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Domesticated Dinosaurs

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Just imagine. A world where humans and dinosaurs can live as one and not have '60s-era sensibilities.
Henry Wu: We could easily breed slower, more domesticated dinosaurs.
John Hammond: "Domesticated dinosaurs?" Nobody wants domesticated dinosaurs, Henry. They want the real thing.

Most fiction detailing interaction between humans and dinosaurs portrays the relationship as purely antagonistic; dinos want to eat us, and we want to not get eaten. But that's not the extent of our interaction with most animals we actually deal with, is it? This trope is another way of imagining what that interaction might look like. What if we found a use for dinosaurs? Since Everything's Better with Dinosaurs, logically, a world where dinosaurs are kept as pets, mounts, or beasts of burden is better than our own world.

Despite the name of this trope, it can also apply to any prehistoric animal - mammoths make a pretty popular substitute for War Elephants.

Also see Horse of a Different Color and Cool Pet, as well as All Animals Are Dogs for when the dinosaurs act just like real-life pets, and Fluffy Tamer for the sort of human character who keeps these things around. Typically occurs in a 1 Million B.C. setting, a Lost World, in Medieval Prehistory, or as a result of Time Travel, but can also appear in a present-day setting with Living Dinosaurs. A pretty severe inversion of the Prehistoric Monster trope, too, since it relies on dinosaurs being just another class of animals. Related to Non-Malicious Monster and to an extent, Benevolent Monsters.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • The earlier chapters of Black Cat has Madam Freesia, an aristocrat who really likes to collect rare objects, including a pet T. rex named Flora, who escapes and causes much destruction.
  • Garzey's Wing, has villainous knights mounted on big dromaeosaur-looking animals.
  • Doraemon sometimes has this, courtesy of Doraemon's "Momotaro-brand rice cakes" which turn any wild animal friendly to its feeder. One episode involve a mammoth, another involves a whole host of extinct animals, and a Big Damn Movie and its remake involves a dinosaur that befriend Nobita... and a T-Rex.

  • In Runaways, Gert has a pet Deinonychus named Old Lace. She was genetically engineered in the distant future and is given orders via a psychic link.
  • 2000 AD ran with this idea by having the Cursed Earth – the post-apocalyptic wasteland between the Mega Cities of North America – infested with reborn dinosaurs. A long-running strip followed a pioneer "wagon train" leaving Judge Dredd's Mega-City One to search out an unspoilt corner of the continent in which to build a better life; they encountered both raptor packs, some of which had been "tamed" by sub-human mutant tribes as riding beasts, and by others as beasts of burden.
    • Elsewhere in 2000 AD, tyrannosaurs repeatedly turn on humans who try to tame them. A story arc revolved around a bull tyrannosaur with a certain sentience, who absolutely hated the humans who'd treated him sadistically.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): When Diana and Trevor help free Skartaris from Villainy, Inc. several of the locals who help them ride tame dinosaurs.

    Films - Animated 

    Films - Live Action 
  • The Valley of Gwangi. An old west rodeo makes a successful sideshow out of an eohippus, and then they find an allosaurus and try to put him in the circus. Naturally, he escapes and eats a lot of people.
  • The Prehysteria series of kids' movies involve pet dinosaurs.
  • Complex example in Jurassic World. Raptor handler Owen Grady is on very familiar terms with the park's four Velociraptors, and has raised them from birth to gain their trust, but he'll emphatically deny controlling them. When another park worker falls into their enclosure, Owen's able to get the raptors to stay back long enough for the other man to flee, then even he has to make a run for the exit before he's eaten. Owen may be the pack's alpha, but that just means he has to always been on guard for challenges to his authority. Sure enough, near the climax, the raptors briefly switch sides and help the part-raptor I. rex, but hesitate to attack Owen and his partner Barry. Owen ultimately convinces them to help, at which point three of them give their lives fighting to protect him.
  • As of the sequel to the above, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Owen is reunited with Blue, the last surviving member of the original Raptor Squad. While she is initially hostile after being betrayed and captured by the mercenaries, she later warms up again to her human 'dad', and later fights the hybrid Indoraptor to protect Owen and his friends. However, she doesn't take well to captivity, and at the end departs once more to the Grand Canyon (refusing to come home with Owen) where she can live free once again.
    • Much of the plot to the film also revolves around powerful people from all over the world trying to acquire the dinosaurs, including for military purposes.
  • Kate in Dinosaur Island (2014) has a pet dinosaur that acts a little bird-like.
  • While under the care of the protagonist couple, the baby sauropod acts like a domesticated puppy in Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend.
  • Yoshi in Super Mario Bros. is a pet of the royal family, and while Koopa mistreats him, he quickly bonds with Daisy and helps her escape captivity.

  • Jurassic Park is about a failed attempt at creating a dinosaur zoo. Certain spin-off video games let you succeed, though, by focusing on the upkeep of such a park if it really worked.
    • In the book (although dropped from the film), one of inGen's long-term plans was to breed small dinosaurs for children to keep as pets. BioSyn, a competitor, worried they would make it so that they could only survive off of food produced by inGen, giving them a nice monopoly on them.
  • Dinotopia, despite being the page image, is actually a subversion. The dinosaurs are every bit as intelligent as the humans and live in a Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My! society.
  • In More Information Than You Require, the "pseudosaur" is listed as one of the hideous steeds of the molemen. Actually a subversion, because although the mole-men think that pseudosaurs are dinosaurs, they're actually just oversized iguanas.
  • S.M. Stirling's The Sky People has the Earth outpost tame dinosaurs via neural implant.
  • Oliver Butterworth's The Enormous Egg. A triceratops is hatched from a giant hen's egg and becomes the pet of a boy named Nate Twitchell, who names it "Uncle Beazley".
  • In Gerald Durrell's children's book The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure (the sequel to The Fantastic Flying Journey), the Dollybut siblings and their great-uncle Lancelot travel back in time to the age of dinosaurs. By the end of the story, they adopt two juvenile animals: a female Diplodocus and a male pterosaur.
  • The Stone Dance of the Chameleon takes place in a world inhabited by a lot of prehistoric animals. The local population has domesticated ceratopsids called huimur, small versions of which serve as pack animals and giant versions of which are ridden to war like war elephants, and theropods called aquars, which are ridden like horses.
  • In Chrono Hustle Jack gets himself a pet Triceratops while in the Cretaceous.
  • Robert Mash's How to Keep Dinosaurs is a full book on dinosaur care with elaborate CG enhanced photo illustrations featuring dinosaurs in the modern world. The book covers dinosaurs as house pets, guard animals, livestock, and as zoo animals with a sense of Black Comedy throughout.
  • One of the Ciaphas Cain novels features dinosaurs used as livestock. Unfortunately, the Tyranids are on the planet, meaning they're just walking Power Ups for the 'nids.
  • The book The Way Things Work is a children's book about how various machines function. The framing device is from the perspective of a visitor to a society that domesticate and use woolly mammoths in everything. The machines explained in the book are operated by, used upon or represented by the mammoths.
  • The Dinosaur Lords has dinosaurs in all parts of society, replacing modern creatures. They're bred for eggs, food and hides, they're kept as pets, they pull carts and plow fields, they carry burdens and, above others, they're war mounts. To quote a review:
    Dinosaur Lords has medieval knights riding dinosaurs into battle. Your decision to read the book will inevitably be based not on this or any other review but on precisely how excited you feel by the phrase "medieval knights ride dinosaurs into battle."
  • 3001: The Final Odyssey: Frank Poole is more than a little shocked to learn that, in the 31st century, raptorsnote  are employed as gardeners, among other things. Apparently carnivorous dinosaurs, with a touch of genetic modification, make excellent laborers; they're even employed as babysitters, which leads to the Obligatory Joke:
    "Would you trust your kids to a dinosaur?"
    "What - and risk injuring it?"
  • The Ideal Sponger Life has various breeds dinosaurs as the main horse-analogues in the other world, used as mounts for riding and beasts of burden. They're generally referred to as drakes, wyverns, and so on.
  • Liv in the Future sees the titular character adopt a quartet of tiny Stock Dinosaurs that wandered out of a portal as pets.

    Live Action TV 
  • Prehistoric Park is about a successful attempt at creating a dinosaur zoo. It's basically just a documentary series about the management and construction of a zoo, but the zoo happens to be for dinosaurs and other prehistoric critters.
  • On Primeval, Abbey kept a Coelurosauravus (not a dinosaur but a gliding reptile) as a pet. His name was Rex.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The episode "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship" has the Doctor taming a Triceratops and then riding it around the ship.
    • Spinoff series Torchwood gives the main protagonists a pet Pteranodon.
  • Inverted on Dinosaurs, where the ridiculously-suburbanized dinosaurs keep pet humans.
  • Power Rangers Dino Charge: In the series finale, the Rangers go back in time and, in the course of defeating the Big Bad, unintentionally prevent the extinction of the dinosaurs; when they return to the present, they discover that dinosaurs survived into the present day, and the museum where they work is now a dinosaur zoo.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000, in the season 11 episode riffing "The Land that Time Forgot" Kinga and Max start a dinosaur BBQ bar and grill "Moon 14 Mesozoic Ranch", all human remains powerwashed out. Then Max forgets to lock the Allosaurus cage and they run for it.
  • In Land of the Lost (1991), Annie has a baby Parasaurolophus named Tasha.

  • As with the source, this is invoked in The Flintstones, complete with a ball-spitting Bronto Crane.

  • The Twilight Histories miniepisode “Beyond the Indus” takes place in a world where dinosaurs somehow survived in India, and were domesticated by the Indians as sources of food and beast of burden.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: In the Ixalan set, the Aztec-inspired Sun Empire have domesticated feathered, solar dinosaurs which they uses as beasts of burden and battle. This is parodied with Raptor Companion, according to which trained raptors can follow any order... as long as that order is some variant of "hunt", "kill", or "go for the guts".
  • Warhammer:
    • The Lizardmen ride various distinctly dinosaurian steeds into war. The Stegadon can be mounted with different siege engines on its back, while Carnosaurs are the reason there are no dragons in Lustria.
    • One such creature, the therapod-like Cold One, is also available to the Dark Elves. It's a bit of a stretch to call Cold Ones domesticated, though, as the elf rider needs to cover themselves in an unguent that masks their scent so the beasts won't attack them. The unguent also eventually deadens the rider's senses. one Dark Elf was able to get rid of a rival by replacing the unguent with a placebo, the rider getting promptly ripped apart when he tried to get on his mount.
    • On the mammoth side of things, some Chaos tribes are able to use mammoths as war beasts. Although being Chaos tribes, it's less "domesticated" and more "beaten, abused and possessed by daemons".
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Eldar and Dark Eldar used to have access to Cold-One-like steeds in the 1st edition. Exodite Eldar still have them in background material.
    • Certain Imperial Guard regiments also use Cold-One-like steeds instead of horses for their cavalry units. Experimental rules for them were released, but never made it into a codex.
    • Dinosaur-like creatures called Grox are kept as livestock on many Imperial worlds. A more dangerous creature called Carnosaurus (possibly the same creature used by Warhammer Lizardmen) is also mentioned to exist on a number of planets.
    • The Tau Empire's Great Knarloc is very much like a Tyrannosaurus rex with a big gun mounted on its back. The Kroot also ride smaller Knarlocs into battle.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In Eberron, the halflings of the Talenta Plains are basically a Central Asian nomadic tribe of dinosaur riders. Their most common mounts are Leaellynasaura (which they refer to as "fastieths"), though other species like "glidewings" (pteranodons) are also known.
    • The standard rules also make this definitely possible, with druids and rangers given access to various prehistoric animals as their companions. Additionally, the 3.5 supplements Frostburn and Sandstorm suggest that paladins in arctic or desert settings might use Megaloceras and Diprotodon, respectively, as mounts, and the book Arms and Equipment Guide offers the "axebeak" (a distinctly phorusrhacid bird) as a steed.
    • Module WG6, Isle of the Ape. One of the groups of cavemen had phorusrhacids that they used as "hounds" to hunt down prey.
  • Pathfinder also gives druids access to dinosaurs and pterosaurs as companions, and the Kellids are a steppe nomad culture who ride domesticated mammoths.
  • Ironclaw and Jadeclaw have dinosaurs substitute for cows and horses. The text refers to them as "lizards," but the illustrations clearly show dinosaurs.
  • In Myriad Song many planets have dinosaurs for some reason, Troodons are a playable race, the descriptions for some species mention that they're often domesticated.
  • In Space 1889 several species of dinosaurs on Venus are used as work and riding animals by both the native venusians and human colonists.
  • Predation is built around this trope; the game is set in the late Cretaceous, and every player has a companion dinosaur. Various types of dinosaur have been integrated into society; bambiraptor is a common pet and also used for pest control.

    Video Games 
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • Guar are vaguely theropod-like dinosaurids, about the size of a cow, which the native [1] farm for their hides and use as beasts of burden. Despite their awkward and clumsy appearance, they are Not So Harmless and are quite capable of defending themselves. Concept art for the game shows them being ridden by armed and armored Dunmer as Beasts Of Battle, but this was not present in the game itself. (There are still mentions of Guar being ridden in the lore, however.)
      • In the Tribunal expansion, Goblins are shown to train Durzogs, a sort of reptilian dog, for combat and protection.
    • In Skyrim, Giants herd woolly mammoths. The relationship is said to be symbiotic, with the mammoths allowing the Giants to milk them and create cheese in exchange for the Giants' protection.
  • Zoo Tycoon:
    • In the first game, the expansion pack Dinosaur Digs basically let you create a Jurassic Park of your own, though the expansion pack also included several Ice Age animals.
    • Zoo Tycoon 2 has the similar expansion Extinct Animals, but with a wider variety of other extinct critters besides dinosaurs.
    • However it's subverted in that like Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs and prehistoric animals will escape their enclosures given the opportunity and attack or eat any helpless human they come across.
  • In Star Trek Online, the Voth, a race of Rubber-Forehead Aliens descended from Earth dinosaurs (from VOY: "Distant Origin"), use dinosaurs with freaking laser beams as pack animals and, for lack of a better term, living armored vehicles.
  • In Chrono Trigger, Ayla's caveman tribe keep (four-legged) pterosaurs as flying mounts while the Reptites keep Tyrannosaurs.
  • In World of Warcraft, trolls often ride giant raptor-like creatures, while the tauren typically ride the brontotherium-like kodo. The trolls of Zandalar also use the apatosaurus based brutosaurs as transportation (and one of said brutosaurs ended up the most expensive purchasable thing in the game until it wasn't available anymore).
  • The Mario franchise gives us Yoshi, who is referred to as both a dinosaur and a dragon. "Domesticated" might not be exactly the right word, as they're intelligent, have their own culture, and aren't treated as animals at all; but they do give people rides.
  • Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis allows you to build and run your own dinosaur park similar to that of the book and movie, but hopefully without the whole breaking-out-and-eating-people thing (unless you wish that to happen). This also applies with Jurassic World: Evolution, which is defacto the Spiritual Successor of Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.
  • In Monster Hunter , Aptonoth (large herbivorous Monsters with traits from different kinds of dinosaurs, generally resembling duck-billed dinosaurs) are sometimes used as working animals by NPCs. In Monster Hunter Stories riders, including the protagonist, can tame any monster, and you can see Velocidromes being used as working animals as well.
  • Monster Rancher has the Zuum species, known as Dino in the first game. They're known for being friendly and easy to raise, with well-balanced stats.
  • Pokémon: Any dinosaur-like Pokémon under the control of the player or an NPC counts.
  • One of the biggest selling points of ARK: Survival Evolved is giving the player the ability to tame dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts. Those that are big enough can be fitted with saddles so that the player can ride them.
    • Subverted with the Giganotosaurus. You can tame them, but if they take too much damage at once they become enraged and will begin attacking anyone and anything around, including their tamer.
    • It's also averted with some creatures, mainly bosses and alphas. These cannot be tamed at all without cheating.
  • Original War: In this game set 2 million years ago (and thus too late to have actual dinosaurs) all three factions can boost their meager numbers by training local "apemen". The Arabs can also tame sabertooth tigers and mastodons.
  • In King of Dragon Pass various dinosaurs exists alongside the setting's Bronze Age culture. They aren't normally domesticated, but there is a random event where you can find some Triceratops and tame them as beasts of burden for your clan.

  • In Gifts of Wandering Ice, technology allowed for easy and widespread genetic manipulation. Ash's pet "Bitey" might look like a small raptor, but she's essentially a large bird whose latent "dinosaur" qualities (clawed forelimbs in lieu of wings, sharp teeth) have been "switched back on" and combined with parrot-like intelligence, ability to mimic sounds, and bright feathery plumage.
  • In The Order of the Stick the Empire of Blood uses a lot of dinosaurs in their military and in their gladiator arenas.
  • In The Fellowship of Heroes a supervillain overran the southwest states with dinosaurs, many states were evacuated, Texas decided to domesticate them. It's first mentioned when Crusader wrangles up a baby brontosaur that escaped from a traveling rodeo.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Turns out there was a sapient dromeosaur species that domesticated other dinosaurs, including T. rex.

    Western Animation 
  • The very first cartoon character of all time, Gertie the Dinosaur, was a sauropod who did tricks on command, and would metatextually interact with live actors. If you're having trouble picturing this, imagine the "Hello John" scene from Jurassic Park, which was a Shout-Out to this.
  • The Flintstones, famously. The prehistoric humans kept dinosaurs as pets and used them as industrial machines (e.g. a brontosaurus was used as a steam shovel). Bizarrely, many of these were sapient and would even remark on their lot in life with "It's a living." Dino and the unnamed Sabertooth Tiger were Fred and Wilma's pets, acting like a dog and cat respectively. Dino in particular was particularly fond of Fred and would tackle him to the ground when Fred came home.
  • Dino-Riders, which was about guys who ride dinosaurs.
  • In the Porky Pig short "Prehistoric Porky" cave-Porky has a pet Brontosaurus named Rover.
  • Futurama:
    • In the episode "I Dated a Robot", Fry fulfills one of his dreams: riding a T. rex in the Jurassic Kiddie Park.
    • Not dinosaurs, but still prehistoric. The episode "Fun on a Bun" sees cavemen riding mammoths and using other Ice Age critters as war beasts.
  • One future episode of The Simpsons featured a zoo of resurrected dinosaurs and pterosaurs where the dinosaurs could also perform tricks a la SeaWorld.
  • Conversed in Arthur when Arthur, Buster, and the Brain are writing a fanfic sequel to Robin Hood. Buster wants to write a scene where pirates ride an Apatosaurus into town and crush buildings. Brain points out that "dinosaurs and pirates never coexisted."
  • Dino-Boy. The title character had a baby Brontosaurus named "Bronty" as a pet. The villains in various episodes sometimes had dinosaurs as beasts of burden, mounts, attack animals and so on.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Rock N' Roar", Buster tried to get his soccer ball back when it fell down a hole, but instead, he picked up an egg that hatched into a dinosaur. He tries keeping him as a pet, naming him "Rover", and even raising him to be a vegetarian, but Rover's massive size made a mess of Acme Acres and Monty tried to trap him. At the end, Buster had to return Rover to the cave where he found his egg.
  • On the Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Mighty Mightor, Sheera has a pet mammoth calf named Bollo. Little Rok also has a pet dodo bird, although that's a borderline example, since the dodo went extinct relatively recently. Plus, the villains of the show regularly used dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals as mounts and attack animals.
  • Dino Ranch: Being a show about a ranch that has dinosaurs as farm animals, this is naturally in full force. The Cassidy family all ride dinosaur companions; large herbivorous dinosaurs like Parasaurolophus and Stegosaurus fill the role of cows; there's a Triceratops that acts like a bull and a Pteranodon instead of a rooster; and Compsognathus run around the ranch just like chickens.
  • In DuckTales (1987), Bubba the Caveduck has a pet Triceratops named Tootsie.
  • Due to 1 Million B.C. being subverted, DuckTales (2017) had a version of Bubba and Tootsie that met for the first time. Bubba did attempt to tame her, but calming down an angry Triceratops isn't all that easy.
  • In Sonic Underground, Chomps is Knuckles' carnivorous pet dinosaur who serves him by devouring intruders who came onto Floating Island.

  • There's a popular photoshopped image floating around the internet of Napoleon Bonaparte riding on an allosaur. Images of Jesus riding a dinosaur or of Bible-era farmers riding triceratops are also often used to advertise, or satirize, creationism.

    Real Life 
  • For information on how this would actually pan out in real life, here's Paleontologist Darren Naish with some helpfully scientific speculations.
  • There is one familiar example of a domesticated "dinosaur" so common and successful that they outnumber humans more than three to one, and has been raised by humans for centuries, first for brutal bloodsports, then later for its delicious meat. It's called a "chicken". Yes, being birds, chickens are considered living dinosaurs! (Making dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets very ironic, in hindsight.) This means that chicken tastes like dinosaur.
  • Human beings have domesticated and kept other kinds of avian dinosaurs for thousands of years and have produced hundreds of breeds for various purposes including for food, for ornamental purposes, as messenger carriers and as pets. Some examples include ducks, turkeys, canaries, budgerigars, and pigeons.
  • Other birds, while not domesticated (as in, their genetic structure is still largely the same as their wild counterparts) can be successfully tamed and kept as well. Examples of these include falcons, ostriches, finches, and parrots.
  • There are lots of toys that have this premise to them, often remote-control critters. They're very rarely accurate, though.
  • Young Earth Creationists believe that humans and dinosaurs coexisted in biblical times and that some dinosaurs were domesticated back then. They sometimes create hoax artifacts like the Ica Stones to promote this worldview.note  This has resulted in images of Jesus riding a dinosaur being widely used to mock YECs.
  • The project to retro-engineer a chicken to look more like its prehistoric ancestors will result in this as while it may look different it will still be a chicken, albeit a new breed of chicken called a "chickenosaurus" and probably won't act any differently then a regular chicken.


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