Uh-oh. There's a dog loose at the natural history museum! The museum is full of priceless fossilized dinosaur skeletons, worth millions upon millions of dollars. And we all know what dogs like to munch on, don't we? Prepare to see the little pooch walk out the door with a jumbo-sized femur in his mouth, and to hear the sound of many bones collapsing into a pile in the background.
Of course, this would not actually happen in Real Life. Fossil bones have been fossilized over all the millions of years they have spent lying around underground, and would not attract a dog's attention any more than a rock would (in a sense they are rock, and much too heavy for a single dog to carry). In any case, most museums do not take the risk of setting the priceless skeletons out in the open where they could be damaged; those are actually plaster recreations directly modeled after the authentic bones. Not to mention, they're also either in glass cases or mounted on metal frames so they can't fall apart.
Often spotted in comedies and cartoons. Has something to do with the vague association most people have between dinosaurs and bones; to the point that many museum visitors believe that every mounted skeleton in a museum is some kind of dinosaur.
- This trope is played straight for laughs for an ad for the Royal Ontario Museum. The scene is set at the front door of the museum and a dog runs out with a huge dinosaur bone in mouth, looks around and is Off Like a Shot followed by two paleontologists in lab coats in hot pursuit.
- In the UK we have a trilogy of amusing ads featuring scruffy dog, Harvey, who cleverly uses the power of advertising to manipulate his long-suffering owner. The third ad charts the romantic adventures of Harvey and his new girlfriend — one of which involves them dragging a large dino bone past a snoozing museum guard.
- Liberty Meadows Ralph has been digging for dinosaur bones all day with no luck and leaves his spot. Oscar the Weiner dog dives down the hole and soon emerges with a giant femur in his mouth.
- Happens in Footrot Flats with the Dog digging up a moa bone and dragging it off.
- One Archie Comics story has fun with this. Jughead's dog Hot Dog is wandering around Riverdale High with a bone in his mouth... just as Professor Flutesnoot's fossil, on loan from the museum goes missing. The result is the Jones family lawn being dug up. (Well, now they can put in a new swimming pool where the crater is) But of the dozens of bones found, not one is the fossil. Turns out Svenson put it away somewhere so it won't get lost, and what Hot Dog had was a soup bone from Ms. Beezly, the lunch lady.
- This is the story in The Beano's first◊ Pup Parade strip. The Bash Street Dogs steal a dinosaur bone from a museum, then throw it in a ditch dug by some workmen to save the trouble of burying it. Unfortunately, the workmen then fill the hole with cement.
- In The Adventures of Tintin (2011), while Tintin, Haddock and Snowy are lost in the desert, Snowy (in the background) finds a dinosaur bone.
- Played for Laughs and inverted in Night at the Museum. Due to a magical artifact, the T. rex skeleton comes to life at night, and has the personality of a dog. Larry plays fetch with it, using its own rib.
- The movie Bringing Up Baby is probably the Trope Maker. A dog steals and buries the last dinosaur bone that a paleontologist needs to complete a Brontosaurus/Apatosaurus skeleton at his museum.
- Prehistoric Pinkerton has Pinkerton steal a dinosaur bone while at a museum because he's teething.
- Petticoat Junction: In the second-season episode, "The Brontosaurus Caper", Betty Jo's dog goes through an open window into the closed-for-repairs Pixley Museum. Stealing the bones one-by-one, he slowly brings the skeleton of a baby Brontosaurus back to the hotel.
- Subverted in 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue. When Fluffy tells the player to search for a giant bone, the player replies "A giant bone? Yummy!" and Fluffy replies that the player won't want to eat this bone because it's "hard as rock". Considering that fossils actually are rocks, that's pretty accurate.
- In Paper Mario: Color Splash, the Professor's pet Chain Chomp (who, in the Mario universe, behave like big dogs) goes missing and is later found running amok at a fossil excavation site. Mario can take a spare bone with him, which he can deploy later to summon Princess. This is required in the boss fight against Iggy.
- Chu-Chu attempts to make a meal out of a fallen dinosaur statue in episode one of The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.
- An episode of CatDog involves Dog's habit of stealing dinosaur bones from the museum while sleepwalking.
- Clifford the Big Red Dog has found dinosaur bones, but subverted in that he doesn't eat them.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog has this in the form of "The God Bone." According the mysterious disembodied voice that spoke to Courage when he first found it, "He who licketh the God Bone will liketh the God Bone and never stop licking.". They aren't kidding and this is emphasized by the presence of several animated skeletal dogs that are still licking it in death. However, it's heavily implied that this obsession can be cured by the Power of Love or the Power of Friendship. In the end, Courage is able to stop licking the Bone upon thinking about what will happen to Muriel and he tops it off by sucking up to another dog owner to help her dog realize that she was more important than any giant treat.
- In Darkwing Duck, one of Negaduck's attempts to earn the spot of public enemy #1 was to introduce some vicious dogs to a museum's dinosaur bones.
- In the Dennis the Menace (1986) episode, "No Bones About it", Ruff sneaks into the museum to get a bone from a dinosaur skeleton, with the museum's guards trying unsuccessfully to get him out. At the end of the episode, Ruff stops a pair of jewel thieves and is rewarded with the skeleton.
- Looney Tunes:
- One cartoon (Bone Sweet Bone, 1948) had a museum curator scolding his dog Shep for taking a dinosaur bone and ordered him to get it back. The dog spends the rest of the cartoon trying to retrieve the bone from a bulldog, only to find out at the end that his master had the bone in question in his pocket the whole time.
- Invoked in the Bugs Bunny Builders spin-off; George P. Mandrake, usually known as Barnyard Dawg, is a paleontologist in this series.
- Done by an out-of-control robot dog in Mega Babies.
- In the Rugrats (1991) episode, "No Bones About It", the babies go to the natural history museum, and the "present" they bring home for Spike is a dinosaur toe bone.
- In the Shaun the Sheep episode "Fossils", Bitzer digs up a dinosaur skeleton while looking for his bone. He tries to bite one of the bones, but doesn't like the taste. Later, the completed skeleton is stolen by a pair of stray dogs.
- The Tom and Jerry Show (1975) episode "No Bones About It". A dinosaur's toe bone is missing from the museum in which Tom and Jerry work; they see Spike carrying what they think is the missing bone, so they try to get it away from him.
- A wire-haired dachshund named Daisy made headlines in 2007 after uncovering the femur of a woolly mammoth on a Suffolk beach.