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Headscratchers / The Good Dinosaur

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  • Why does Arlo's family have chickens? They're not carnivores.
    • Because they trade with carnivorous dinosaurs to help them get things built for their farm? See WMG.
    • That or they're for the eggs.
    • Someone I went to see the film with had this exact same question. We had a bit of a discussion about it and he suggested that they use the chicken dung for fertilizer.
      • Unless they're feeding the chickens with something they can't eat anyway(it looks like they're feeding them carrots and eating primarily corn, so it's entirely possible), I doubt any crop boost from the fertilizer would recoup the crops lost by feeding them to the chickens.
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    • Do we know for sure that Arlo and his family aren't carnivores? (Or at least omnivores?) I know Apatosauruses as we know them were herbivorous, but that was millions of years before the events of the film - there's nothing saying they couldn't have evolved to eat meat or eggs in that time.
  • How did the dinosaurs make that yoke Arlo's mom was carrying buckets upon? And if they are capable of making such tools, why do they need to plow with their heads?
    • It could've been carved by a dinosaur species with working hands, like a large theropod or iguanodont.
  • A wave kills Henry, so how can Arlo, an 11-year-old with no experience in the wild on his own, survive not only a wave exactly the same as the first one, but also go over a waterfall with his life intact??
    • Square-Cube Law. Henry's large size meant he was much less likely to survive a natural disaster. See the fridge page for more details.
      • Apropos Square Cube, the falls Arlo constantly takes would have killed him on the spot. Even with convenient tree braking. But this holds for about 1000 more animated films...
  • Could it be that the pterodactyls survived? They could swim a bit faster than the flood, and could fly off the waterfall. Even Thunderclap could fly with a hole in his wing.
    • If I remember correctly, Thunderclap wasn't so much as flying, but weakly flapping around. Even without the flood, he wouldn't have made it far.
  • Why does Spot (and the caveman family at the end) howl like a wolf? Wouldn't it make more sense to behave more like the apes humans are closely related to?
    • Spot became an orphan early, he probably saw some wolves and took their habits. The other humans were just mimicking his actions so that he could think he's one of them.
    • While watching the film, I was under the impression that Spot had encountered the other humans previously, before the events of the story. Maybe they'd tried bringing him into their family but couldn't get him to trust them by conventional means - Spot had probably been feral and on his own far too long for that - so they eventually turned to howling like they'd seen and heard him do to hopefully help show him that he was the same as them. This explains why we only hear them howling after Spot and Arlo do it first (or, at the end, after they're close enough to see him clearly and don't want to scare him off), and why they're so welcoming to him when he finally does join them, instead of surprised that there's this little wild kid wandering around in the wilderness.
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    • They behave this way in a fairly relaxed, easy way that suggests it comes naturally, so it's probably just Rule of Cute.
    • All Animals Are Dogs - in this movie, humans show a lot of dog-like behavior; Spot growls and pants like a dog. Howling is also a dog behavior.
    • I still don't think the behavior was natural to the family. They get up and walk on two legs once Spot actually joins them, and the way they treat him (hugging, stroking his cheek, and lifting him up onto the father's knee) is more reminiscent of anatomically-upright humans than dogs or any other animals.
    • Even Spot, with all his dogginess, will occasionally laugh or use his hands for something or pet Arlo. Humans are clearly the stand in for wild dogs in this universe, but it's not unreasonable to think some might occasionally shift over into walking upright occasionally.
  • Why did Spot and Arlo hallucinate due to the fermented fruit if there's no way for humans to hallucinate after eating fermented fruit? Also, does hallucinating actually happen when you're drunk?
  • Why is it that birds are the only dinosaurs that cannot speak or show sapience?
    • I'm guessing its the same reason humans and everything else that currently extant isn't sapient. They're 'new' so to speak.
    • Are birds indeed the only non-sapient dinosaurs though? We see five different types of sapient creatures in the movie: apatosaurs, pterosaurs, tyrannosaurs, raptors and one ceratopsid - we can only assume that other "dinosaurs" are sapient too. In fact, the "chickens" on the farm have clawed hands and tails indicating they are actually not birds, but some other kind of feathered theropod - suggesting that non-sapient non-avian dinosaurs do exist in this world.
    • Maybe they just speak a different language?
  • So from a story-telling perspective, what was the reason for the possible food shortage? Did that really come into play after it was introduced? It's not like it added a ticking clock element the way Andy moving away does, nor was it motivation for Arlo to get home.
    • I thought it was to make Arlo's dad's very strong reaction to the critter eating their food justified. He couldn't let it go on; it was important so they wouldn't starve. Hence chasing after it and getting stuck in the flood and causing the dad's death.
    • Isn't the motivation for Arlo to get home so he can help his family harvest the food? He reacts very strongly to the first snow as it means the crops will die because one adult and two children are now doing the work of two adults and three children.
  • Why do Spot and the other humans wear clothes? The obvious reason is that you can't show human nudity in a kids' movie even if the humans act like animals, but in universe, it's harder to justify. Spot's garment seems to be made out of leaves, which would have to be tied or glued together somehow. Possible, but not likely considering humans in this world are supposed to be the equivalent of rodents. The family of humans, on the other hand, are wearing fur, which would imply they have tools to skin animals. But the dinosaurs, who are supposed to be the most advanced species on earth, don't even have tools.
    • Intelligence isn't the only thing a species needs to use tools, it must also have the ability to use them. Dolphins are some of the smartest animals on the planet but tool use is practically (though not entirely) nonexistent because they don't have hands. Also, we don't really know if the humans are less advanced than the dinosaurs. Spot was orphaned at a young age so his animal-like behavior can probably be attributed to that. Chances are, the human family are little different from modern humans, they're just not in an advanced era.
  • Why would Arlo's family still have a food shortage after his father's death and his disappearance? Shouldn't they have more food, since they now only need food for 3 and they still have all the food that was stored before?
    • This has been pretty much been discussed and answered above - after Henry dies, the problem isn't so much "We have a food shortage" as it is "Arlo needs to get home and help with the harvest before winter kills the crops, in which case there will be a food shortage." Also, Spot ate a lot of the previous store of food - he was probably in that silo for some time before Arlo found him the second time.
    • Moreover, Arlo was going to make it home whether he made it in time for the harvest or not. So the family didn't have three people to support, they had 4. It's not like he wasn't going to go back if he couldn't make it in time.
      • No, not even that, actually. As far as Arlo knew, they would still need to harvest enough food for four dinosaurs and a human boy, since he'd planned on bringing Spot home with him up until the very end of the film. And we're shown that the silo was far from full before Arlo fell into the river, as he opened it very near the bottom when he found Spot inside. Which makes sense, since the family is probably eating from the silo currently in addition to saving up for the winter.
  • Why does the family Spot joins in the end all have white hair?
    • They're Saami.
      • Am I missing something? I don't think there's anything on that page about white hair, or even albinism.
      • I could accept a family of albinos, actually; I'm just left wondering why they bothered making them that way. Why not just design them to look like Spot?
      • This troper thinks it's most likely to signify that they are not Spot's original family.
      • It's not a huge deal, but this troper figured that the earlier scene with the sticks made it quite clear that Spot's original family was dead already. Besides, they didn't need to give the new family an unnatural hair color to get that point across.
  • Why would Henry think Arlo would be capable of killing the critter that was stealing their food, when Arlo has already shown he can't even take care of the chickens? All he did in between the two was show him the fireflies - it seems a bit much to assume that that would be enough to change him.
    • The killing itself was suppose to be the lesson to toughen him up. Unlike the chickens that were able to run free, the critter would be caught and easy to kill.
    • That almost makes things more confusing - Arlo couldn't take care of the chickens because he was terrified of them. Why would his father think him brave enough to kill Spot? Why wouldn't he hold a practice session using something that was actually alive, to make sure he was fully up to it.
  • Why are there so many storms? From the start of the film, we have the one that kills Arlo's father, another that causes Arlo and Spot to lose the river, and a third one during the climax. All three of them seem to be quite hurricane-like, causing widespread damage, and two were the cause of devastating flash floods.
  • How do these creatures find mates? The apatosaurs, tyrannosaurs, velociraptors, pterosaurs, and humans are all living in isolated immediate family groups. Libby, Buck, and Arlo will all have to leave the farm to find mates for the next generation - this is depicted as potentially lethal several times in only a few days. It's possible there's some gathering place offscreen where they mingle with others of their kind, but no one mentions one. There's no apparent reason the apatosaurs need to homestead far from any gathering place of their kind; while they need land to grow, they don't need hundreds of acres of wilderness around them.
    • The Tyranosaurs were taking Arlo to a meeting place where he could perhaps get directions from other dinosaurs. This was derailed when he saw the distinctive peaks above his homestead from a distance.
  • What exactly is the meaning of the title? While there are definitely villains in the movie, it's not like Arlo is the only good dinosaur or that being good is his main trait, so why name it the Good Dinosaur?
    • I think it's a slightly-botched play on how the story is an inverted "Boy and his dog" story, where the human boy is the one who acts like a dog and the dinosaur is his more human-like owner. It probably would've been better to call it "The Good Boy" or "The Good Human," though.
  • What's with the weird galloping run the T-Rex were doing? Is there fossil evidence of them running that way?
    • Probably not, but it wasn't supposed to be accurate. The T-Rex in the movie were cowboys and cowgirls, their run is supposed to make seem like they're riding horses.
  • Why are there Apatosaurus in this movie if they are already extinct before the meteor hit?
    • I don't think we know why Apatosauruses went extinct. It's possible whatever wiped them out didn't happen in this timeline just like how the meteor didn't strike the Earth.
  • What does Arlo earn his mark for? True, we saw that he was able to take care of spot, brave a storm to save him and be willing to give him a better home, but his family saw none of that. He may have just told them but that would hold little weight. Are they just happy he made it home alive?
    • Not only did he get rid of the critter that was eating their food, but it was his duty to his family and the need to help with the harvest that motivated Arlo to find his way home, when he could've easily given up, found a new home elsewhere, or been eaten. Him managing to survive on his own for that long, let alone for the sake of his family and their farm, seems worthy enough to earn him his mark.
    • At that point, they kind of owe him his mark. Poppa's only stipulation on earning the mark was to do something big, and Arlo survived the wilderness, helped fend off cattle rustlers and took care of a wild animal while making it back home before winter — all his siblings did was work a new field.

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