunately, the flood destroyed much of the plant life, and the reduced oxygen levels made them sluggish and slow. They were ultimately hunted into extinction by human hunters who considered "dragon meat" to be a delicacy.
A lesser-known Spider-Man villain is "Stegron the Dinosaur Man", a ripoff of more stalwart villain The Lizard. The rather-too-conveniently-named Dr. Vincent Stegron steals the lizard formula from Curt Connors and (somehow) infuses it with dinosaur DNA, transforming himself into a half-man, half-Stegosaurus creature... which also has a taste for human flesh and is often depicted with sharp, pointy teeth. Stegron's plots have included:
Bringing dinosaurs back to life from their skeletons in museums, despite the fact that dinosaur skeletons in most museums are A) held together with wire, and B) are fibreglass replicas of fossils, which are bone-shaped rocks, or C) even if they're the authentic article, are bone-shaped rocks. Rock contains remarkably little genetic material (i.e., none).
Attempting to free the world for dinosaurs by having hundreds of humans in New York conveniently start acting more animalistic and killing each other... using a magic piece of meteorite that he found in a jungle.
A particularly glaring error in that story arc (as if the main plot weren't glaring enough) was where a modern lizard is regressed by exposure to the meteor and turns into a Velociraptor. Lizards are not descended from dinosaurs, nor are they closely related to them. If it had been a mutated pigeon, it would have been reasonably accurate, relatively speaking, but for a lizard it's on the same scale as showing a human somehow "regressing" into a water buffalo or a dolphin.
150,000 years ago, the title character of Rahan (a very well known caveman in France) encounters dinosaurs and sees them as survivors of a very distant past. It's really not as outlandish as some of the other examples on this page.
The entire storyline of Dinowars revolves around dinosaurs escaping into space to avoid the ice age, growing into a highly evolved civilization, and then returning to Earth to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.
Dr. Dinosaur in Atomic Roboclaims that "mammal energies" traveled back in time and granted him super-intelligence while wiping out all the rest of the dinosaurs, and then he built a time machine out of rocks, fronds, and crystals to travel to the present and get revenge. His inaccuracies (such as lack of feathers and presence of a larynx) are largely justified however, when Robo points them out and dismisses Dr. D's story as absurd, assuming he's just a genetic experiment based on a Jurassic Park dinosaur rather than a real one.
In one of Hamilton Comics' Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers early issues, Bulk and Skull are seen being Power Rangers, with Skull as Ranger with a Brontosaurus theme. However, Billy points out that it's incorrect and that it would be more scientifically correct "Apatosaurus". Skull, however, thinks it's a hilarious pun and ends up knocking Bulk over in the process.
Marville #4, ohboy. For starters, it is set on the "Jurassic Park", not "Period".
In Tyrannosaurus Rex , while there's dinosaurs and humans living together, the raptors are coated in feathers.
Horácio from Monica's Gang. A vegetarian baby T-Rex. Also, on Monica's Gang we have the Cavern Clan. Just imagine the Flinstones without all the American Sitcom situations to turn into something normal for prehistoric cavemen... like hunting dinosaurs.
Walking with Dinosaurs, after its first episode had aired, found itself a target for angry palaeontologists because of one scene that showed a Postosuchus urinating and not excreting its wastes the way its modern relatives, birds and crocodilians tend to. Later episodes gave more fuel to the debates. While beloved by many, and hailed as a milestone in paleo-documentaries (rightfully so), a number of dino enthusiasts still frown upon its "spectacle over science" approach. To be fair, most of their mistakes were a result of Science Marching On, and they still commited a lot fewer mistakes than the documentaries below.
They have the same naked generic "raptor" dromaeosaurs and improbably fierce dinosaurs that have been hanging around since Jurassic Park, plus the weird, unfounded suppositions about how dinosaurs behaved ("raptors" coordinated their hunts by using hand signals? Okay, then...) from Walking with Dinosaurs without quite the special effects quality of either.
Juvenile T. rex did NOT look like exact miniature copies of the adults and, in fact, looked more like Nanotyrannus. Oh, and also, there is a debate among paleontologists as to whether or not Nanotyrannus was even a separate genus of dinosaur at all or if the specimens found were really that of juvenile T. rex skeletons, with evidence leaning toward the latter. However, for all its other flaws, the series does dedicate a portion of that episode to the controversy over whether or not Nanotyrannus was its own genus.
It's interesting that in the narration they did say that juvenile T. rex were not shaped like miniature adults and were in fact physically very similar to Nanotyrannus. But then in the actual animation the juvenile T. rex were copies of the adult models and shrunk down. They could've at least used the Nanotyrannus model and changed the color scheme.
There is some anachronism in the series as well. Episode 8, "Raptor's Last Stand", has a flock of pterosaurs standing on the back of a Gastonia. Only problem, they were miniature azdarchid pterosaurs, pterosaurs who in some cases were bigger than a giraffe, and were at least condor-sized. There is the little fact that azdarchid pterosaurs didn't appear until the Late Cretaceous, which began around 100 MYA, while Gastonia and Utahraptor lived a full twenty-five million years earlier. That is the equivalent of a entelodont being labelled a contemporary of man.
Also, Pachyrhinosaurus is portrayed with a horn on its nose. What's the problem, you might ask? It got famous for lacking this feature.
Majungasaurus, just Majungasaurus. Not only did the show not get the memo that the dinosaur had gotten a name change from Majungatholus to Majungasaurus, but the host goes on to state that Majungasaurus's ugly appearance was caused by inbreeding, leading to horrible mutations. Apparently "Dinosaur George" doesn't know that, despite its lumpy skull and proportionately short legs, Majungasaurus was one of the prettier members of the abelisaur family, and in fact other species like Carnotaurus and Rugops were a lot more ugly looking.
Or perhaps "Dinosaur George" just happens to have weird ideas about dinosaur beauty?
They fail animal behavior pretty hard, too. The Nannotyrannus episode, for example—large predators kill competing species and their young all the time. Just look at the interactions between lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and cheetahs on the African savannah. It isn't even unheard of for a predator to continue to maul the carcass of a threat or rival long after such attacks are necessary. But the mother tyrannosaur tearing up the remains of the Nannotyrannus and scattering them around as a warning to other predators? That's probably giving them credit for a little too sophisticated of thinking.
If anything, scattering blood, guts, and bone around the area would have drawn other predators closer. Fail.
The animal behavior issue also comes up in the episode where a "raptor" pack takes on an Edmontosaurus as well. The narrator repeatedly says that the dromaeosaurs normally wouldn't take on such large prey, but they're driven to protect their territory. That's not quite how territoriality works. Have you ever heard of a family of foxes attacking a moose to drive it out of their territory? Carnivores defend their territories from other members of the same species. They don't care about keeping every living thing out of their space. After all, what would they eat if they did that? If it was near a den/young or if they were desperately hungry that would be one thing, but it makes no sense for them to keep attacking such a formidable animal because it's in their territory.
Monsters Resurrected, a Discovery Channel series, is easily one of the most inaccurate documentaries on prehistoric animals ever made; particularly in regards to the Spinosaurus episode. If anyone thought Jurassic Park III did a misleading job at portraying creature, it was nothing compared to this episode. Essentially, the Spinosaurus is portrayed as the ultimate predator of all time, able to effortlessly kill any other predator that lived in its time and region. In short, it is depicted as devouring a Rugops with one bite, killing a Carcharodontosaurus by slashing it across the face with its claws and effortlessly tearing apart the giant crocodylomorph Sarcosuchus (which was extinct by that time to boot). And that isn't all, its size is practically Godzilla-portioned, as it is able to pick up a 30ft long Rugops in its mouth and the thing appears to be no bigger than its head. Spinosaurus didn't grow much larger than 60ft, meaning the one depicted in the episode would have been close to 300ft. The episode also seems to take a lot of facts that we know about the animal out of context, seemingly with no other reason than to turn Spinosaurus into some kind of prehistoric Villain Sue.
They also got away with flexible-necked plesiosaurs and naked raptors in other episodes.
A full list of errors in the program would be the size of the show's Spinosaurus.
Animal Armageddon, while not a bad program when it comes to explaining science, had some of the worst and most ugly-looking CGI dinosaur recreations imaginable, almost all of which suffer from anatomical inaccuracies.
ITV's March of the Dinosaurs had dinosaur-freaks up in arms with just its preview images. While feathered tyrannosaurs and arctic mosasaurs might have looked awesome, the not properly feathered, small-winged (they should have actual wings with wing feathers) Troodons worked as horrible eye-sores for them. Indeed, we live in a time in which popular dinosaur restorations are forced to take a middle route between being too feathered for the general public's comfort, but not feathered enough to please dino-maniacs.
While not specifically about prehistoric life, The Most Extreme messed up big in episode 65, Awesome Ancestors. Just what did they screw up on, you may ask? Tyrannosaurus rex was more closely related to your standard chicken than it was to the Komodo dragon. A more appropriate ancestor for the Komodo dragon would be the 50-foot long mosasaur, a predatory sea-going lizard that lived around the same time as the last dinosaurs and are thought to be distantly related to modern-day monitor lizards.
T. rex had many traits similar to those modern-day birds and was most-likely warm blooded, unlike the cold-blooded Komodo dragon which has more standard reptilian traits. Oops.
Megalania would work just as well, being an actual giant lizard related to the Komodo dragon.
Paleoworld had an episode on prehistoric rhinoceroses that used an animatronic Triceratops. (To be fair, the palaeontological advisors did say that Triceratops was not, in any way, very closely related to any rhinoceros. The higher-ups did it anyways because Triceratops looked like a rhino slightly, and they had the footage, so they put it in the episode. So it's more an example of Executive Meddling.) Another episode contained the implication that Carnotaurus was older than Allosaurus.
There is an episode of Ancient Aliens that claims that dinosaurs survived into historical times, and were nuked by extraterrestrials. Not only does all shown evidence look fake or exaggerated, but they have religious archaeologists and come up with all sorts of strange ideas, including that aliens used genetic engineering to reintroduce animals like coelocanths and crocodilians because they existed in the Mesozoic and somehow had to appear in the present, and that dinosaur bones are painted with lead because they are extremely radioactive!
There was actually a fringe theory in the 1970s that the Cretaceous extinction event was a nuclear holocaust by a yet-undiscovered sapient theropod (so, Ultra Terrestrials rather than aliens). There are a few resemblances between the conditions observed at the end of the era and the effects of nuclear fallout, and any evidence of a civilization would have vanished in 66 million years. The theory, however, had more to do with Cold War anxiety than scientific plausibility.
Although not a bad program for explaining science, National Geographic's Evolutions somehow had a pair of Monolophosaurus kill a Diplodocus. Misplaced Wildlife and Anachronism Stew aside, the rationale for this basically came down to "Diplodocus was big, it was slow, and its teeth were ill-suited for combat". Try telling that to pretty much any large herbivore alive today. On the other hand, the Velociraptor has feathers with wings, and the Archaeopteryx model that briefly appears has long leg feathers.
There is a Soviet cartoon called Mother for Little Mammoth. It is about the eponymous mammoth who thawed out in our age searching for his mom. He finds one, an elephant in Africa. A truly happy ending, except one of the traits by which she accepts him is the fact that, like her, he has big ears — and the mammoth is pictured with such. Now, an elephant's big ears are heat sinks — mammoths didn't need nor have them.
The World of the Creatures plays with the trope throughout. The story takes place in the mind of someone obsessed with paleontology. As such, dinosaurs show up frequently. In many cases both accurate dinosaurs - such as a fully-feathered Utahraptor - and inaccurate ones like the featherless raptors of Jurassic Park appear side by side.
25 years later, the Disney Imagineers created a Primeval World diorama for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, with many of the individual scenes apparently inspired by Fantasia. This diorama, which is currently installed at Disneyland in California, is a slight improvement on the film — the first scene shows dimetrodons in a Coal Age forest of giant horsetails (and giant dragonflies), and then moves to a Jurassic swamp with some generic sauropods, followed by scenes featuring Pteranodon, Triceratops, and Struthiomimus (all Cretaceous). So far, so good; the sauropods look ridiculous and should not be munching water weeds in a swamp, but that can be put down to a combination of 1960's paleontological ignorance and artistic license. But then the final scene depicts a Stegosaurus battling some large carnosaur beside a violent lava flow. If the carnosaur is supposed to be a T. rex, as the narrator usually states, why does it have three fingers per hand, and what is the stego doing in the Cretaceous? You could ignore the narrator and assume that the setting has reverted back to the Jurassic for some reason, and the stego is fighting an Allosaurus... but that doesn't explain why stego has five tail spikes on its thagomizer. Sigh.
When all of the dinosaurs go extinct, some of them fall into several tar pits and cannot escape, possibly starving to death inside. The known tar pits are from the Cenozoic era. Which doesn't necessarily mean it didn't happen, only that we only have clear examples of this phenomenon from much more recent geological times.
When consulting paleontologists for Ice Age, the writers were reluctant about putting dodos in. They were told "Whatever, just please, no dinosaurs". Though there was a dinosaur in the film, it was frozen in ice, presumably for millions of years. Let's just hope those same paleontologists haven't seen the third installment...
The Land Before Time. Pity the professors of geology and paleontology who have small children at home, because all the errors in these films will indeed make a paleontologist weep. The original movie can be considered relatively accurate for its time (Anachronism Stew aside, and then only for stegosaurs and pelycosaurs), at least as far as dinosaur depictions in popular media are concerned. But the sequels and TV series zig-zag this trope several times, with notable aversions including the anatomically correct (if improbably large) Liopleurodon from "Journey to Big Water" and Ruby the Oviraptor having feathers.
Rex from Toy Story is a green plastic Tyrannosaurus rex with three fingers on each hand instead of two like in real life. Justified, since he's a toy T. rex, which is often portrayed incorrectly.
Were Back A Dinosaurs Story features Anatosaurus, which is indeed a bona fide member of the duckbill group. Sadly, the duckbill is shown with a long bony crest on the back of its head more reminiscent of a Saurolophus or Parasaurolophus than a smooth-headed "Anatosaurus"... The Pteranodon is even worse, having a long tail and being bipedal. And she is mistaken for a bat, which might be a lampshading of how ridiculously bat-like her wings are.
Dino Time 3D is not meant to be a biologically accurate film, but they did have one redeeming trait: a feathered baby Tyrannosaurus.
Films — Live-Action
Parodied in Caveman. Yes, there are cavemen and dinosaurs in the same film, but few scientists would be able to cry for the laughter. Not only does the movie occur "One Zillion Years Ago", but the main dinosaur seen in the movie is a geriatric T. rex that is alternately denied delectable cavewoman meat, stoned off a burning cannabis plant, and fondled and then smacked where it counts by a blind caveman (note that dinosaurs would have their goolies internal, like everything other than mammals does). The other prehistoric creatures include a pteranodon which has its (10ft long! Ouch!) egg stolen and a stop-motion creature resembling some outlandish Slurpasaur.
The original King Kong and its sequel Son of Kong feature many prehistoric animals portrayed as overly aggressive carnivores even if they were herbivorous (Apatosaurus, Styracosaurus, and Stegosaurus, to name a few) and one dramatically oversized pterodactyl to help ruin the image of its eponymous, misunderstood ape.
Peter Jackson's remake does the same, with the justification that they have been evolving the whole time and it's pure coincidence they look like popular depictions (but some don't, like the Ferrucutus or the Atercurisaurus). They even came out with a tie-in book exploring the unique fauna of the island — which shows the usual errors like the lack of any plumage on any non-avian dinosaurs - even the birds seem to have as little feathers as possible, pronated hands, live birth etc.; as well as many non-dinosaurian biological impossibilities.
Subverted with the Godzilla films in that Toho doesn't even try to pretend to be remotely accurate in any way whatsoever.
A case can however be made for the first movie, Gojira, which was to be taken seriously. In it, a paleontologist deduces that the titular monster hails form the Jurassic period by finding a trilobite in one of its footprints. Trilobites died out about 50 million years before that period, but this can be hand waved, given that in the movie's universe, prehistoric creatures still exist in modern times. The true error is that the supposed paleontologist places the Jurassic at 2 million years BC. He's off by about 150 million years. Even in 1954, scientists knew a lot better than this. And yes, there was serious paleontology done in Japan.
Somewhere a paleoanthropologist and an archaeologist are crying: in The X-Files: Fight the Future movie, we see a Neanderthal in North Texas 60,000 years ago. Not only were there no Neanderthals in the Western Hemisphere ever, there is strong dispute about whether there were hominids of any kind in the Western Hemisphere 60,000 years ago. Maybe they were all abducted by aliens?
10,000 BC: An Androcles' Lion type situation with a Smilodon. "Terror Birds" about 2 million years after they went extinct.note Though, we should at least be grateful that Roland Emmerich didn't use a Deinonychus or Utahraptor. And woolly mammoths being used to move bricks to build the Pyramids. Rule of Cool taken to the very limit.
In the beginning when hunting the mammoths; they refer to the head of the herd as the "Lead Bull", meaning that the leader of the herd is male. All indications are that mammoths behaved very similarly to modern elephants... who are led by matriarch females. The males travel separately from the herd.
It would seem that sometimes Science Marches Backwards. A partial specimen of what appears to be a small relative of the terror birds was recently discovered in North Africa. So that one "mistake" might not be as wrong as it seemed at the time.
The Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie (which should give you a hint as to its quality) 100 Million BC has the humans unable to detect the rampaging Giganotosaurus through a heat sensor because "dinosaurs are ectothermal" (sic). Even if Giganotosaurus was an ectotherm, its body temperature and metabolism by sheer virtue of its size would be like that of an endotherm (due to a little thing called inertial homeothermy). It would have showed up on a thermal sensor.
Also, the heroes visit South America 70 million years ago (despite the fact it's 100 Million BC...) and Gigantosaurus became extinct around 90 million years ago.
Jurassic Park: film-only issues include the Dilophosaurus being too small and having a retractable frill (for the practical purpose of distinguishing them from the velociraptors), and repeatedly misspelling the dinosaurs' names... though technically, they're "genetically-engineered" based on reptile and amphibian DNA; their resemblance to real dinosaurs is purely superficial.
The meteorite that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs is implied to have done so immediately, while also hitting Earth where present-day New York City is located. To be fair, this was before the actual location of the meteorite's impact and its affect were commonly known or proven.
The humanoid dinosaurs in the parallel world, such as Koopa and Lena, display qualities and behaviors more typical of modern lizards, such as tongue-flicking and prehensile tongue-use. However, it is implied that the dino-humans developed these traits over time as they became more like modern reptiles, while the prehensile tongue-use was taken from the games (Yoshi).
Pioneering filmmaker D.W. Griffith's 1914 film Brute Force shows a group of cavemen attacked by a dinosaur.
So dinosaurs became extinct because they no longer knew how to love each other?
In Batman & Robin, Mr. Freeze knows absolute zero about what killed the dinosaurs.
Freeze: The Ice Age!
Ironically, as That Other Wiki points out, the climate in the epochs immediately following the K-T extinction was substantially warmer.
The main villain of Devil Fish is a mutated Dunkleosteus/octopus hybrid. In the movie, ignoringthe obvious issues, Dunkleosteus is described as a prehistoric shark. Real Dunkleosteus were members of a now-extinct family, the Anthrodira, which left no surviving descendants and was only distantly related to sharks. They also claimed that the pliosaur Kronosauruswas a shark that lived during the "Cetaceous period" [sic], which was about 200 years ago (the 1770s?). Another fish that they describe as a prehistoric shark is a very modern, harmless basking shark.
The 1960 movie Dinosaurus! featured the discovery and unintentional revival of a Brontosaurus, a Tyrannosaurus rex, and a caveman. Obviously these are the most well-known pre-historic creatures today, but lived tens of millions of years apart.
The page image for Prehistoric Monster, taken from One Million Years B.C., depicts a kangaroo-stance Allosaurus that stands only slightly taller than the humans in the picture. In real life, even the smallest Allosaurus would stand about a foot and a half taller than an average-sized human being. (Also, assuming the title of the film is accurate, dinosaurs would have gone extinct some 64,000,000 years ago.)
In Pacific Rim, the Kaiju are stated to be so big that they require two brains "like a dinosaur". While some early paleontologists thought some dinosaurs (particularly the stegosaurs and sauropods) had two brains, virtually no paleontologist believes it today.
In the comedy Bringing Up Baby, one of the main subplots involves paleontologist Cary Grant retrieving a missing dinosaur bone with the help of Manic Pixie Dream GirlKatherine Hepburn. The bone in question is described as an "Intercostal clavicle". There is no such thing as an "intercostal clavical". Intercostal means "between the ribs" and the clavicle is a collar bone.
The dinosaur in question is called a brontosaurus. Even at the time the film was made, the scientific community would have called it apatosaurus.
Eric Garcia's Anonymous Rex series of novels is just odd but a few things stand out. The trilogy's premise is that talking animals walk among us disguised as humans, and that most of these are the few species of dinosaurs who survived the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous. They exist in the present day in exactly the forms they had on the other side of the K-T Boundary (though implicitly smaller or larger as the case may be). His protagonist is a Velociraptor — a Jurassic Park-style nekkid velociraptor with external ears — private eye. The other main characters tend to be obvious dinosaurs like tyrannosaurs and hadrosaurs. Garcia's only research (and he openly admits this) is to have read and watched Jurassic Park a lot, but there's so much Rule of Funny going on ("Manimal: the Musical!") that the lack of research actually serves to make the series funnier. (And did we mention the — ahem — interspecies romances?)
The movie adaptation is... less so. While in the books the dinosaurs' disguises are explicitly stated to be really good rubber suits, the movie clearly thought that idea sucked. So the dinosaurs, who did use rubber suits in the past, now use hyper futuristic hologram generators instead — probably because they dig out the old suits to use as a diversion and they're nowhere near as good as they could have been.
The Megamorphs book In the Time of Dinosaurs tried pretty hard to avoid this, with the only real anachronism given a Hand Wave (Tobias: "Who are you gonna believe, some scientist with a bunch of bones, or someone who was actually there?!") in the epilogue. (It was actually a case of Shown Their Work meets Rule of Cool - K.A. Applegate was doing her research, found out that certain dinos weren't around at the time of the extinction, then came up with the Hand Wave so she could get away with keeping them around.) Then again, it starts out with a nuclear explosion causing Time Travel and also had crab-aliens and ant-aliens in a minor war over the Earth at the same time, so...
The Jurassic Park novel actually doesn't commit this crime too much, as it tries to generally depict accepted theories on dinosaur behavior, and explains everything in a way that actually makes a lot of sense logically. The mix-and-match assembly of species from different periods is attributed to the fact that the geneticists who made the dinosaurs just didn't care, and John Hammond, the guy in charge, was just relying on the Rule of Cool. The name of the park was chosen to appeal to investors, and to customers (had it opened for business), and not with any regard for accuracy. The whole "can't see you if you don't move" is actually attributed to all the dinos, not just the T. rex, as they had to fill in genetic gaps with the DNA of similar modern day reptiles and amphibians, many of which actually do have motion-based vision. The Velociraptors, though, are a lot closer in dimension, even in the books, to really large Deinonychuses. Partially justified in that Crichton was relying on a classification that called Deinonychus a kind of Velociraptor; but this classification was the sole opinion of the famous paleoartist Greg Paul, in his widely-read book, not backed up by paleontologists.
It uses this trope when the dinosaurs are in any way interested in the humans. The idea of a Tyrannosaurus chasing a human for food is like you chasing a mouse for the same reason. The novel does Hand Wave the idea for the Velociraptors, though. As Malcolm mentions, somewhere along the line, they must have realized that humans are easy prey - much as tigers tend to become man-eaters if they kill a human while starving. Easier to kill, that is, as long as they aren't the main characters.
Possibly justified if the dinos are smarter than the humans gave them credit for, and have learned to associate the appearance and scent of human keepers with their daily delivery of food. Might T. rex have kept chasing the little squealing scampering things because she was used to them depositing a few hundred pounds of prime rib in front of her?
Mentioned in Stephen Jay Gould's Dinosaur in a Haystack:
Gould: Why did you put a Cretaceous dinosaur on the cover of Jurassic Park? Crichton: Oh my god, I never thought of that. We were just playing around with different cover designs and this was the one that looked best.
The sequel lampshades it with a character who points out several of the problems with the original, and comes up with a few guesses on what else could have caused things like the T. rex acting like it couldn't see them.
All of the problems or errors in Jurassic Park are lampshaded by the characters. They repeatedly criticize John Hammond for his negligence and lack of attention to detail. Henry Wu explicitly points out that the dinosaurs are not authentic, but rather scientific mishmashes of DNA that approximate dinosaurs for the consumption of tourists. As with Hammond, Wu is also depicted as being disinterested in the details of his work, and with deadly results.
Steven Baxter's book Evolution. While most of the time he gets the science right, and the speculative leaps he takes are somewhat within the bounds of plausibility, a few examples must be mentioned. The story about primates coming to North America has some anachronism and Misplaced Wildlife in it. Not only does it have indricotherid rhinos (native only to Asia), camels (who were only found in North America at this time), and such, it has gastornid birds inhabiting Oligocene-Miocene Africa...yes, even after these animals were supposed to have died out in the middle Eocene. The story involving Purgatorius has some flaws too. While Baxter does get it right by cloaking his troodonts in feathers, he leaves them off his dromaeosaurs. To add insult to injury, he makes the raptors cold-blooded, despite the fact that raptors are the very dinosaurs which ignited the cold blood, warm blood debate. In fact, even paleontologists who doubt endothermy in ornithischians and sauropods don't deny that raptors were most likely endothermic. And then there are the Giganotosaurus and Suchomimus in North America, many millions of years late and/or on the wrong continent; though this could be handwaved as them being different, not-yet-discovered species from those genera. In the story about the sapient Ornitholestes, he mentions that the only evidence humans had of these species is the disappearance of "the giant sauropods" in the Late Jurassic, since the sapient species bones and technology are too fragile to preserve. Now it's true that Diplodocus, the only species depicted in the story, did become extinct at the end of the Jurassic; but there were other giants, such as Sauroposeidon and Argentinosaurus, right through the Cretaceous.
Both used and lovingly averted in James Gurney's Dinotopia. Okay, yes, every prehistoric creature from Opabinia to woolly mammoths is coexisting in a continent the size of Australia, and the reason for this is hand waved, roughly anything that walks on land is smart enough to have a language and participate in a peaceful utopia alongside humans, large not-quite-lingual pterosaurs can take off and fly while carrying humans, and small ceratopsians can speak any language. But Gurney is also up-to-date on the world of paleontology, and although his raptors were naked in early books, he painted them with feathers in later ones. And everything has the right physiology. Dinotopia is a children's story with enormous detail in the dinosaurs.
While they aren't about dinosaurs, Steve Alten's Meg novels will make paleontology enthusiasts cringe. The opening scene of the first book has a T. rex chasing some hadrosaurs into the water, where it is eaten by aMegalodonexplicitly stated to be twice its size. *sigh* Carcharodon megalodon did not live during the Cretaceous (the giant shark appeared 47 million years after the dinosaurs died out) and it would not have been the top oceanic predator if it had lived in the Cretaceous (the big Mosasaurs would have been serious competition). In fact, Alten does have other giant carnivorous marine reptiles show up in his series, such as Kronosaurus, a pliosaur i.e. short-necked plesiosaur. Only, when they show up they are not only PREY to the Megalodon (pliosaurs were known to have eaten sharks quite often, judging by their remains, and quite a few were larger than 'Meg') but they have somehow evolved gills. That's TWO inaccuracies of nature in one!
Alten states that the kronosaurs were at the top of the oceanic food chain...until Megalodon evolved, and that the "cold-blooded reptiles" were forced down to the warm geothermal areas on the ocean bottom. Megalodon was cold-blooded too. And a new study suggests that plesiosaurs like Kronosaurus had a more or less stable body temperature. So, these Megalodons just showed up in the Cretaceous and overpowered all of the very large marine reptiles with their ferocious awesomeness? Yes, sharks are badass, but this is pushing Villain Sue territory!
Interestingly, though, there was a giant shark species that did live contemporaneously with the Cretaceous mosasaurs, and did prey on them, with ample fossil evidence from mosasaur bones (though the big Mosasaurs also preyed on them in return as well). It was Cretoxyrhina, the Ginsu Shark, and could grow over 30 feet long, and a 30 foot marine animal could potentially reach up to twice the mass of a T. rex, if not twice the length. Though the Ginsu Shark did go extinct before the end of the Cretaceous and would not have been contemporary to T. rex.
Alten wouldn't be the only one to greatly exaggerate Megalodon's size (the most realistic estimates place it at 50-60 feet long at maximum, Alten goes above and beyond 80-90 feet) and place it in the dinosaur era. It seems these two traits go hand in hand when attempting to write fiction for these things (yeah, because a shark as large as most whales isn't interesting enough, they need to insert dinosaurs).
Kronos. It rapidly becomes apparent that the author did not do any research whatsoever on plesiosaur biology. Among the worst is the eponymous Kronosaurus swimming in an up-and-down body motion like a whale, complete with flukes. The problem? Plesiosaurs had a stiff spine and were virtually forced to swim sealion or penguin style. Seeing as the author has a severe creationist lean, this F in biology could be due to not doing any research at all and trying to Dan Brown it. The author has several other books involving prehistoric life, which likely contain other issues.
Partially justified in the Conan story Red Nails. Conan encounters a "dragon" (which is obviously a dinosaur) - but despite the fact that the story is set "only" ten or twenty thousand years ago, the dinosaur is not a natural survival, but an extinct creature reanimated from fossils by powerful wizards.
The back cover of the novelisation of Doctor Who and the Silurians boasts that the story contains "a 40 ft. high Tyrannosaurus rex, the biggest, most savage mammal which ever trod the earth!" No T. rex fossil ever found has been that big; the largest one is 40 feet long from nose to tail. And then there's that other bit — while most of us aren't experts on the subject, we could probably tell you that T. rex was not a mammal.
In another Burroughs novel In Tarzan at the Earth's Core, a Stegosaurus is described as jumping from a height and using its plates as a gliding mechanism.
There is a children's book called Day of the Dinosaur which commits this sin in spades. None of the dinos are illustrated correctly and they all are depicted as living around the same time. Also, Dimetrodon, Mesosaurus and Eryops are called dinosaurs. (For those who don't know, Eryops was a newt-like amphibian that was roughly contemporary of Dimetrodon. It's portrayed as a land animal in the book. Also, the three foot-long Mesosaurus resembled a crocodile and lived at the same time as Dimetrodon and Eryops, but farther south. A filter-feeder, it was one of the first reptiles to return to an aquatic existence. A related coloring book makes it out to be a predator about thirty feet long, probably getting it mixed up with Mosasaurus.) To be fair, the book was from the sixties, so some of this is Science Marches On, but the rest is simply inexcusable, as this review points out.
The Berenstain Bears book "At the Dinosaur Dig" averts this for the most part save for two major mistakes: Dimetrodon was referred to as a reptile and Mosasaurus was described as being bigger than any shark (Megalodon was larger).
The Berenstain Bears and the G-rex Bones also averts this when the eponymous G-rex (short for Gigantosaurus rex) was proven as a hoax by pointing out that while the dinosaur is twice the height of Tyrannnosaurus its bones are only twice as thick, and the laws of physics suggests that it would be impossible for animal with T. rex's body shape to be twice its height otherwise its bones would have to be so thick that there would be no room for flesh and internal organs. This is somewhat true seeing as how that the carnivorous dinosaurs larger than T. rex are merely the same height or slightly taller. Who knew Berenstain Bears went there?
A Thomas the Tank Engine picture book was actually about Thomas and Stepney finding a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on Sodor, despite that dinosaur being native to North America (they really should've uncovered a Proceratosaurus, Eotyrannus, Yaverlandia, Becklespinax, Valdoraptor, Megalosaurus, Sarcosaurus, Aristosuchus, Calamospondylus, Iliosuchus, Metriacanthosaurus, Eustreptospondylus, Duriavenator, Neovenator or Baryonyx, all of which are actually theropod dinosaurs that are native to England). Well, at least the dinosaur skeleton the Narrow Gauge locomotives found in the show is actually that of a Dacentrurus (a large stegosaurid native to England).
this one, which is just one big Critical Research Failure from beginning to end. For starters, it has herbivorous plesiosaurs, states that Ceratosaurus was a tyrannosaur (right, and you're a tarsier), claims that Tyrannosaurus rex grew to 65 feet long (try 42 feet), has naked raptors, claims that Oviraptor lived on eggs (discarded in the nineties), has aquatic sauropods (disproven in the sixties, while the book was written in 2003), says that Archaeopteryx evolved after the raptors and has really lame 3D.
Dinoverse, while mostly suffering from Science Marches On, has a weird disconnect between the illustrations and the text. The illustrations are all accurate for the time, but in the text Tyrannosaurs can casually slap their tails on the ground and are twenty feet or so tall, as if they were the archaic tripod-bodied types and not the horizontally-oriented ones in the illustrations. Mentions are also made of the lips of creatures which are beaked.
The Geronimo Stilton book "Valley of the Giant Skeletons" managed to pass a Psittacosaurus skeleton as a Tarbosaurus skeleton. Most of the palaeontology stuff is okay, though.
Played painfully straight, however, in the spin-off series Cavemice, which is basically just another version of The Flintstones with mice.
The spin-off graphic novel Dinosaurs in Action has the main cast go back 140 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period, but they encounter both North American and Asian genera that lived 80 to 66 million years ago. The genera featured include a flexible-necked Elasmosaurus, a Quetzalcoatlus more closely resembling an oversized Pteranodon, and a sparsely-feathered egg-stealing Oviraptor (though it was at least described as an omnivore). On the other hand, Velociraptor is surprisingly anatomically accurate, even being coated in feathers.
Jane Gaskell's Atlan novels take place in a fantasy prehistory that includes, among other oddities, people using dinosaurs (which are simply referred to as "dinosaurs" with no other description) as transportation. The conceit of the series is that it's humanity's true origin story, which makes the anachronisms stick out all the more. While the narrative is indeed based on long-outdatedsources, humans coexisting with dinosaurs does not feature in any of them. More likely, this element comes from the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Played with in the Annals of Improbable Research article The Taxonomy of Barney, which, after noting Barney's un-dinosaur-like behavior and revealing through an X-ray photograph that Barney's skeletal structure is indistinguishable from that of Homo sapiens, rules out the hypotheses that Barney is more closely related to dinosaurs or dead fish than humans.
In 2010, National Geographic published The Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever, which, despite it being written by children's paleontology writer "Dino" Don Lessem, is full of errors. Observe:
Classification brainfarts abound (ceratosaurs are often confused with ceratopsians, while dromaeosaurids are said to include many non-dromaeosaurids).
Several long-discredited theories (placement of coelophysoids in Ceratosauria) are treated as fact, as well as hypotheses that are questionable (synonymizing Triceratops and Torosaurus).
Inaccurate size estimates (the giant carnosaur Chilantaisaurus is listed as being 10 feet long).
Hit-and-miss illustrations (inaccurately feathered coelurosaurs are persistent).
An incomplete dinosaur list (the tyrannosaur Bistahieversor is listed, although the megalosaur Leshansaurus, which was published a month before, is absent).
Averted in The Magic Tree House movie: the dinosaurs featured lived at the same time and place, Pteranodon is quadrupedal and takes off with its wings, Alamosaurus has a brachiosaurid-like body instead of a diplodocid-like one, and Tyrannosaurus has non-pronated hands. On the other hand, Pteranodon is too big and lives inland, the hadrosaurs have visible fingers, and pterosaurs were referred to as dinosaurs in a book.
Dinosaurology (a 2013 installment in Dugald Steer's Dragonology series) attempted to subvert this trope, with the inaccuracies that may pop up being Hand Waved in that the book is meant to be the translated copy of a traveler's journal.
Destination Truth, the 'flying dinosaur' episode. Lets see, they identify the creature from the descriptions as a pterodactyl, yet never, not ONCE say its a flying reptile, not a flying dinosaur. The closest thing to a flying 'dinosaur' are the first birds, NOT the pterosaurs, which are a completely separate species taxon.
The biggest goof actually occurs in the time-travel themed series, Power Rangers Time Force, rather than either of the dinosaur-themed ones. In a trip to prehistoric times, the Rangers both get chased by a Tyrannosaurus and find a painting of a time-tossed zord. Another real goof is that they had a Stegosaurus alongside Cretaceous fauna.
The rangers in Zyuranger supposedly come from 170 million years ago, during the Jurassic period- a time at which none of the animals they represent lived (neither did humans, which means it's probably meant to be some sort of Alternate History in which they all did live at the same time).
The Dragonzord/Dragon Caesar isn't even a prehistoric animal. It's more of... er... Godzilla?
The Dinosaurssitcom had an... unusual take on this concept. The writers consciously did no research in order to get in more jokes. As such, we have things like Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus living together, carnivorous Triceratops (although the theory that they may have been omnivorous is getting more currency, of late), and cavemen (and mammoths and mastodons were mentioned). They also live in 60,000,000 B.C., 5 million years after the dinosaurs should have become extinct (oddly enough, the last episode of the series features them going extinct). They are living in houses complete with refrigerators and eight-track tape players, so we really can't fault them.
Lost Tapes has several of its monsters portrayed as Prehistoric Animals. None of them make sense. Goofs includes a surviving Azhdarchid Pterosaur behaving as a modern (albeit giant) Shrike; a people-eating Elasmosaur and a Megalanialiving in rainforest.
The Little Howard's Big Question episode "Could The Dinosaurs Ever Come Back" is a carnival of this. To list a few; a T. rex is shown with three fingers, as well as implying that all dinosaurs lived at the same time (using stock footage from Walking With Dinosaurs) and mentioning "Brontosaurus" like it's still a valid genus.
Doctor Who is guilty of a number of egregious examples of this, even more so when you remember that it is aimed primarily at children, arguably the most dino-savvy demographic on the planet. Its most notable flub is its creation of the "Silurians", a race of humanoid-reptilian beings who coexisted with the dinosaurs, despite the fact the Silurian Period (called the "Silurian Era") ended about 200 million years before the dinosaurs evolved, a span of time that tests the limits of the Rule of Cool to breaking point. A later serial attempted to correct this by saying they should properly be called "Eocenes", which is certainly better, but no more right, as the Eocene began about 10 million years after the dinosaurs went extinct. A third attempt to give them a name decided on Homo reptilia, which inadvertently placed them in the same genus as us.
One of the main plotlines of the Silurians' oddly-nameddebut serial relies on humans experiencing "primal fear" when faced with the reptilian monster of the day, even going so far as to regress to a caveman mentality and start painting on walls. But by the time the higher monkeys had split off and begun expansion, the age of the reptiles was long gone.
In a rather strange case of Science Marches On, the original introduction of the Silurians occurred in 1970, before evidence from the Moon landings had disproven the idea that the Moon was a captured body from another part of the Solar System. As such, the arrival of the Moon is used as a plot point, as the Silurians went into hibernation to escape it, thinking it was about to collide and destroy them, only to be left sleeping when it didn't happen. Rather ironically, within a decade the idea that the Age of Dinosaurs had been ended by an impactor from space was gaining ground, enough for a later Who serial, Earthshock, to use it as part of its plot.
One episode of 24-Hour Restaurant Battle had a caveman-themed restaurant called The Cave-In. Every single food item was dinosaur-themed, even things like ribs and burgers that could have been named after any animal at all (like, say, mammoths).
To be fair, they did address the issue of humans coexisting with dinosaurs. According to the cited experts, there is no evidence that any dinosaur ever occupied the arboreal niche of our primate ancestors, leaving it open for them to exploit. Whether this is actually true is up for debate.
Primeval doesn't have accurate creature models, but the creators have acknowledged that they do their research - they just decide to deliberately exaggerate things for dramatic effect.
Lampshaded in an eighth season episode of The Office (US). While talking about the many unpleasant aspects of living in Florida, Robert California remarks, "Alligators are dinosaurs, Dwight. You know that, right?" Dwight, visibly torn between correcting his boss and letting the inaccuracy slide, quietly answers, "Mmm... it's complicated."
Bipedal, scaly pterosaurs that carry things with their feet and only eat fish (yes, even the Quetzalcoatlus).
Not only are the deinonychosaurs not feathered enough, they don't even have the right kind of feathers (real deinonychosaurs had actual feathers, not protofeathers).
Mispronunciations of several dinosaur names (Euoplocephalus is pronounced with a hard "C" instead of a soft "C", and Compsognathus is pronounced with an "Ä" sound instead of an "Ā" sound).
Pronated hands on the theropods.
Elephantine forelimbs on the sauropodomorphs and ornithischians.
A Deinonychus skeleton seen in one episode is identified as Dromaeosaurus.
Dan translates Corythosaurus as "helmet head" in one episode (it actually means "helmet reptile"; "helmet head" would be "Corythocephale").
When discussing Brachiosaurus in one episode, Dan incorrectly identifies an illustration of Apatosaurus as that genus (the book he was reading did actually have a Brachiosaurus illustration).
The generic Triassic dinosaurs seen in one episode look like small lizards.
Cursorial eudromaeosaurs that hunt in packs (exactly how much they cooperated while hunting is debatable, but it almost certainly wasn't to the same degree as living canids).
Sauropod nostrils in the wrong position.
Other assorted anatomical errors (the tail of Brachiosaurus is too long, the skull of Spinosaurus is too tubular, etc).
According to the song "Walking in Your Footsteps" by The Police, the mighty Brontosaurus walked the Earth 50 million years ago. In reality, the most recent Brontosaurus (Apatosaurus) remains are nearly 150 million years old, and the extinction of the dinosaurs occurred 66 million years ago.
Danny Saucedo's song "Dinosaur Bones" from the album Drawings of Dinosaurs includes a line about pterodactyls flying in "the Pleistocene sky." By the time of the Pleistocene epoch, pterosaurs had been extinct for nearly 64 million years.
An early series of FoxTrot comic strips had Jason filming a dinosaur movie, with his pet iguana Quincy as the dinosaur. He called the film "Iguanadon Terror", even though Quincy looked nothing like an actual Iguanodon (Jason was aiming for something like a Dimetrodon, though when asking if Quincy could pass for a dinosaur he was told that Quincy only looked like an iguana with a fan taped to its back).
A later strip had Jason doing a claymation movie called "Mesozoic Park"; he pointed out that Jurassic Park was mostly about dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period.
In another strip, he was seen writing a letter explaining the brontosaur/apatosaur controversy to a cookie manufacturer that used the former term in the "Fun Facts" of their dinosaur cookie boxes. He then immediately tries to blackmail them into sending him free cookies.
Bill Watterson, the author of Calvin and Hobbes, admits that his earliest strips involving dinosaurs were pretty embarrassing. After doing some research, and getting as excited about dinosaurs as Calvin, his drawings of dinosaurs became more and more accurate and realistic (as an aside, tellingly, most fantasy sequences in Calvin and Hobbes are drawn in a more realistic way than Calvin's day-to-day life). If you have a collection of Calvin and Hobbes anthologies, note that by around 1994, it's obvious that Watterson invested in a Gregory S. Paul book for anatomy and in a set of "Jurassic Park" action figures for posing and staging.
One strip involved such realistic Dromeosaurs that they would scare small children. It didn't help that Calvin was talking about them eating small children. The little freak!
Shortly after that strip, Jurassic Park came out, and Watterson stopped putting dinosaurs in the strip for a time so that they wouldn't be negatively compared to the CGI.
Calvin: "This is so cool!" Hobbes: "This is so stupid."
Despite Calvin normally having a callous disregard for scientific accuracy, this trope is amusingly subverted and lampshaded when Calvin and his parents visit a natural history museum. Calvin's mom asks him (in that typical way that moms do when they're trying to encourage their kids to talk about something they like) to tell her about the Stegosaurus statue outside. Calvin goes into a long (and scientifically accurate) explanation of the most likely habits and characteristics of Stegosaurs, until his mom tries to humor him further by asking if the T. rex and the Stegosaurus used to fight each other, leading to this outburst:
An in-universe case of artistic license occurs when Calvin has an Imagine Spot of himself discovering the fossil of a new theropod, the Calvinosaur. It's as big in comparison to a T. rex as a T. rex is to a human being. The sort of monster any kid would love to give his name to.
B.C., perhaps one of the most egregious examples of a newspaper comic that has both dinosaurs and humans. Incidentally, though the creator, Johnny Hart, was a self-proclaimed Christian fundamentalist, the scientific shortcomings seem to be less because of his beliefs and more for Anachronism StewPlayed for Laughsnote The strip was started about two decades before he even had his conversion anyway..
After Hart's death in 2007, the strip started to feature dromaeosaurids, which are as usual featherless and no different than the ones in Jurassic Park. One strip did, however, point out how birdlike it was in an amusing way.
Alley Oop, starting in 1932, with his pet, Dinny. Before Television!
The Far Side had many strips that showed or implied dinosaurs and cavemen living at the same time. However, the strip describing the "thagomizer" has been endorsed by actual paleontologists for giving a name to a certain part of stegosaur anatomy, even though it implied that said part posed a danger to primitive hominids. Gary Larson has said that he is well aware of the anachronism and while part of him justifies the cartoons on the Rule of Funny, part of him feels very guilty about using this trope, especially given the high regard in which he is generally held by the scientific community.
One Beetle Bailey strip implies that life has existed on land for only five million years.
Dilbert features Bob the Dinosaur, who interacts with modern humans rather than cavemen. At least one strip has implied that he woke up after hibernating for millions of years.
Invoked to the hilt in Gottlieb's Caveman, where the player maneuvers the caveman to hunt brontosaurs and pterodactyls while avoiding the Tyrannosaurus rex.
Karl Pilkington from The Ricky Gervais Show often makes mistakes when it comes to pre-historic life (as he does with everything else), referring to how they lived with dinosaurs and other "facts" he picked up from fictional works. Ricky repeatedly tells him he's wrong and that he's either picked this up from The Flintstones or 10,000 BC and mistaking it as fact.
Prior editions of Dungeons & Dragons handle the various species of dinosaur better than it does mythology, even pointing out the differences between the Velociraptor and the Deinonychus. They still list Pteranodon and Elasmosaurus under the same catchall of "dinosaurs", though; in the Fourth Edition, however, they are renamed Behemoths. Plus still allowing the Quetzalcoatlus and Elasmosaurus to swallow humans whole (note: not only could they probably never do that without dislodging their entire lower beak, but a Quetzalcoatlus with a human in its gut would probably be too heavy to fly).
They honestly go in a lot of different directions with this, depending on the edition. At one time, dinosaurs were classified as Beasts (a different creature type from Animals, in much the same way that humans are Humanoids and most invertebrates are Vermin).
Genius The Transgression features a Bardo based on discredited theories of the Hollow World, which seems to be filled with every paleontological mistake ever made, such as brontosaurs (no, not apatosaurs, brontosaurs), the old Victorian notion of what an iguanodon looked like, and Piltdown Men.
There is this very obscure, very low-quality board game sold in Hungary that goes by the name Küzdelem a dinoszauruszok földjén (Battle in the Realm of the Dinosaurs). Has only a handful of pictures, all of which contain horrible depictions of Stock Dinosaurs — one Brachiosaurus with a backwards knee, and one with shorter forelegs than back legs, standing as erect as a human; toothed, bat-winged Pteranodons with the bat fingers sprouting from the back of the wings; and gigantic, scaly Velociraptors with Therizinosaurus-like claws. In short, it is the board game equivalent of "Chinasaurs" (see lower).
Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game has a "Dinosaur" type as one of its monster types: the type is mostly made up of the popular dinosaurs listed above, and unfortunately includes a mammoth. An undead mammoth. Fortunately, later, non-zombie Mammoth monsters (such as Big-Tusked Mammoth) are more correctly listed as Beast-Type. They also thankfully averted the "nekkid Raptor" trope with Black Veloci. A lot of the earlier dinos, though, were the classic "nekkid" version (but see also Dinosaurs Are Dragons). The older cards were victims of Science Marches On as noted above; those cards were first released before the feathers thing had been discovered.
While we're on the subject of dinosaurs being given powers and placed on trading cards, Dinosaur King.
The DinoRiders franchise had dinosaurs from virtually everywhere, plus the obligatory pterosaurs and Dimetrodon. A spinoff line of prehistoric mammals provided another example of this trope, with an entelodont (giant pig-thing) alongside a giant ground sloth, saber-toothed cat, and wooly mammoth. Then again, this is a series that concerns the exploits of aliens waging war on prehistoric Earth with the help — voluntary in the case of the good guys, not so much in the case of the bad guys — of the animals. Rule of Cool heals many a wound.
Playschool had a toy line called Definitely Dinosaurs. It featured fully articulated prehistoric creatures, and was meant to be educational... so what are the cavepeople doing there?
At least the packaging pointed it out and said it was just for fun. The real question is why the cavemen were all so outlandishly stocky.
Tyco's ImagiNext line does the same thing, though it has no pretensions of being educational. Bonus no-prize for the Carnivores Are Mean storyline.
Fisher-Price has a line called Imaginext Dinosaurs which is various dinosaur toys (IE: Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus (sic) along with some commonly-used non-dinosaurs (IE: Sabre-Toothed Tigers, Woolly Mammoths, Dimetrodons, Pteranodons, etc.)...Oh, and cavemen. Considering it's meant to be a science fiction-fantasy-action line of toys for kids, it's somewhat forgivable. However, the real outrage is that one of the toys (which is supposed to be a Dilophosaurus, including the cliched Jurassic Park-inspired frill...which it NEVER had) is called a "Frilled Raptor". Can you hear your inner paleontologist sobbing now?
Much of the dinosaurs found in Dollar Stores are guilty of this trope. Case in point, at least one Dollar Store has toys for sale that include a Ceratosaurus labelled as an Oviraptor and a Dimetrodon labelled as Spinosaurus.
And there exists one such "Chinasaur" package that depicts a T. rex eating a huge lump of grass... maybe it was hay, but in either case, it was not flesh-colored.
Okay, that one is a blindingly obvious mistake to even the most paleontology-uneducated individual. Isn't T.rex famous for being the most badass carnivore in the history of the planet, isn't it the one always shown biting the head off of every other dinosaur? I take it the toy makers had been living in a cave their whole lives.
Gary Gygax created a handful of the iconic monsters of Dungeons & Dragons when he bought a bag of toys to use as miniatures which could only have been called "dinosaurs" euphemistically, despite this being what the bag was labelled as. The rust monster was inspired by what looked like a cross between a flea and a lobster with a propeller on its tail. Only a handful of the rest were anything close to dinosaur-shaped. For reference, the Bulette is probably the most dinosaur-like of the monsters that share this origin.
In general, most toys would be more accurately conveyed in the term "Prehistoric long dead things in colorful poses," but that would not please many parents.
Check out this tiny "Carnotaurus" from a German toy series, called Predators. The only research the sculptor made most likely stopped at "carnivorous dinosaur with horns". Quite strange, considering the series has models of other, much more obscure and yet better sculpted animals. Though it also has a Sauropod calling itself a Lystrosaurus, a naked raptor, and a Theropod labeled "Megatherium". The linked blog offers a variety of similarly exquisitely bad Chinasaurs.
There exist several lines of cheaply made Transformers-ish figures, all of which turn into dinosaurs, following the same general pattern: back legs become arms, the legs are formed from the belly, the tail splits in two to become shoulder-cannon mounts, and the head ends up on their chest (or in some cases lower, which lead to TF fans dubbing some of these toys "Dinocock Prime"). There is one figure called Deinonychus-Bot, however the actual toy turns into a harmless and cute-looking basal ornithopod/iguanodont! For some reason, this makes the toy all the more badass.
Perhaps transforming alien robots only have Jurassic Park for reference with respect to Earth's prehistory.
Ever since biomechanical dinosaur cyborgs got introduced to LEGO's BIONICLE canon, fans have eagerly waited for one to appear in an illustrated form of media. The graphic novel Legends of Bara Magna finally depicted one, but it was a one-panel wonder of a stereotype Flintstones-styled tail-dragging "Brontosaurus" with what looked like miniature lamp-posts sticking out of its cyber-head. But then it kicks in: this is an aversion, since Bionicle animals have never looked realistic.
The Playmobil dinosaur line largely averts this: the Pteranodon has a toothless beak, most of the theropods have non-pronated hands, the spinosaurid is larger than the tyrannosaurid, etc. The only real caveat is the lack of feathers on the deinonychosaur.note And the nostrils atop the brachiosaur's head, but that one's a bit more technical.
There's a set of models called "Prehistoric Digs". The advertising copy for them in the catalog says, "Discover a hidden 3D dinosaur skeleton! Then assemble the scattered bones to reveal your very own 10" museum quality reproduction of a 70 million year old 3D dinosaur skeleton. Specify T-Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, or Mammoth."
Jurassic Park's Chaos Effect line of toys relied entirely on the Rule of Cool with its insane Mix-and-Match Critters. This is a pretty abstract concept to begin with, though there were instances where you had to wonder how these mutants came to look the way they do, considering what species they're composed of. Velocirapteryx, for example, is said to be a Velociraptor combined with an Archaeopteryx, yet the figure features an elongated pterosaur-finger for a wing, which neither of these had, and said finger serves as an attachment point for the wing feathers, when these really grew out of their second fingers. Also, since Velociraptor and Archaeopteryx were nearly identical-looking dinosaurs anyway, if we did mix them together, the differences between the base dinos and the resulting mutant would hardly be all that apparent (it would be like mixing together a wolf and a jackal). However, as far as the feathers go, there's a fair bit of Science Marches On taking place, because it was only discovered later on that Velociraptor itself was feathered, which makes the figure Hilarious in Hindsight.
In the regular toy line, Tanystropheus◊ is portrayed as able to constrict its victims with its long neck like a python. Real Tanystropheus◊ couldn't do this - their necks were relatively stiff, and scientists believe that they mostly ate small prey like fish.
In Transformers's Power Core Combiners line, the Dinobot Grimstone is misidentified on his box as a Triceratops, whereas he's really a Styracosaurus. Eh, easy mistake to make, especially since he has a stylized, robotic dino-mode. But worse, his Dimetrodon-drone is said to be a Spinosaurus on the same package!
The Dino Valley lineup of Chap Mei Toys is the embodiment of this trope. It has scaly raptors and pterosaurs, Pteranodon with a beak full of teeth and an additional Tapejara-esque crest, a bizarre cross between an Ornithocheirus and a rhamphorhynchid labled as Pterodactylus, an Ornitholestes (referred to as "Dragonosaurus" in some packaging) with a crest on its snout and raptor-like footclaws, a featherless egg-stealing Oviraptor, double-crested spinosaurids, a frilled Dilophosaurus with a sail and only two toes, bendy-necked plesiosaurs, a Carnotaurus with a small nose horn and tyrannosaurid-like arms, and a Brachiosaurus with a diplodocid-like body.
Averted in Jetpack Brontosaurus. As the game acknowledges, the title character is an Apatosaurus. Brontosaurus is just his name. It also takes pains to use the Order name Pterosaurs in the introduction, some of which were contemporary with the Apatosaurus, rather than a specific genus that might not have been. All other weirdness can be written off to it taking place in a surreal dream world. Then again, it's made by the same people as Raptor Safari, below, which similarly delights in being much, much more scientifically accurate than such a blatantly ridiculous game needs to be.
As to not be unfairly complimentary, those aren't Velociraptor. They look like excessively gaudy Utahraptor.
Yoshi, anyone? Super Mario World featured Dinosaur Land, which was inhabited by Yoshis (who are variously referred to as dinosaurs and dragons, depending who you talk to). So within the whole Mario canon, we have dinosaurs who live among humans, fly or spit fire, swallow other creatures amphibian-style and turn them into eggs, which they then use as missile weapons! And later on they had a limited form of speech.
Un'Goro Crater is a zone devoted to a mashing-together of various popular "dinosaurs" with no regard for geological timelines. Pterosaurs, raptors, stegosaurs, dimetrodons, and renamed T. Rexish critters all hang out within a few city blocks of each other. Along with gorillas.
Un'Goro, along with Sholazar Basin, is really an homage to Land of the Lost (all that's missing are the Sleestaks), and probably any other movie/show that has a hidden valley of dinosaurs. With a dash of Nintendo thrown in.
It's getting better—or worse?—with the introduction of the Archaeology skill in game. Animal and vegetable fossils are a subset of the skill, and include a rare pet and mount that are both magically reanimated fossilized raptors, implying that Azeroth's raptors have been around for a very long time. (Probably long enough to evolve off their feathers, pick up the carnotaur-esque horns, and gain the sentience the game keeps pointing out.) There's even a nod to feathery raptors with the Feathered Raptor Arm item, though it's promptly lampshaded in the item's own description as just-as-likely belonging to one of Azeroth's hojillion other magical abominations. Also mentioned are the possibility of still-living giant trilobites, and while the entry on the nautilus shell says all the shelled squids in the world are extinct, there's two very large examples hanging out in Vashj'ir.
Brought Up to Eleven with the Pandaren Isle of Giants, in which all sorts of monstrously large dinosaur-esque creatures are put in groups wandering about on the island. The island itself is a blatant Shout-Out to the Jurassic Park movies, there is even a camp site outright named so.
Guild Wars has dinosaurs on the Tarnished Coast in Eye of the North. The Tyrannus and Raptors are relatively accurate, the Ceratodon somewhat less so (it's an armored ceratopsian with one horn on its forehead and two more on its shoulders). Hard to tell what the Ferothrax and Angorodon are supposed to be, though...
One of the recurring enemies in Final Fantasy VIII is a red T-Rexaur (Tyrannosaurus rex). Odds are that many first-time players got offed by one during their first hour of playing by accidentally wandering into the forest area in the Balamb Garden training center.
On the other hand, all monsters in the game are actually from the moon, so a red dinosaur is really the least its problems.
The far past of Chrono Trigger features an ongoing war between mammals and dinosaurs, the latter being led by the Reptites. The dinosaurs and Reptites eventually became extinct during the ice age caused by the fall of Lavos to Earth.
Played with in Fossil Fighters, a mons game which has you digging up fossils and reanimating the dinosaurs within. The "vivosaurs" are explicitly different from dinosaurs and have different traits and names than real dinosaurs do (it's explained that's a process of the revivification device) but there is a section that lets you see what creatures they were based upon. There's even a smilodon, properly called a smilodon by the game.
Mostly averted with Paraworld, which has a few minor issues that are mostly explained away with Rule of Cool or lampshaded by the protagonists (All dinosaurs living at the same time, ice age mammals being counted as dinosaurs, and extremely oversized Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus [Although even then, they are referred to as Tyrannosaur Titan and Triceratops Titan and more realistically sized versions can be seen roaming the maps; the third Titan is a Seismosaur that is only about half again as big as a real one]).
Dino Run, considering the premise of the game, for starters, involves the "instantaneous extinction" trope. And the raptors supposedly find shelter and escape said apocalypse and go on to live for an indefinite amount of time.
In Star Fox Adventures, there's an item called a Dinosaur Horn. It's associated exclusively with the Snowhorn, a tribe of wooly mammoths.
Worlds of Ultima game Savage Empirepoints out in the manual that humans and dinosaurs lived millions of years apart... While you encounter both in the game. There are also human tribes from different parts of the world from different times. A major element of the plot is to find out why and how these were all brought together into one valley.
The Tekken character Alex is a predatory dinosaur living alongside humans in the 20th Century. However, he was genetically engineered from fossils by scientists, partially averting this trope as Alex is more Genetic Abomination than Dinosaur.
Justified in Live A Live. Pogo's chapter, set in prehistory, has a Tyrannosaurus Rex as its final boss. This is the only dinosaur in the entire chapter, and it is worshipped as a god by the Kuu tribe, who offer it human sacrifices. It's also the current manifestation of the demon king Odio.
This is played straight with the mammoths of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, though it is largely for the Ruleof Cool. Averted by the Sabre Cats, which are surprisingly accurate to sabertooth cats in the genus Smilodon.
Played for Laughs in Zoo Tycoon 2, in which Stokesosaurus wears glasses when painting. Not that the game didn't have plenty other examples, however (the likely herbivorous oviraptorosaur Protarchaeopteryx was portrayed as a generic carnivorous coelurosaur, to name one of the better examples).
Happily averted (anatomically at least) in the Japanese Xbox game Dinosaur Hunting, which even includes feathered maniraptorans and a T. rex with a feather crest. Unfortunately the theropods still have pronated hands, Dilophosaurus has a frill and spits venom, the plesiosaur necks are flexible, and some of the animals are enlarged for dramatic effect (not counting the albinos and mutants).
Animal Crossing does a weird take. The museum exhibit plaque for the Stegosaurus states that the animal in question is from the Late Cretaceous, when Blathers (correctly) describes it as living in the Jurassic.
In City Folk, Blathers claims Apatosaurus lived in lakes and swamps because of its size and weight, an idea that was disproven in the 1960s.
In New Leaf, the exhibit plaque for the Pteranodon describes it as the ancestor of modern birds, when Pteranodon wasn't even a dinosaur to begin with. But that's pretty much the only major blunder in the museum fossil descriptions.
Pokémon tends to avert this with the information given to their fossil Pokémon. The designs can be forgiven due to Rule of Cool.
There's another "Raptor" who looks like he's just walked off the set of Jurassic Park in the Webcomic The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. However, given that the story that introduces Yoshi also includes Raptor-riding banditos, a conspiracy involving Ronald McDonald and MySpace, and a man whose incredible abdominal muscles have somehow transformed into a built-in jetpack (and the eponymous character, the only physician in a long line of legendary Irish Ninjas whose office is in the middle of a haunted forest and whose secretary is a gorilla), once again, the MST3K Mantra is in full effect.
The "birdasaurus" in a later plot line, lampshaded with the mouseover "I hope my completely made up out of my mind with no reference whatsoever way of drawing the birdosaurus doesn't upset any of you junior paleontologists."
Apparently the author still gets regular emails complaining about this, as he defensively mentions in a Note From Ed in this comic.
Taken to absurd extremes with the horrorsaurus, a wingless, flying, tentacled monstrosity with four eyes. That one may have been artificially created by the other dinosaurs though.
Dinosaur Comics has a T. rex, a Dromiceiomimus, and a Utahraptor, grossly out of scale. The fact that they're talking is a good sign that it's not supposed to be exactly realistic. There's also the house, car, and woman getting stepped on to indicate something's not right with the timing. It often lampshades the concept, as well:
T-Rex: Guess what I got last night? A dog! Did you know that dogs and dinosaurs co-existed?
Dromiceiomimus: Yes, I accepted it without questioning!
Lampshaded and more or less (anachronism aside) averted in the guest comic by Aaron Diaz. And then it is deliberately double subverted...
It's actually possible to avert this by typing "&butiwouldratherbereading=somethingmorehistoricallyaccurate" after the comic of your choice. (Or at least avert to a greater degree. Pennaceous feathers on T. rex is unlikely, but at least they have feathers.) Here's an example.
xkcd has Jurassic Park-style Velociraptors, which the author found traumatizing upon seeing said film.
Played for laughs in The Order of the Stick when Roy is confused by the appearance of a Brontasaurus, when he knows it's a mixup of parts from different animals. His host points out he didn't have a problem with the hippogriffs.
ThisCracked.com article. It makes tons of mistakes with animal relationships (claiming that Gastornis is close to kiwis and ostriches when it's really closer to ducks, and Hyaenodon close to raccoons when it's equally close to all carnivorans), confuses the "classic" saber-toothed felids with the saber-toothed sparassodont ("marsupial", in the article's words) Thylacosmilus, serves up an unhealthy serving of Anachronism Stew (Gastornis and Andrewsarchus actually died out long before the Pleistocene), makes unwarranted assumptions about ancestor-descendant relationships, and implies that dinosaurs are cold blooded.
This one is better, though it implies tyrannosauroids to be carnosaurs (universally rejected since The Nineties).
Severalpaleontologists have satirized the sensationalist nature of typical dinosaur documentaries on their blogs as well.
This April Fools' joke on Tetrapod Zoology sets out to "prove" that old-school dinosaurs are correct after all, and contains a number of jabs at some infamous fringe groups.
Lampshaded during the loading screen of an older LEGO game, Dino Quest, based on the Dinosaurs toy-line, which has Dr. Kilroy commenting on the inaccuracies of the game and spouting well-researched paleontology trivia. But even he gets one thing wrong: flowering plants were around in the Cretaceous.
The Magic School Bus episode "The Busasaurus" carefully averted this trope based on the paleontological knowledge when it was made. The Frizz took the class back in time 67 million years (Late Cretaceous Period) specifically to correct Carlos (and the audience) on several pop-cultural misconceptions, the biggest of which was that all dinosaurs were predators. Of about a dozen different species they encounter in the episode, exactly three were carnivorous. The Licensed Game loosely based on the episode, The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of the Dinosaurs, was similarly studious. However, Science Marched On:
Troodon and Ornithomimus were more likely omnivores rather than straight carnivores as depicted.
Tyrannosaurus as the largest theropod may have also marched on: Carcharodontosaurus, Giganotosaurus and Spinosaurus were potentially larger.
And, again, featherless coelurosaurs.
The episode also had a bit of Anachronism Stew with Parasaurolophus, Maiasaura, and Pteranodon existing 67 million years ago, when these are three reptiles that disappeared about 5 million years before then, and Pteranodon was portrayed as living inland. Edmontosaurus (or Anatosaurus, depending on who you ask) would have been a better substitute for Maiasaura and Parasaurolophus, and Quetzalcoatlus would be a more accurate fill-in for Pteranodon. At least this episode decided to stick with late Cretaceous dinosaurs.
Basal synapsids were identified as reptiles in the Licensed Game.
The mini-game "Dino Madness" has birds as non-dinosaurs but still described as dinosaur descendants. Strangely enough, Wanda addresses the idea that birds are dinosaurs in the classroom area of the game.
In what may also count as another Science Marches On example, the game uses the name "Rioarribasaurus", which is a name used for the Ghost Ranch coelophysoid material before it was redesignated as the lectotype of Coelophysis itself.
The game does make a few errors, however, such as claiming plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs being the only types of marine reptiles and featuring what appears to be a snake in the Jurassic Period (advanced snakes did not evolve until the Cretaceous).
Dinosaucers used Apatosaurus/Brontosaurus confusion as a Running Gag. When told that "Brontosaurus" was an incorrect designation and that Apatosaurus was the correct one, Bronto Thunder would immediately reply "That's a girl's name!"
Dimetro is kind of an oddball here. Dimetrodonts are most definitely not dinosaurs. They are pelycosaurs, the ancestors of the therapsids, who were in turn the ancestors of mammals (in short, Dimetro is a closer relative of the Secret Scouts than he is to any of the Dinosaucers). However, given Dimetro's appearance, it's very possible that the producers had Dimetrodon confused with Spinosaurus. Old illustrations of Spinosaurus show an animal that could easily be confused for a bipedal Dimetrodon (the only good specimen of Spinosaurus was destroyed during World War II — really). Indeed, Dimetro's head resembles the head Spinosaurus was drawn with in the 1980s, long before Spinosaurus' relative Baryonyx was discovered and turned out to have a head that does not look like that of any other large theropod at all. Take a look at this old illustration from the time (there's even a direct comparison to Dimetrodon) for an example.
But in the darkest depths lurks Dino Squad. It's the tale of a pair of (nekkid) Velociraptors who hide from the (instantaneous Kill 'em All style) extinction in a cave. And they live in that cave for well over sixty million years. (Yeah...) Finally, they emerge into the modern world with psychic powers, including the convenient ability to pass as humans. The bad 'raptor becomes a Corrupt Corporate Executive who wishes to use some kind of chemical to "return the animals of the world to the creatures they once were: DINOSAURS!" The good 'raptor poses as a teacher, and in this position, she is able to mentor the ragtag bunch of teenagers who are affected by the bad 'raptor's chemicals, allowing them to transform into the usual dinosaur suspects. For his first experiment, the bad 'raptor uses the stuff to "revert" a shark into what everyone on the show insists on calling a "Mutated Megalodon◊" — except that it's a Tylosaur◊, an ocean-going lizard. If you know that neither of these animals are dinosaurs, that neither lizards nor sharks have anything to do with the dinosaur family tree at all and are both far, far more primitive families of animals, and that — you know — sharks aren't frikkin' lizards, give yourself a round of applause. You're smarter than the people paid to write this.
The show also stated that Spinosaurus' super power was super speed. Good luck estimating the top speed of a taxon known only from vertebrae and parts of the skull.
The Styracosaurus in the show is depicted as having having two brow horns that are larger and longer than the nasal horn, when in reality, it should be reversed. What's worse is that the official website accurately states that the brow horns should be smaller. Of course, the official site made its own mistakes, such as stating that Tyrannosaurus walked in a kangaroo-like posture (and yet, the show got its posture right).
In one episode, Veloci attempts to infect the clouds with primordial ooze so it woud rain down on everything and infect everything, from plants to animals to insects, and how they would all become dinosaurs. Yes, even the plants. And this is coming from a guy who came from the Cretaceous and is a dinosaur himself.
Transformers: Beast Wars is okay in terms of accuracy. Megatron, Terrorsaur, and Dinobot turn into a Tyrannosaurus rex, a Ptero Soarer, and some kind of Velociraptor or Utahraptor respectively, but they get their alt modes by scanning fossils rather than living creatures. Then again, all three were found around an area filled with lava and volcanic rock, which would normally destroy fossils. They're also very odd colours for dinosaurs, but this can be hand waved by personal preference.
Magmatron from the Japanese Beast Wars series is a multi-component transformer who consists of a Giganotosaurus, a Quetzalcoatlus, and an Elasmosaurus. The Beast Wars Sourcebook, which adapts the characters for American continuity, apparently didn't get the memo, as they say the three have "only loose connections to actual reptilian lifeforms." To be fair to the sourcebook, the models really do only resemble the aforementioned animals loosely: the Giga model is a generic-as-it-gets theropod, the Plesio has an incredibly bendy neck (though this can be forgiven, as it's needed for the transformation) and a lizardlike head with incorrect eye-placement, whereas the Quetz looks like a scaly vulture with a huge, serrated beak.
Speaking of Magmatron, the series contains an assortment of dinosaurs as alternate modes for the various villain characters. Most of them were excellent in terms of accuracy, at least for their time... save for Hardhead◊, who was a remold of Beast Wars Dinobot and was a Pachycephalosaurus with a jaw full of razor sharp teeth and the toe talons of a Velociraptor. Pachys were herbivores, or omnivores at best.
The original raptor mold wasn't without its problems either. Besides looking like a JP raptor, it had six digits on its back feet, creating Dinobot's trademark double-thumbs. It should only have had four. When an upgraded version of the figure was released for the Classics/Universe toyline, it looked a lot closer to the character's cartoon depiction. But it still suffered from inaccuracies: it had a bent tail, pronated hands and scaly skin (in 2008!), in a line that was meant to recreate old characters in updated alternate modes. But at least the new toy did away with the original's spinning shield gimmick, a feature that required the figure to have an elongated button sticking out of its cloaca that you had to push in repeatedly. Yuck.
Transformers G1 had the Dinobots as how the dinosaurs were popularly thought of at the time: Grimlock was tripod-stanced, Sludge had a swan neck and dragged his tail, Snarl was extremely hunchbacked, and Slag also was a tail-dragger. Fortunately the Dinobots were much more realistically done in Transformers Animated, Grimlock especially.
Slag and Sludge don't actually drag their tails. But Trypticon (tripod T. rex again) sure does (It serves a purpose on his toy. He has motorized legs, and the tail has training wheels at its tip to help him balance when he walks). Wherever that paleontologist is crying, it's far away from these guys.
G1 also had the two-parter titled Dinobot Island, where they met horrible depictions of living prehistoric animals. Tail-dragging, Godzilla-sized Theropods, a pterosaur (looking a lot like the relatively small Dimorphodon) lifting Spike up to her nest (filled with eggs bigger then the mother), a bendy-necked plesiosaur (also being able to pick up Spike). And it was written by Donald F. Glut, renowned paleo-expert! Though considering he hated working on the cartoon, it is not unreasonable to assume that he did make himself cry while writing it.
The pilot movie had Cindy giving a presentation on a raptor-like dinosaur, using a model skeleton as a visual aide... and she refers to it as a plesiosaurus, which, to make matters worse, wasn't even a dinosaur. Somewhat subverted when Jimmy calls her out on it, but he manages to uphold the trope by claiming that the dinosaur was in fact a Megalosaurus, which it looked absolutely nothing like.
Then there's "200 million years ago" = "the late Cretaceous era" ... and all of the issues THAT brings up. The episode where that happened also had a Leptictidium, which didn't evolve until after the dinosaurs went extinct. In the same episode, there are Pteranodons that use their feet like talons, plus the giant Pteranodon eggs.
Played painfully straight in the StanleyDirect-to-Video movie Stanley's Dinosaur Round-Up. After jumping into the Great Big Book of Everything, Stanley encounters a herd of Brachiosaurus, which soon run off, scared by a three-fingered kangaroo-stance Tyrannosaurus rex that appears to be bigger than the brachiosaurids. Brachiosaurids did not travel in large herds (they would have stripped large areas of their foliage too quickly), they went extinct about 70 million years before tyrannosaurids evolved,note Primitive tyrannosauroids did live along Brachiosaurus, but they were essentially harmless to anything larger than a lamb. they couldn't run nearly as fast as they did in the show, tyrannosaurs held their bodies horizontal to the ground, had two fingers per hand and were considerably smaller than Brachiosaurus. Stanley is usually intended to be educational.
Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids tends to avert this by having Dr. Scott the paleontologist come in and explain what scientists believe (and an un-named, party-pooper character step in and complain about one of the most fantastical moments in the episode like "Point of fact. Dinosaurs did NOT give music concerts."). That's not to say, however, that it's completely immune to some very odd mistakes (ectothermic pterosaurs, anyone?).
One episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers show that some dinosaurs from the Late Jurassic Period actually came from outer space and are really small and intelligent but Earth's food made them grew big and stupid.
Even though he's an alien, Steggy's anatomy is completely wrong for a Stegosaurus: he has a dragging tail that bends vertically, a low-slung body, stubby limbs, grasping paws with four claws on each, an alligator belly, plates that look like half circles, a long serpentine neck, and a lizard-like head without a beak. Stegosaurus had elevated tails that were very flexible in side-to-side movement but very stiff in up-and-down movement, graceful frames like an elephant, long sturdy legs, hoofed feet that were completely incapable of grabbing, two claws on each forefeet note The forefeet have five toes on each, but three of them are clawless., chainmail-like skin (according to a layer of small bones found underneath the neck), pentagonal plates, short yet mobile necks, and horse-like heads WITH a beak.
Not to mention Steggy can also run fast and casually ROLL OVER ON HIS SIDE. Even a layman knows these are impossible for a stegosaur.
On the other hand, he is depicted as being able to stand on his hind legs. The problem is that he can walk on them most of the time.
Pretty much all the dinosaurs in the episode are anatomically inaccurate. In fact, they look no different than the swamp-dwelling, slender-limbed, tail-dragging dinosaurs from portrayals in the early 1900s (like this◊ for example).
The episode also went with the "dinosaur eggs are gigantic" myth (although the "egg" featured was really a spaceship).
A third instance of this trope occurs when Perry the Platypus fights Doofenshmirtz in Hawaii over the "Devolvinator". When the Devolvinator's beam hits Perry and Doofenshmirtz, Perry devolves into, among other things, an Ichthyornis and a Triceratops. What? Platypodes aren't even remotely close to either of these extinct organisms. Don't the creators even listen to their own song, he's a semi-aquatic mammal of action.
Fortunately, the creators decided not to add dinosaurs in an episode that is set in the Stone Age and has the main cast as cavemen.
Dino Riders operates on the Rule of Cool, and so features several strange elements. All flying reptiles are able to carry humans on their backs with no problem (this is notably impossible, especially for Pteranodon), and both Pteranodon and Quetzalcoatlus are the same size. The heroes and villains fight over a Brontosaurus (which is also dubbed as the biggest dinosaur) and not an Apatosaurus. In the toys, virtually all of the ceratopsians are identical in size (and Kentrosaurus was as large as Stegosaurus). Despite this explicitly taking place on Earth, all the dinosaurs are shown living in the same time period (i.e. Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic creatures all existing simultaneously). And then the Ice Age mammals and cavemen start showing up.
Mighty Max, with its paranormal story lines, had to oblige us with a dinosaur themed episode. An Evilutionary Biologist used a de-evolution machine to turn lizards into dinosaurs. Despite lizards and dinosaurs having some similar features, these two groups are not all that closely related, never mind being descended from each other. Interestingly enough, the de-evolving beam was used on sapient chicken ("Fowl, actually.") Virgil. Even though Virgil should have become a theropod dinosaur, he becomes a pterosaur instead. Pterosaurs are not true dinosaurs, nor are they the ancestors of birds.
According to the Jonny Quest TOS episode "Turu The Terrible", pteranodons can survive multiple direct hits by bazooka rounds.
In the Johnny Test episode "Johnny BC", the sister's teacher makes them look for a fossil from precambrian times, so the sisters go back to caveman times for a 3-toed sloth fossil to plant where they were looking. Too bad precambrian times ended 540 million years before cavemen appeared.
The Batman Beyond two-parter "Curse of the Kobra" involves the KOBRA organisation's attempts to gene-splice themselves into a dinosaur-human hybrid race that will rule the world. Their plans include detonating a nuclear warhead in a dormant volcano, with the resulting eruptions raising the global temperature. Why? Because everyone knows dinosaurs are cold-blooded, and can't survive let alone function in less than tropical climates. The spliced Big Bad even weakens and collapses as soon as his climate-controlled environment is breached.
Gertie the Dinosaur one of the earliest cartoons ever made features Gertie alongside a mammoth. She also eats far more material than her body could hold such as a tree twice her size and drinking A LAKE which scenes are there mostly for Rule of Funny.
Strangely averted in the DuckTales episode "Marking Time", when Scrooge literally travels back to One Million BC to find a land in which caveducks coexisted with dinosaurs. That seems bad, until you remember that dinosaurs did coexist with several types of modern-style birds, including ducks. That in turn implies that the Duck Universe takes place in the Paleocene, which would make sense, since that was a time dominated by six-foot birds.
The implication that theropods were the only bipedal dinosaurs (primitive members of all dinosaur groups could walk bipedally, and the most advanced ornithopods retained this feature to an extent).
Zuniceratops with a nose horn (its lack of one is the only difference a layman could find between it and a chasmosaurine ceratopsid).
Blatant mispronunciations of multiple names, such as Sinornithoidesnote Actually sine-OR-nih-THOY-deez, suh-NOR-nith-oyds in the show, Sinosauropteryxnote Actually SINE-oh-saw-ROP-tur-icks, SINE-oh-SOP-tur-icks in the show and Carcharodontosaurusnote Actually kar-KAR-oh-don-toh-SAW-rus, KAR-cher-oh-don-toh-SAW-rus in the show.
Feathered, bipedal pterosaurs that perch in trees and have 2 small fingers.
Bavarisaurus as a small feathered theropod dinosaur (it was a lizard).
Sauropods, hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, and thyreophoreans with the wrong hands.
Velociraptor with an Allosaurus-like skull.
Similarly, Allosaurus and Giganotosaurus have skulls shaped like those of large tyrannosauroids than actual carnosaurs.
Smilodon with a long, Panthera-like tail.
Stegosaurus with a toothed beak and 8 plates arranged in pairs.
The Nick Jr show Bubble Guppies did an episode on dinosaurs....thing is they included Pterosaurus and Marine Reptiles as dinosaurs. This is supposed to be educational. To be fair, they did go out of their way to use Apatosaurus instead of "Brontosaurus".
The Animated Adaptation of the Belgian action-adventure comic series Bob Morane had an episode dealing with Time Travel. Naturally, all of the creatures the characters meet are Jurassic Park-inspired, down to the frilled Dilophosaurus, which is also misplaced in time to the Late Cretaceous (actually lived in the Early Jurassic, almost 150 million years earlier), but at least they got its size right. The episode also has stampeding "raptors", and mountain-sized dino skeletons that the heroes use as bridges to cross a quicksand swamp]].
According to one episode of I Am Weasel, the earth was flat during the Mesozoic and that dinosaurs died because they laughed at I. R. Baboon's red butt and fell off the flat earth. Given the show's setting, this is none too unusual.
And then there's the caveman-themed episode (dinosaurs included).
The Flintstones: Dinosaurs are shown coexisting with humans: mammals that existed up through the Cretaceous were small and rodent-like. That hardly matters.
The title card for the episode "Sue Ellen & The Brainasaurus" misspells "-saurus" as "-saurous".
The episode "In My Africa" mentions dinosaur bones found in Angola… accompanied by a photograph of a mosasaur skull.
In the Rugrats episode "Reptar 2010", the main characters watch a Reptar movie that claims dinosaurs ruled the earth fifty thousand years ago. FIFTY THOUSAND.
Possibly justified since Reptar is a Godzilla expy, a franchise that isn't exactly known for scientific accuracy. The real clincher was an episode where the protagonists visit a museum and learn that T. rexis from the Jurassic. They're at least 80 million years off.
Having been made in 1979, the pilot episode of the French Edutainment cartoon Once Upon a Time gets a free pass in most respects, but it's still odd how the animation shows birds descending from non-dinosaurian thecodonts and yet the narrator insists later on that they've (along with crocodiles) also evolved from dinosaurs.
The caveman episode of Goof Troop. Perhaps the biggest offender is that what looks like an outdated representation of a carnivorous theropod was referred to as a "Brontosaurus". Interestingly, while the creature in question was shown eating meat, Goofy points out that Brontosaurus were herbivores.
The "Scary Monsters" episode of Timothy Goes to School perpetrates old, debunked claims like carnosaurian-looking Velociraptor and pterosaurs that hang upside-down like bats (although some things, like sauropod nostrils being on top of the skull, are actually Science Marches On).
Not to mention that Megazostrodon is called a dinosaur (it was a primitive mammaliaform), and the model shown looks nothing like the real animal.
Not to mention there's scaly, bat-winged pterosaurs and sauropods with crocodilian belly-scales. A more recent episode had dinosaurs living with cavemen in 50,000 BC.
Given the nature of the show, however, these inaccuracies hardly seem out of place.
Several Creation Museums exist throughout the United States, containing exhibits that depict what their creators claim is a strictly literal Biblical account of the origins of the world.
Dinosaur Adventure Land in Florida had several exhibits illustrating how, as the Earth is only 6,100+ /- years old "according to the Bible," not only did humans and dinosaurs coexist; but humans (set up by God as having dominion over other animals) must have domesticated them - AND rode them like horses!
The AiG Creation Museum is a lot more careful with this issue. They merely state that man and dinosaur lived in peace before Adam's fall and that after the Flood, dinosaurs went extinct at different rates, pointing out how 1) a postdiluvian world would have rapid climate change due to rapid alteration of the geological landscape by being buried under a mile and a half of water, 2) the term "dinosaur" didn't exist until 1841 and 3) the line between what was considered a mere reptile by ancients and what was considered a "dragon" varied widely by ancient culture. As for the whole "domesticated them like horses" part, they are careful not to make that claim explicitly.
About every paleontology-related item here. Some that stand out:
Some scientists found a hadrosaur skeleton with preserved, scaly skin, and garfish and turtles nearby. Thus, as that site says, he wasn't a bird ancestor, and must have died in the great flood. First of all, hadrosaurs WEREN'T bird ancestors. If it's because they both have beaks, that's like saying octopi and squids were bird ancestors! Secondly, a minor flood could have mixed up the fossils, or it slumped over dead in a lake or river.
The "Paleolithic" Diet, which claims to be the healthiest diet due to supposedly being based on what our ancestors ate during the bloody ice ages. The problems inherent within this claim are numerous:
Human diet was incredibly varied even then. Depending on the climate, early man would eat either nothing but fruit and possibly fish, or nothing but meat and the occasional root.
The plan makes the false assumption that modern humans are genetically identical to their stone-age ancestors, ignoring modern evolutionary theory. The prevalence of lactose tolerance among African, European, and West- and South-Asian adults; lactose tolerance is only useful if you've domesticated the cow—currently believed to have happened around 7000 BC—and herd them in a big way (which East Asians as a rule did not do, preferring to use them as beasts of burden).note Most mammalian species lose the ability to produce lactase—the enzyme that allows one to digest lactose—as adults; the retention of the ability to produce lactase after weaning is only useful to that weird creature that continues to drink milk later on. The branches of the species that didn't—East Asians and the native peoples of Oceania and the New World—retain the older, more normal feature, lactose intolerance.
The hominid digestive system was remarkably more tolerant of microbes than ours are today. Remember, the cleanest thing those guys would eat off of was their bare hands. If we would try that today, a great deal of us would get a nasty case of food poisoning.
From the linked website, every single recipe involves some sort of minute preparation (spices, minced vegetables, olive oil) that would have resulted in the death of any paleolithic human if they'd tried to dedicate their free time to acquiring it all.
Olive oil?! The stuff that takes great expertise to extract from farmed plants! How on earth is that paleolithic?
Look at all those vegetables. The recipes depend on having a steady variety of plant and fruit products (and their variety of nutrients) which far exceeds the range available to any prehistoric human, and many fruits and vegetables we eat today are only viable as meals because extensive farming resulted in their growing to five times their original size.
Somewhere around a quarter of those recipes involve tomatoes, which until their domestication were native only to South America (which had a human population of 0 until the tail end of the Paleolithic).
Perhaps most importantly, what paleolithic people ate is in no way necessarily the ideal healthy diet for either humans in general or, more importantly, modern people who spend much of their time at keyboards and in chairs rather than hunting, fishing, and gathering from dawn to dusk.
Never mind that that food today is nothing like food that was available tens of thousands of years ago. There was no agriculture yet and therefore food plants did not provide many things modern humans would recognize as food.
Sometimes paleontologists make other paleontologists cry. One of the biggest debates between paleontologists recently was Jack Horner versus practically the rest of paleontology over whether or not Tyrannosaurus rex (and all other large theropods) were predators or scavengers. Horner was on the scavenger side, and uses arguments such as: The size of the animals is more conducive to scavenging (scare smaller animals from kills); their legs were designed for walking instead of running, and being so large any form of moving fast would endanger them by off-balancing their bodies; they can only use their mouths for attacking, which is dangerous; For T. rex specifically, the large olfactory lobe of the brain (meaning excellent smell) and the small size of the forelimbs (which prevented T. rex from holding prey with them), and the thick armor-piercing teeth and bone-crushing jaws (for breaking apart bones to get the marrow inside). The rest of paleontologynote Especially Robert T. Bakker, which led to what was actually quite a funny exchange. counters with:
As prey size increases, generally so does predator size. Every prey species has at least one predator that can take it down.
That's a bit of a definition game, though. There are prey species that grow too large to be commonly predated, but they aren't technically prey species anymore, are they?
Their offspring certainly are. Most of the time, predators take down young animals, so an elephant may be (mostly) immune to lion attacks, while their calves are not.
The structure of the tyrannosaurid hindleg is similar to that of the ornithomimids, which were clearly cursorial.
Even if they couldn't run, the large theropods would have still had a brisk walking speed, and their prey wasn't designed for speed either, favoring either keen senses, armor and weapons, or herding for protection.
Many animals today use only their mouths to attack.
Tyrannosaurus also had binocular vision, a primary predatory adaptation. Many predators also use smell to track prey. The forelimbs of T. rex are also very heavily built with numerous strong muscle attachments, and they're designed to twist and pivot, which shows they could easily withstand the forces of struggling prey. As for the teeth and jaws, again modern predators show that bone-breaking isn't a scavenger-only tactic (hyenas, the master bone-breakers, hunt more than they scavenge; breaking bones allows them to extract more food from a kill).
Healed tyrannosaur bite marks have been found on Edmontosaurus and Triceratops bones. Since dead things don't heal, they must have escaped the tyrannosaur, showing that it actually hunted.
Finally, the only true vertebrate scavengers are buzzards, vultures and condors - creatures that can cover vast amounts of territory with a minimal amount of energy expenditure. No animal the size of Tyrannosaurus could live as an exclusive scavenger, as it would use too much energy searching for carrion. Tyrannosaurus also was the only large carnivore alive at its time and location, so if it wasn't killing large prey nothing was. And most predators are also scavengers. They'll take whatever food is on hand, which is a must for creatures that don't have a reliable and easy food source the way herbivores do.
The main reason they made Spinosaurus the Big Bad in Jurassic Park III was because Horner was so insistent on showing T. rex and Spino the way he thought they were.
Horner has acknowledged that Tyrannosaurus was an "opportunistic predator" (which is what everyone else thinks to begin with) in the only scientific paper he ever wrote on this subject. (Although he did popularize the scavenger hypothesis in books and TV shows.)
To put it another way, Horner wanted to challenge the general assumptions using the clout he gathered with Maiasaura and other discoveries, force other scientists to re-evaluate their positions on T. rex and get better evidence for its nature rather than just running with assumption. In short, actual constructive Trolling.
To put it another another way, Horner was the annoying guy who insisted on people proving the blatantly obvious, and when they prove that the blatantly obvious was in fact blatantly obvious, tries to claim credit for...doing something or another.
To put it another another another way, he demanded paleontologists show their work. This forced his colleagues to act like real scientists (which greatly annoyed them), engaged the public (while greatly confusing them about the science), and tarnished his reputation...(further).
To put it another another another way, he threw the idea out all over whenever he could, which made other palaeontologists have to constantly correct others on the idea, annoying his colleagues, and generally causing a lot of headaches.
Note that the debate also runs on a False Dichotomy: scavenging OR predation. In practice, most carnivores like lions, hyenas and jackals do a bit of both.
Also on the unstated assumption that, if T. rex scavenged, that would somehow make it a wimp. Wolverines prefer to scavenge, and nobody ever accused those of being sissies.
The BAND (Birds Are Not Dinosaurs) crowd, who also go by several variants such as ABSURD (Anything But A Small Unidentified Running Dinosaur [is the ancestor of birds]) and MANIAC (Maniraptors Are Not In Actuality Coelurosaurs), a group of professionals (mostly ornithologists who know more about modern birds than about extinct theropods) who cling to the idea that birds aren't dinosaurs as though it were their religion, even though such a "debate" should have ended more than fifteen years ago. They're infamous for publishing papersmaking highly unsupported and unscientific excusesfor why birds can't be dinosaurs (supposedly getting other BANDits to get them past peer review). Indeed, going by many of their arguments, nothing could evolve into birds and evolution shouldn't occur. (Note that the BANDits are not creationists.) The unfortunate side effect of this is that even though they're little more than laughing stock among the mainstream paleontological community, their vocality means that they often get coverage by journalists and creationists who don't know any better, misleading the general public that there is still a "debate" about whether birds are dinosaurs. In fact, in recent years they have no longer been able to deny the ever-growing evidence that birds are maniraptors, and have changed their arguments from birds not being dinosaurs to all maniraptors not being dinosaurs (hence, MANIAC).
There's also the fact that their claims about non-avian dinosaurs are occasionally somewhat at odds with our current knowledge about them. As Brian Switek, commenting on Alan Feduccia's book The Origin and Evolution of Birds, put it: "anything relating to dinosaurs being smart, active, or dynamic is discounted, Feduccia's model of dinosaurs more resembling the swamp-dwelling lizards thought up by early 20th century scientists (i.e. hadrosaurs are referred to as being primarily aquatic)".
At least one BANDit supporter has suggested that birds descended from pterosaurs. A somewhat forgivable mistake if you know nothing about dinosaurs, but anyone with even a lick of paleo-sense knows how wrong this is.
This interpretation of an ichthyosaur bonebed. Instead of a bunch of ichthyosaurs dying from, you know, some plausible cause, according to this idea the ichthyosaurs were killed by a speculative giant squid that we have no evidence ever existed. What's more, it claims that the "giant squid" used the bones of the ichthyosaurs to create a self portrait.
American paleontologist Gregory Scott Paul often synonymizes dinosaurs that aren't especially closely related or are otherwise clearly distinct. His arguments come down to "these creatures seem similar". Satirized by The Theropod Database's Mickey Mortimer:
"I think I've figured out Paul's splitter/lumper methodology though. If a taxon is similar to another, but from a different horizon, it's a different species! Doesn't matter if anyone's actually tried to name a distinct taxon from there yet, or if there are actually any differences reported in the literature. If a taxon is from the same horizon as another similar one, they're synonymous! Ignore priority and use the name of the most complete specimen for the taxon. If a species forms a clade with another, they're congeneric! With these three easy steps, you too can lump and split the GSP way. ;)"
Every paleontologist makes at least one other paleontologist cry. Debates still rage about results, methods and data used, validity of the science, pet theories... and honestly, that helps keep research going. So, in a way, this trope isn't all bad.
Paleontology isn't that hot of a field all across the world, and in some countries, school textbooks are still written according to decade-old and thoroughly outdated scientific literature, simply because there aren't any recent publications in a given language that they could use as reference. Things like Brontosaurus still pop up from time to time in modern Biology books.
There exists a textbook still in use (in the USA, probably the most paleontologically-advanced country) that not only has featherless maniraptorans, but pronated hands abound, there's at least one tripod-stance Tyrannosaurus, the implication that birds may not be dinosaurs, and a Coelophysis with so wrong proportions, it is best labeled as a caricature.
Dinosaurs living alongside humans is also featured in this sarcastic Teach the Controversy t-shirt
The marketing software service Bronto uses a green silhouette of an Apatosaurus for its logo.
In 2014, one scientist suggested that stegosaur plates, ceratopsian frills, hadrosaur crests and similar accessories evolved to deter parasitic deinonychosaurs from "riding" them (several living predators, such as wolverines and eagles, also "ride" their prey). The same author suggested that feathers evolved so that deinonychosaurs could jump from large prey and that some dinosaurs, such as stegosaurs, were driven to extinction by these predators. There are several big problems with this theory:
It's unlikely that small-to-medium deinonychosaurs attacked such large prey; it's equivalent to a lone jackal attacking an elephant.
Living animals that are "ridden" by predators do fine without plates, frills and whatnot. And most of those that do have unusual headgear and such are not specialized for using those structures to dislodge attackers.
The first dinosaurs to develop actual bird-style feathers were herbivores (or omnivores that fed on plants and small animals) that would have no need to interact with such formidable beasts.
It is ecologically unsustainable for predators and parasites to hunt their prey into extinction (the majority of cases that this has happened have been caused by invasive species), as that would be counterintuitive to their own survival.
Some of the suggested analogies in the publication (e.g.: eagles and wolverines) are not parasites.