The Dinosaurs Had It Coming
: Mammoths can't go extinct! They're the biggest things on earth! Gastornis
: Well, what about the dinosaurs? Manny
: The dinosaurs got cocky. They made enemies!
—Ice Age: The Meltdown
Maybe what killed all the dinosaurs wasn't a meteor, or a flood, a drought, or any other sort of geological event that might have happened 65 million years ago. Maybe it wasn't even due to powerful aliens intervening or time-travelers messing around
No, some writers prefer the theory that the dinosaurs were responsible for their own extinction. They were too stupid to take sensible precautions for their future survival, or were intelligent enough to develop the means of their own destruction. Either way, this provides a lesson for the human race and other sapient species if they want to avoid the same fate, though palentologists might not believe the story
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Discussed in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, in which Manny, who is widely believed to be the last mammoth, claims it's impossible for mammoths to go extinct since they're the biggest animals on Earth. When someone brings up the dinosaurs, he states that "the dinosaurs got cocky, they made enemies". Humorously enough, he says this in response to a question from a Gastornis, which is a type of bird. As in, you know, an actual dinosaur.
- A German quip dating back to at least the late Cold War arms race: "Die Dinosaurier sind ausgestorben, weil sie sich falsch entwickelt haben — zuviel Panzer, zuwenig Hirn." ("The dinosaurs died out because they evolved into the wrong direction — too much armor, too little brain.")
- There is a joke about a male dinosaur wanting sex from his wife, but she complains about a headache, about periods, about being busy... and so it continues until they go extinct.
- Isaac Asimov's story "Day of the Hunters" kills off the dinosaurs due to overhunting by intelligent dinosaurs...with Frickin Laser Guns! According to a note by the author, he was somewhat embarrassed by the story because it was one of his early ones and had an exceedingly Anvilicious ending, rather than let the reader draw their own conclusions.
- In the story Hermes of the Ages by Frederick D. Gottfried, sapient coelurosaurs develop biological warfare, which they THOUGHT the effects of their bioweapons would be limited to their own species...it goes horribly, horribly wrong.
- Who Lies Sleeping: the Dinosaur Heritage and the Extinction of Man by Mike Magee. Though the sentient dinosaurs are ultimately wiped out by a nuclear war, they had already wrecked the world beyond reparation via massive pollution, climate change and deforestation to give pastures to their massive herds of ceratopsians and hadrosaurs.
- The German language poem Der Ichthyosaurus by Joseph Victor von Scheffel seems to imply that the dinosaurs (and their Mesozoic contemporaries) went extinct because of too much decadence and lewd behavior.
- Larry Niven: "The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"
- A New Yorker cartoon by Donald Reilly has a mother disciplining her daughter in a natural history museum, telling her "They got extinct because they didn't listen to their mommies."
- The Far Side jokes that dinosaurs died out via smoking. This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when one finds out that the cannabis family (which also includes marijuana) were important ground cover plants in the Mesozoic. Maybe Larson isn't so off the marker after all.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, lampooning The Bible, a pig in the Garden of Eden warns Adam (Homer) against eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. One of the dinosaurs ate one and well...that's why there aren't any more of them.