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Animated Films

  • While the Wolf Man didn't look much like a wolf already (see far below), his animated design in Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman looks even less so. He has a shorter muzzle and a mane around his head, making him more resemble a lion than a wolf. He also has only three toes in each foot, unlike in the original where he has four toes like a wolf.
  • A few of the reviews for An American Tail when it first came out complained about how un-catlike Tiger looked.
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  • The art-style of The Aristocats makes it impossible to distinguish what breed Duchess and her kittens are. They're supposed to be Turkish Angoras.
  • Balto:
    • Steele is a malamute with Icy Blue Eyes. Malamutes can only have brown eyes, As a result, Steele looks more like a husky than a malamute.
    • In Balto II: Wolf Quest, it's repeatedly mentioned that Aleu looks and acts more like a wolf than her wolf-dog father, to the point where no one wants to adopt her. She has Icy Blue Eyes and a brownish pelt. Neither of these attributes are associated with grey wolves, but fit well with the Husky breed.
  • The title character of Bolt is supposed to be a white German Shepherd (also known as a "White Shepherd") and, from the looks of it, an adult as well. One of the most noticeable errors is he's way too small. He's barely larger than a cat. In fact, Bolt looks more a Hinks Bull Terrier and there is even some concept art of him with a slightly curved head. There's concept art of him looking much more accurate than in the final product, but the final film opted for an unusually small White Shepherd instead.
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  • The rabbits in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit have noses resembling pig snouts rather than the "v"-shaped noses of actual rabbits.
  • Dinosaur:
    • Kron and Bruton are supposed to be Iguanodon like Aladar and Neera, but Kron looks more like an Altirhinus and Bruton looks more like a Muttaburrasaurus since real Iguanodon do not have nose crests like they do.
    • Aladar and Neera, for that matter, possess flexible lips instead of beaks. This detail apparently was changed after it was decided that the characters would speak (in the original draft, the only spoken lines came from a narrator) and it would have been too difficult to get the Iguanodon beaks to look good while moving in such a way.
    • The Carnotaurus have heavily-built bodies more akin to T. rex.
    • The Ichthyornis from the beginning look more like ducks rather than seagulls.
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  • The Sarco Brothers from Dino Time are supposed to be Sarcosuchus as their name suggests, but they look more like mutated crocodiles instead.
  • The large theropod featured in the "Rite of Spring" segment of Fantasia is supposed to be a Tyrannosaurus rex, but it looks more like an Allosaurus instead, with a blocky head and three claws on each hand.Note 
  • Felidae:
    • As noted by many youtube commentators of Felidae Kong is decidedly dissimilar to the more anatomically correct cats that populate the movie, looking more like a bear/bulldog hybrid than an actual cat.
    • In the books, most of the cats are purebred. Felicity is a Russian Blue, Pascal is a Havana Brown, etc. The stylized nature of the film makes it harder to tell everyone's breed. It doesn't help that the film features characteristics not associated with the breeds (for example, Felicity is long-furred despite Russians Blues being short-furred).
  • Horse the stray cat from "Footrot Flats: A Dog's Tale" barely looks like a domesticated cat, instead looking like a cross between a cougar, a bulldog, and a jaguar.
  • The Good Dinosaur:
    • Arlo and his family are supposed to be Apatosaurus, but they more closely resemble Brachiosaurus in that they have longer forelimbs and shorter tails. This is especially evident with the father, Henry.
    • Forrest Woodbrush is stated to be a Styracosaurus. While he does have the distinctive spiked frill, he also has long brow horns and a short nasal horn like a Triceratops.
    • Thunderclap. His crest would indicate he's a Nyctosaurus, but since he also has teeth and wing claws (Nyctosaurus is known for being the pterosaur to lack wing claws) his exact genus is impossible to clarify.
  • Remember the fact that Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective actually hates being called a rat? Word of God confirms that he is indeed a mouse, but for some reason he looks like a rat.
  • Ice Age:
    • Cretaceous and Maelstrom, the main villains of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown are apparently a Metriorhynchus and a mosasaur respectively, but neither look like the real animals. It gets even more confusing in that some sources refer to them as an ichthyosaur and a pliosaur respectively.
    • And the aardvarks look more like big-eared giant anteaters with mouths at the base of their snouts.
    • The Triceratops from the third film look more like Chasmosaurus or Torosaurus due to their large frills. Also, the Troodon are featherless and look more like Coelophysis or Compsognathus.
    • Roger, Buck's pterosaur mount. Being a large rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur with a crest, she could be a Harpactognathus, but her crest is more similar to a Pteranodon's. It doesn't help the sources call her a "Pterodactyl". Also, the enemy pterosaurs (not identified by the sources) appear to be oversized Pterodactylus.
    • Despite being claimed by the creators to be a Baryonyx, Rudy, the Big Bad of the third film, doesn't look all that much like this genus. He exceeds Spinosaurus in size (in Real Life Baryonyx was only about 7 or 8 meters long, although Rudy may just be overgrown), and has several exaggeratedly crocodilian features such as bony scutes down his back and nostrils at the end of his snout.
    • Silas the petrel from the fourth film has feet like a blue-footed booby.
    • Sid the Sloth is supposedly a ground sloth of some kind. While identifiable as some form of sloth, Sid looks fairly different from any known species. He does look somewhat like a modern sloth, though, and Word of God says that he was based on one. Although his nose looks more like a koala's, and his head is bizarrely shaped with his eyes placed on the side of his head like a hammerhead shark's. Overall, he looks like a weird-looking otter.
  • Baloo from The Jungle Book is supposed to be a sloth bear, but he doesn't even look like one at all! The only indication that he's a sloth bear are of course, the long, sharp claws unique to that animal.
    • The Jungle Book (2016) goes even further by depicting Baloo as looking a Himalayan brown bear, even though Bagheera calls him a sloth bear. Although that might have been a Pun on Bagheera's part considering how lazy Baloo is.
  • The animals of Kung Fu Panda are pretty easy to identify, even when their features are changed or exaggerated for artistic license. Shifu is another matter, and unless you've read the guidebooks you might guess anything from raccoon dog (face, tail) to lemur (hands, ears) . Dustin Hoffman, who plays Shifu, went for, "I don't know... some kind of raccoon?" He's officially a red panda, but since red pandas look like this and Shifu looks like this, you can understand his confusion. Shifu has huge round ears, more whitish orangey fur, and dark brown hands, while red pandas have medium sized, rounded triangular ears and are more reddish with a black underside and legs.
  • The Land Before Time:
    • Cera is hardly recognizable as a Triceratops since she only has one horn, though as her family are three-horned it's implied that this is due to her young age. Dinah and Danah from the sequels, though, are much younger yet have their brow horns. We now know that baby Triceratops actually grew in their brow horns first, which makes Cera having just one horn inaccurate.
    • Poor Ducky. Sources can't decide if she's a Parasaurolophus, an Edmontosaurus, or a Saurolophus since she doesn't really look completely like one or the other.
    • Likewise, Hyp and his father from the third film don't really look much like Hypsilophodon, and Mutt looks more like a Gryposaurus than a Muttaburrasaurus.
    • The main sharptooth villain of the fifth film is apparently a Giganotosaurus, but looks more like some kind of abelisaurid (aside from the arms). The fourteenth film introduces proper abelisaurid Carnotaurus...which looks more like a generic large carnivorous theropod with horns, a short snout, and armor.
    • Elsie from the fifth film is supposedly an Elasmosaurus, but she has a head-crest resembling a shark's fin and a Tooth Strip for some reason.
    • The Secret of Saurus Rock had an Allosaurus which looked more like a T. rex, to the point of having two fingers instead of three (though it's sometimes shown with three fingers).
    • The Styracosaurus that appear starting in The Stone of Cold Fire have short nose horns, and their spiky frills barely resemble what the real dinosaur had.
    • The "Tinysauruses" are apparently Mussaurus, but they look more like generic sauropods the size of mice.note 
    • Guido from The Great Day of the Flyers is supposed to be a Microraptor, but with his parrot-like beak and more humanoid frame he barely looks like the real animal.
    • The Beipiaosaurus (Yellow Bellies) from The Wisdom Of Friends hardly look like the dinosaurs they're supposed to be either, looking more like Muppet-esque Dodos instead. And the Baryonyx from the same film don't remotely resemble the real animals.
  • The Lion King
    • Rafiki is stated to be a mandrill, but he looks slimmer and more bluish gray than a real mandrill and has the tail of a baboon in an odd inversion of Inexplicably Tailless. Gets odd when The Lion Guard introduces his apprentice Makini, who actually looks like a real mandrill.
    • Zazu is supposed to be a red-billed hornbill. And, while he does look like a bird with a reddish beak, he doesn't look much like the bird he's supposed to be.
    • Mild Example: Pumbaa is supposed to be a warthog, but he looks a little more like a tanned domesticated pig with a mane and tusks than an actual warthog. Though he looked more like a warthog in early artwork. Averted in the CGI remake, where Pumbaa looks like a real warthog.
    • Timon looks almost nothing like a meerkat either, having peach-yellow colored fur (real meerkats are usually sand colored) bigger, downturned ears and a head full of red hair like a human would have. Plus, they walk on all fours and have black eyes.
      • And the worst part is, it seems that only Timon's colony looks like him. Other meerkats shown during the Circle of Life sequence look like actual meerkats.
    • The hyenas are supposed to be spotted hyenas (they have the spots and the matriarchal social structure), and they are made such in the CGI remake, but have coloration and other body traits which more closely resemble the striped hyena (and a Furry Female Mane which matches neither).
    • Fuli the cheetah of The Lion Guard has rosettes, which would indicate she's a king cheetah. However, her rosettes are more similar to a jaguar's and her facial tear stripes are too short.
    • Also from The Lion Guard, Shupavu and her skink group all have colorings that look nothing like on real African skinks.
    • Another example from The Lion Guard - Bunga is intended to be a honey badger. He looks more like a cross between Gopher and a chipmunk.
  • Flounder in The Little Mermaid is portrayed as a large yellow fish with blue fins and stripes and nothing like actual flounders (which are large, flat brown fish whose eyes are both on one side of its face) at all. However, that could just be his name, not his species. A possible identity for him may be the Manini, a tropical fish also known as Convict Tang, but even then the ressemblance is vague at best. Also, many of the species described in the song "Under the Sea" look nothing like their real-life counterparts.
  • Maurice from Madagascar is supposed to be an Aye-Aye, and while he does look convincingly like one, he lacks the real animal's iconic long fingers, instead having generic primate hands.
  • Osmosis Jones: In-universe, Drix mistakes Chill for a virus, and figures they should arrest him, until Ozzy informs Drix that he's a flu shot, to which he replies "That's funny, he doesn't look fluish."
  • Drake, the villain of The Pebble and the Penguin, doesn't look much like a penguin, with his musclebound physique and massive teeth.
  • Pinocchio:
    • Jiminy Cricket is so heavily anthropomorphized that he looks more like a little green man with a rabbit nose and no ears. Animator Ward Kimball, who designed him, admitted that "he's a cricket because we say he's a cricket." And then the live-action adaptation actually had him as a tiny human.
    • Monstro is clearly supposed to be some kind of whale, but he doesn't resemble any real species. He most closely resembles a sperm whale with wide shovel-jaws and the belly lining of a baleen whale.note 
  • Rango:
    • Priscilla is supposed to be an aye-aye, but she actually looks more a mouse instead. This has led to conflicting info on her species — logically, she can and should be a cactus mouse, but Word of God on the DVD commentary says aye-aye.
    • Rango's love interest Beans is supposed to be a Desert iguana, but she looks more like an... alien... thing...
  • Brutus and Nero from The Rescuers suffer from confusion over whether they're meant to be alligators or crocodiles. They're called alligators in the concept art and the movie's North American setting would seem to support this, but they look more like crocodiles and are referred to as such in the movie.
  • Chirin's adult form at the end of Ringing Bell is supposed to be a ferocious ram, but he vaguely resembles more of an antelope or a goat instead and nothing like the other sheep in the film, not even himself as a lamb. As a result of this, at the end of the film, he ends up being chased out of his own farm!
    Narrator: ...but to them, he was neither ram nor wolf, but a monster...
  • The great white sharks in Shark Tale look more like orcas than sharks.
    • Likewise, Oscar looks less like a cleaner wrasse and more like a miscolored Will Smith with a tailfin.
    • Lola is supposed to be a lionfish, but it's hard to tell, as the signature trait of lionfish is their long, stiff spines, which she doesn't have. Your first bet would probably be "stylized woman in a dress."
  • The Aracuan Bird from The Three Caballeros is pink, unlike its real world counterpart the Plain Chachalaca, which is more of a dull brown. Even more so, plain chachalacas don't have red crests.
  • Tarzan:
    • Sabor the leopard has larger, scarcer spots that make it look more like a jaguar instead, though it at least lacks the spots in its rosettes. It also has very massive canines similar to the clouded leopard, as well as slitted pupils (which are a trait of the small cats).
    • Similarly, the baboons that chase Jane are strange mandrill/baboon hybrids like Rafiki himself. The animated series has a trio of mandrills that are more accurate to their real-life counterparts.
    • The Lilian's lovebirds from the "Strangers Like Me" sequence have body shapes more like a macaw's.
  • Toto in Tom and Jerry Meets The Wizard of Oz doesn't really resemble the original Toto from the film. While Toto is a Cairn Terrier, the Toto from the cartoon looks more like a Scottie.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie:
    • Frankie the flea for some reason actually looks more like a large green mosquito than an actual flea. Also, fleas aren't the same size as mice!
    • Similarly, the largest member of the Singing Cat Gang actually does not look like a cat at all and looks more like a gorilla instead.
  • You Are Umasou:
    • The Chilantaisaurus barely looks like the real animal in that it has bull shaped horns and a short, rounded snout (which led to some viewers mistaking it for a Carnotaurus). At least it's the same size as Tyrannosaurus and retains the huge arms and claws.
    • Most of the dinosaurs in the movie don't really look like their real-life counterparts, especially the Tyrannosaurus and Maiasaura. The Triceratops, Protoceratops, and Parasaurolophus are exceptions, however.
  • In the spanish animated film El Bosque Animado (The Living Forest) and it's sequel "Espiritu del Bosque" (Spirit of the forest), the main characters are suposed to be moles, but they hardly look like them. Instead, they have big black snouts, blue fur, no visible claws, a rabbit-like tail, and apparently good eyesight. They can't be identified with any other living creature either.
  • In Katy La Oruga, the three chameleons whom Katy encounters in the forest look more like geckos with multicolored skin and googly eyes, and the salamanders are generic cartoon lizards. Also, when Katy herself becomes a butterfly at the end, she looks way too anthropomorphized to the point she resembles a standard fairy more than a butterfly.

Live-Action Films

  • Zilla, a.k.a., the American Godzilla, is an interesting variation. He's supposed to be a mutated marine iguana, but his physical structure is more akin to that of a theropod dinosaur. Since he is mutated, this might be justified.
    • Ironically Godzilla himself , who was in fact supposed to be a mutated theropod of some variety, doesn't really look like any real dinosaur so much. Part of this is Science Marches On, since back in the 50s when Godzilla was created, the classic 'tripod' pose for theropods was still in vogue, but even taking that into account, his head is way too small to be a theropod. Granted, this may be justified on account of his mutation, as his original form, the Godzillasaurus, has a more big head in proportion to its body. Some fans also interpret other incarnations of him as a synapsid.
      • May be the reason why in the 2014 reboot he is portrayed as a type of Permian reptile instead of a dinosaur. However, suplementary material in the special features of the home release of this movie states that yes, the Monsterverse Godzilla is a dinosaur as well, but given he originates from the Permian era, it means his species were either the very first dinosaurs or extremely derived dinosauriforms.
    • Anguirus in Godzilla Raids Again, despite the claims of the contrary, doesn't really look much like an ankylosaur. He is more like some kind of Styracosaurus/crocodile/armadillo hybrid.
    • Likewise, Rodan doesn't really look like a Pteranodon. He's got a small head reminiscent of a bird of prey and lacks pycnofibres, but at least he possesses membranous wings like real pterosaurs. His Heisei version has a more Pteranodon-like head as well as a slimmer body build closer to real pterosaurs, but he unfortunately has bat-like wings which other versions of the character lack. In the Monsterverse Rodan is now an ancient organism from a time before pterosaurs emerged, making his inaccuracies more justifiable, as that version of him isn't a pterosaur at all.
  • The large carnivorous dinosaur from the 2008 Journey to the Center of the Earth film is supposed to be a Giganotosaurus, but it looks more like a three-fingered Tyrannosaurus.
  • The Jurassic Park franchise is NOTORIOUS for this:
    • Jurassic Park:
      • The Velociraptor are an infamous case of this, resembling the larger Deinonychus. This is because the novel the film was based on described Deinonychus as being synonymous with Velociraptor, a now-discredited hypothesis proposed by Gregory S. Paul, and also because Michael Crichton though Velociraptor sounded much cooler than Deinonychus. And let's not get to the fact raptors should have feathers.
      • The Dilophosaurus not only possess non-existent neck-frills (which wasn't even present in the novel) and venomous spit but also a skull shaped more like a carnosaur lacking the spinosaur-like notch in the toothrow.
      • The Brachiosaurus more closely resemble Giraffatitan in that they have shorter tails and a high-crested skull. This is because Giraffatitan was initially believed to have been an African species of Brachiosaurus, B. brancai.
      • Even the Tyrannosaurus rex isn't completely immune to this, having a skull too short and box-shaped.
    • The Lost World: Jurassic Park:
      • The Stegosaurus have become a mild case of this as of late. It is now known the real animal had a longer neck with throat armor, and the tip of the tail should be curving downwards.
      • The Mamenchisaurus look more like Diplodocus or Barosaurus in that they don't have a hump or a tail club.
    • Jurassic Park III:
      • The Spinosaurus. It's got a skull and teeth more similar to Suchomimus as well as two crests instead of one. And now discoveries in 2014 have made the film's depiction look even much less than its real-life counterpart. Granted, this can be excusable since suplementary material for Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom implies the Spino was a prototype for the hybrid project.
      • The Ceratosaurus looks more like a downsized T. rex with a nose-horn, scutes, and four-fingered hands.
      • The Ankylosaurus has osteoderms much too spiky with non-existent long spines along its sides like a nodosaur, its armor is also depicted resembling a turtle-like carapace rather than being fused to the body (Ankylosaurus means "Fused Reptile"), and both its horns and tail club are wrongly shaped.
      • The Pteranodon have hooked bills full of sharp teeth, in spite of the animal meaning "Wing Without Teeth". And especially egregious in that the Pteranodon from the previous film had the proper toothless bill albeit also hooked, though Jurassic World would bring back the toothless bills which are this time correctly pointed. All versions possess grasping feet and leathery wings however. Both the JPIII and JW versions lack pycnofibres, while it's ambiguous whether the TLW version has them or not (the concept art and macquettes portrays it with such).
    • Jurassic World:
      • The Apatosaurus have necks too thin (apatosaurines are known for their muscular necks), making them resemble Diplodocus more.
      • The Gallimimus have broader skulls and beaks full of small teeth, which is jarring since the ones that appeared prior looked somewhat more like real Gallimimus. They also should have feathers.
      • The Dimorphodon have heads shaped more like a typical carnivorous theropod than the real animal. Perhaps this could be the reason why they are ferocious carnivores rather than inoffensive insectivores. They do have pycnofibres unlike the Pteranodon; the problem is that they don't have enough.
      • There's a Hand Wave by Dr. Wu that all the dinosaurs were purposely modified to look "cooler" rather than biologically accurate, as their purpose was to serve as theme park entertainment. This is true even in the books; it is explicitly explained that none of them are perfect replicas because of all the modifications and substitutions that had to be made. The use of Frog and modern reptile DNA rather than Bird DNA to fill the gaps in the sequences is a major reason for this.
    • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom:
      • The Baryonyx is a major offender. It has a considerably shorter and smaller skull than the real animal as well as atrophied forelimbs, both of which make it look more like a generic theropod than a spinosaurid. Especially jarring seeing as concept art for the previous film featured a Baryonyx design much closer to its Real Life counterpart.
      • According to the script, the ceratopsian skull that the Indoraptor is impaled on is that of an Agujaceratops, not a Triceratops, as viewers commonly assume. The thing is, the skull's frill is clearly solid, a feature only Triceratops had. Interestingly, the junior novelization identifies it as a Triceratops horridus.
      • Likewise, the movie's Sinoceratops have holes in their frills. While real Sinoceratops—and most other ceratopsians—did have these holes, in life they would have been covered by skin, not exposed like they are in the movie. The Sinoceratops also have a horn that is also much broader than the real animal's, and they also have small spikes on the center of the frill like a Pachyrhinosaurus. Though the latter may be because they were originally going to be Pachyrhinosaurus, which would have played this trope even straighter since Pachyrhinosaurus is famous for not having horns.
      • The Stegosaurus now seem to be lacking a beak (unless if it's just blended into the skin), after the previous films got this right.
  • The turkey from ThanksKilling looks more like a vulture.
  • The giant ground sloth from Unknown Island barely resembles the real animal, instead looking more like a bizarre hybrid between a bear and an ape. And then there's the fact that it's carnivorous.
  • In a similar case to Fantasia, the epononymous Allosaurus from The Valley of Gwangi looks more like a T. rex with three fingers.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the Toon Patrol are said to be weasels, but they look more like dogs instead. Justified, though, as they're Toons as opposed to actual in-universe animals.
  • The titular werewolf of The Wolf Man doesn't really look like a wolf and instead looks more like a cross between a bear and a gorilla. This is because of Technology Marches On, since at that time special effects and make-up were not sophisticated enough to go beyond adding just hair and fangs or having a dog (or hyena) play the role of a werewolf. The 2010 remake, while sticking to the classic design, adds in more wolf-like features such as pointy ears and a muzzle, although the redesign still resembles more of a bear than a wolf.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020): Sonic has never really resembled a hedgehog, but his film redesign looks even less-so like one than the games. He has realistic fur texture that doesn't resemble hedgehog fur. Hedgehogs also have minimal fur on their undersides, however Sonic is given blue-furred arms and a peach-furred muzzle and stomach. He more resembles a dog, cat or weasel than a hedgehog. Fortunately, his redesign resembles his Video Game counterpart much more closely.
  • The large prehistoric feline from Alpha (2018) is supposed to be a cave lion, but it is depicted with saber teeth, making it resemble a Machairodus.


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