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Time Traveler's Dinosaur

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Matilda and Terence, a pair of juvenile T. rex, about to go to the 21st century.

Sheen: Hey, Jimmy! I used your time pincher to bring Harry Houdini to your party to do magic tricks.
Jimmy: Sheen, that's a ferocious prehistoric velociraptor!
Sheen: Oh, yeah. I always get magicians and dinosaurs mixed up.
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius Episode: Party At Neutrons

Time Travel offers many possibilities for a work. A character can visit a time not their own or meet a famous figure from history. Here though this Trope is about an extinct animal appearing in a work thanks to time travel.

Typically this trope is done to shoehorn a dinosaur or some other famous extinct creature into the story, but plenty of examples also exist where the story warrants it. This trope can be played in one of two ways, either someone goes back in time to where they can see the extinct animal or the extinct animal itself is the time traveler. Interestingly thanks to this being a Time Travel trope extant animals can also become examples of this trope so long as they travel to a time where they are extinct.

Compare and contrast with Fossil Revival and Living Dinosaurs which like this trope is often used as a means to shoehorn a dinosaur into the story, only in that case of the first, it's by bringing the fossilized creatures brought Back from the Dead and in the other, it's with dinosaurs being alive in the Present Day, usually by means of a Lost World.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Knights on Dinosaurs: Discussed. Nobita insists dinosaurs still exist in the present day and challenges Suneo to a bet. Suneo accepts, but reminds Nobita "Try not to cheat by bringing back dinosaurs using your desk's Time Machine!" Nobita and co. do eventually encounter legit Living Dinosaurs in an underground cavern, which turn out to be descended from dinosaurs that survived the Cretaceous asteroid.

    Comic Books 
  • Atomic Robo: Zig-zagged, with Dr. Dinosaur who claims to be a real dinosaur that came from Time Travel. Robo doubts that this is true for several reasons; however, since Dr. Dinosaur routinely does the impossible, it's still possible that he really is a time-traveling dinosaur.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The first time the duo use Calvin's cardboard box time machine, they try to travel to the future but accidentally wind up in prehistoric times instead. They only realize their mistake when they notice a sauropod is watching them, at which point they panic and rush back to their own time. Then in a follow-up story arc, Calvin and Hobbes deliberately travel back to the Cretaceous so they can take photos of dinosaurs and get rich selling them. They encounter an Allosaurus and barely escape getting eaten.
  • Disney Mouse and Duck Comics: This kind of plot is surprisingly common in Duck and Mouse stories, so much that it's weird that characters didn't lampshaded how much often they came across prehistoric creatures that appeared in modern day due to time travel:
    • One story titled (in the Polish release) "Revenge of the Pharaoh" has Huey, Dewey, and Louie help the time-displaced pharaoh's daughter return to her time period. At the climax, the Great Vizier (the story's Big Bad) threatens our heroes that he's gonna send them to "place they will never return from", but the shield reflects his magic blast, sending him instead. "The place they will never return from" turns out to be the Cretaceous period where the Vizier ends up being chased by a T. rex.
    • In one Gyro centered story, group of scientists ask him to invent a machine so they can be able to guess the diet of the newly discovered species of dinosaur. Gyro invents a invention that works as a "window to the other time periods" and which he uses to look into the past. What he didn't expected, is that machine will also work as fully-fledged time machine, resulting in dinosaur he was supposed to study crossing over into modern day. Fortunately, it wasn't a dangerous carnivore like a Allosaurus.
  • Runaways: Gert Yorkes, the daughter of a pair of time-traveling criminals, has a pet Deinonychus. Surprisingly, Old Lace is not actually from the prehistoric past; she's a genetically-engineered pet from the future.
  • Vanya the Lost Warrior: Time travel has become so commonplace by 2288 AD that the military regularly jettisons people in prehistoric times for extreme wilderness training. The series centers around one such trainee, Vanya Tepanov, who becomes stranded in the prehistoric wilderness after an alien invasion in the future leaves her with nowhere to return to. Naturally several species of dinosaur make an appearance.

    Fan Works 
  • Harry Is a Dragon, and That's OK: Hermione regularly uses a Time Turner to travel several hours back in time, during the month where she's holding a mandrake leaf in her mouth as preparation to become an Animagus. As a result of mixing transformation and time magic in this way, her Animagus form is a velociraptor.
  • The Palaververse: The First Stitch: Time magic experimentation accident leads to dinosaurs appearing.

    Films — Animation 
  • Dino Time: Ernie Fitzpatrick, his sister Julia and his best friend Max accidentally activate Max's father's time machine and are transported back to the days of dinosaurs, which naturally has numerous dinosaurs appear.
  • Extinct (2021): The Extinctables are a collection of extinct animals that were saved by Professor Chung through the use of Time Travel.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: Rex Dangervest has a crew of Velociraptors. It's later revealed that his ship, the Rexcelsior, is a time machine and he used it to recruit them.
  • Meet the Robinsons: Bowler Hat Guy abducts and enslaves a T. rex, then brings him to the future to capture Lewis.
  • Averted in Mr Peabodyand Sherman: Despite Sherman accidentally creating a time paradox due to him returning to the present day, which according to Mr. Peabody, is strictly forbidden since Sherman is not allowed to travel to a time period contemporary enough to occur after his birth, or else there will be two of him, and causing various historical figures to fall into the present day, no dinosaurs or prehistoric animals ever appear (the earliest time period visited onscreen was instead the Ice Age).
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water: Patrick takes a trip on SpongeBob and Plankton's time machine and comes back with a Squidward-like dinosaur called "Squidasaurus-rex".
  • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story: Much like in the book the film is based on, the story is about a group of dinosaurs that were made sapient through Power-Up Food and brought to the present in a Time Machine to go to the Museum of Natural History.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Kung Fury: Played for laughs. Kung Fury tries to travel back in time to WW 2 to stop Hitler but ends up overshooting it. He arrives at a rocky valley and is immediately attacked by a raptor... that shoots lasers from its mouth. Kung Fury is confused by this... because Lazer Raptors went extinct thousands of years ago. He is then saved by a minigun-wielding barbarian woman, who explains that he's arrived in the Viking age, which he thinks explains the presence of the Lazer Raptor.
  • The Last Sharknado: It's About Time: Fin Shepard attempts to prevent the destruction caused by the Sharknadoes by traveling through time which causes numerous beings from history and even mythology to appear including several examples of this trope, most notably a pterosaur and T. rex.
  • Lucy: When Lucy's traveling through time she briefly stops somewhere in the Mesozoic era and gets charged at by a dinosaur, before resuming her travels.
  • Men in Black 3: When Agent J first does a time jump; by jumping off a skyscraper no less, he sees history unfold before his eyes, but just before he hits the bottom he nearly gets eaten by a dinosaur. Thankfully before that happens he gets to his destination in time.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: The humpback whales George and Gracie are this due to being Extinct in the Future.
  • T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous: Zig-zagged, since the film leaves it ambiguous on whether or not Ally's experiencing actual Time Travel or some sort of illusion. That said, if Ally actually did experience time travel then this trope is in full play since dinosaurs do appear.

  • "A Sound of Thunder": The protagonist is a hunter known simply as "Eckels", who uses a time travel agency to visit the age of the dinosaurs and kill a Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • "A Statue For Father": The one worthwhile accomplishment of time travel technology is the use of an extraordinarily stable "chrono-funnel" to collect a nest of dinosaur eggs from the past. Since dinosaurs turn out to be an Impossibly Delicious Food, having the world's only breeding population is the basis for stupendous wealth in the restaurant business.
  • Animorphs: In the book Megamorphs #2: In the Time of Dinosaurs a nuclear explosion sends the Animorphs to the time of the dinosaurs, which naturally appear.
  • Captain Underpants: The pterodactyl named Crackers joins George and Harold after her debut in the seventh book, Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: The Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers, when George and Harold use a time machine to travel back to the past.
  • The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure: Lancelot and the children travel back to the time of the dinosaurs in pursuit of the evil Sir Jasper Collywobble. Naturally many different species of dinosaurs appear.
  • Larry Niven's "The Flight of the Horse" features several stories about time travelers recovering extinct animals for a distant future zoo.
  • The Magic School Bus: The sixth book; The Magic School Bus In the Time of the Dinosaurs, has the bus turn into a Time Machine, the class sees several dinosaurs note  and learn about them and other eras.
  • The Time Machine: The Time Traveler became an example of this trope when he when travels to a time where modern humans are extinct, though when this trope is in full effect is debatable. Does it start in 802,701 with the Eloi and the Morlocks note  or does it happen even further in the future where humans in general are completely gone note .

    Live-Action TV 
  • Choujuu Sentai Liveman: The sixth and seventh episodes involved a young T. rex pulled from the past. The sixth episode has the Monster of the Week use its time-based powers to bring the T. rex to the present, where a young boy befriends it and nicknames it Gon. The seventh episode has the villains put Gon under mind control and test if Gash's Giga Phantom cannon can make it giant since the Giga Phantom normally only works on the villain's created monsters. Unfortunately for the Liveman, Gon does become giant, forcing the Liveman to fight and slay it with their mecha.
  • Doctor Who: In the episode "Deep Breath" the Doctor accidentally brings a Tyrannosaurus that ate the TARDIS to Victorian London.
  • Doom Patrol (2019): Played with, in the episode "Immortimas Patrol", tyrannosaurs are part of the iconography of Immortimas, the holiday celebrating the time-manipulating god Immortus.
  • Kamen Rider Zi-O: When Tsukuyomi takes Sougo on a time-traveling trip via Time Mazine in the first episode, they end up at one point in the Cretaceous where they get chased by a Tyrannosaurus rex. Notably, most other examples of time travel within the show are only to times and places within the 21st century, so this instance stands out in comparison.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: In Season 2, when the Legends are scattered throughout time by Rip, Ray ends up in the Cretaceous period and is seen running from a T. rex when he gets rescued. Later when the Legends return back, it's revealed the T. rex was named Gertrude and the reason why she hates Ray is because he ate some of her eggs.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Discussed in "The Time Travelers", dinosaurs don't feature at all in the time-travel movie that Jonah and the 'bots are forced to watch. Nevertheless, when they hold a brief meeting to review time portal safety tips, Gypsy specifically quizzes them on what to do if they encounter a time portal and a dinosaur comes through it:
    Gypsy: Crow, here's your scenario. A dinosaur comes through the portal. What do you do?
    Crow: I take great pains not to change the course of history, creating a butterfly effect.
    Gypsy: Good, good.
    Crow: Then I saddle up the dinosaur, ride into Nazi Germany, and we all go Hitler hunting! Yeehaw!
  • Odd Squad: Part of the crux of Season 3's Story Arc involves a group of villains who are looking to use the Golden Sundial for their own personal gain, planning to defeat Odd Squad through summoning creatures from past history such as dinosaurs. However, they don't manage to succeed due to the Mobile Unit's interference. In addition, while they're not there due to time travel, Odd Squad does house dinosaurs of all sorts of species, which have been shown to ally with them once or twice.
  • Prehistoric Park: The premise of the show involves Nigel Marven going back in time to bring back various creatures from prehistoric eras, whom he and his team then place in the titular park. Provides the Trope image.
  • Primeval: The time portals transport what ever goes through them to another time. Therefore most episodes involve some sort of prehistoric animal traveling through time, typically to modern day.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Trials And Tribble-ations" some of the senior staff of the station are sent back in time by the bad guy of the week to the same period of time as the Star Trek episode "The Trouble With Tribbles". It is established that in the 105 years between each era the titular Tribbles had been exterminated as a menace by the Klingons... that is, until someone (we never find out who) on the DS 9 crew brings some back with them at the end of the episode.
  • Terra Nova: People from a post-apocalyptic future traveling through a time portal to live in a possible alternate universe's late Cretaceous period to live in a settlement called Terra Nova. Naturally several dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals appear; both real and fictional, interestingly though they're not usually important to the plot.
  • Torchwood: The titular organisation has an Elaborate Underground Base that houses Myfanwy, a pterodactyl brought to modern-day Cardiff through a space-time rift. "Fragments" features a Flashback to her rescue.

  • Dinosaur: A group known as The Dino Institute has successfully perfected time travel and wishes to take a tour group (the riders) to see the Mesozoic. Doctor Seeker, however, wants to send them to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs to rescue an Iguanodon. The Iguanodon saved is implied to also be Aladar.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu: The supplement The Asylum and Other Tales, adventure "Gate From the Past". A group of Old Ones use a Time Gate spell to travel from the Upper Jurassic to modern-day Arkham. A Ceratosaurus (carnivorous dinosaur) can be encountered if the Player Characters investigating the problem use the Time Gate to travel to the past.
  • Similarly, fellow Lovecraft game Delta Green features Serpent Men trying to build a time gate back to the apex of their Empire in the time of the dinosaurs. The resulting gate (spoilers for the scenario Future/Perfect) is the cause of a Monolophosaurus murdering members of a small town, which was mistaken as a serial killer.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Flaming Tyrannosaurus from the Doctor Who Commander set directly references the same episode mentioned under Live-Action TV. Appropriately, it has Paradox, a keyword that does things whenever you cast spells from anywhere other than your hand (where spells are "supposed" to be cast from).

  • LEGO:
    • In the LEGO Magazine November/December 2004 crossover comic between LEGO Alpha Team, LEGO Designer, LEGO World City, Knights' Kingdom, and Star Wars, the Prehistoric Creatures from LEGO Designer appear in the other themes as the result of time portals created by Evil Ogel's tampering with time.
    • According to the online game Dino Outbreak, the dinosaurs in LEGO Dino appear in present day as the result of Dr. Sam Flash accidentally opening a time portal gate and letting them through.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Zombies: Zombie T-Rex is one of the enemies Barry encounters after traveling to the prehistoric era. The same dinosaur became a recurring character in later Barry Steakfries games, implied to have been brought to the present.
  • Air Marty: One of the 64 possible endings is Marty ending up in the age of the dinosaurs after accidentally ripping a hole in spacetime, greeting a T. rex upon arrival. Flash Forward back to the present day, revealing that he changed the future and now everyone is a T. rex.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: In the first Soviet mission in the expansion pack, you can bring a T. rex into the present day. It is named 'Rexy' by the way.
  • Dino Crisis: The dinosaurs in the original game came from Time Travel, which was caused by a Third Energy Reactor overloading.
  • Dinosaur Safari: In the National Chronographic Society's Chronosphere it is the job of the player to document dinosaurs and other extinct reptiles while traveling throughout the Mesozoic era.
  • Exo Primal: Earth is besieged by the threat of interdimensional vortexes; portals across time and space which unleash savage dinosaurs from the past to wreak havoc on the modern world.
  • Injustice 2, The Flash's super move involves him grabbing his opponent and using his Super-Speed to warp them across time and space to slam them into various objects, one of which is a T. rex in its native time period.
  • Mortal Kombat 11: The game's Final Boss, Time Master Kronika, sends the arena backwards in time as the fight progresses. The second phase takes place in the Prehistoric Age arena, where dinosaurs roam, and she is able to control one and make it attack.
  • Primal Prey: You are a hunter who goes back in time to hunt dinosaurs.


    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius:
    • Party At Neutrons: Sheen went back in time to get Harry Houdini to do magic tricks at Jimmy's party; however, he mistook a velociraptor for him instead.
    • Sorry Wrong Era: Hugh accidentally sends Jimmy, Carl, and Sheen back to the Late Cretaceous Era with Jimmy's new remote. Naturally taking place in the Cretaceous dinosaurs and other affiliated animals like pterosaurs appear.
    • The League of Villains: During the series Jimmy and his friends end up in the Cretaceous era and get attacked by a T. rex, thankfully the Space Bandits, after having a Heel–Face Turn, manage to talk it out of attacking them.
  • Dino-Riders: In an effort to escape an evil race called the Rulons, the peaceful Valorians use Time Travel to escape them. Unfortunately for the Valorians, a Rulon ship gets dragged with them and they end up on prehistoric Earth. Both sides make use of dinosaurs (Hence the name.) and later on other prehistoric creatures by arming them.
  • Dinosaur Train: The series is about a train run by dinosaurs that time-travels throughout the Mesozoic via wormholes. The main characters have ventured into other eras twice: in the episode "Back in Time", they go to the Permian and meet a Dimetrodon; and in the Grand Finale "Father's Day", they go to the Pleistocene ice age.
  • DuckTales: Both the original series and the reboot feature Tootsie the Triceratops who appears due to Time Travel, though her characterization in each differs greatly.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In the episode "The Big Bash" Cosmo, Timmy, and Wanda go back in time to collect a dinosaur egg for Cupid's party scavenger hunt and almost get attacked by a dinosaur.
  • Inspector Gadget: In the episode "Tyrannosaurus Gadget", Dr. Claw has Thelma Botkin use a Time Machine to catch some dinosaurs and use them to get rid of one of Gadget's ancestors and to destroy Metro City.
  • Justice League Unlimited: In the season finale episode, "Time Warped", the villain Chronos nearly destroys the timeline, causing among other things a prehistoric mastodon to appear in the Batman Beyond time period. He also gets annoyed at one of his minions and banishes him to the Cretaceous where he chases off a Tyrannosaurus... seconds before the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs impacts.
  • Martha Speaks: In "Bulldozer vs. Dinosaur", the kids have a Hypothetical Fight Debate over whether a bulldozer or a dinosaur would win. T.D. decides that the only way to find out is to have it happen in real life, so he borrows his father's Time Machine and brings back a T. rex named Susan. Subverted as the vast majority of the episode turned out to be in his head.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: The episode "A Christmas Peril" has the time-travelling Cavendish and Dakota bringing dinosaurs to a Christmas party they're attending in an attempt to prevent themselves from getting into an argument that ruins their friendship.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "It's About Time!", Phineas and Ferb (and unwittingly, Candace) travel to the Mezozoic Era using the time machine at the museum. Later, Isabella and the Fireside Girls build another time machine to bring Phineas, Ferb, and Candace back to present day, but not without an unwanted guest - a ferocious T. rex. Luckily, the Freeze-inator turns the dinosaur into an inanimate statue.
  • Sheep in the Big City: When General Specific and Private Public tried to follow Sheep through the use of a time machine, they end up in prehistoric times in front of a T-Rex that resembled General Specific; but not before seeing a sign that read, "Welcome to the most clichéd time portal of all!"
  • SWAT Kats: In the episode "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice", the Pastmaster summons a Megasaurus rex and pterodactyls from the past.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In "A Ditch in Time", Plucky invents a time machine to travel back in time and do his homework ahead of time, since he always waits until the last minute to do his homework. When he tests the time machine out, he travels back to prehistoric times. When he travels back to ACME Acres in the present day, he accidentally takes Dizzy Devil's dinosaur ancestor with him. Dizzy's dinosaur ancestor terrorizes ACME Acres until Elmyra Duff terrorizes him, at which point he begs for Plucky to take him back to his home time period.