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Tropesaurus Index

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For dinosaurs, dinosaur-related, and other prehistoric tropes and Useful Notes. Despite the name, this index also covers non-dinosaurian prehistoric/extinct life. See also Avian Tropes, for the dinosaurs' descendants.


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    Prehistory in General 
  • Age of Reptiles: When even a Constructed World has an age ruled by dinosaurs and/or other reptilian creatures that later gave way to a modern age of mammals.
  • All Flyers Are Birds: Pterosaurs (and other flying animals like bats) are often given bird-like characteristics, regardless of how much they actually have in common with birds.
  • Anachronism Stew: A very common case when coping with prehistoric or extinct life, ex. cavemen interacting with nonbird dinosaurs.
  • Artistic License Paleontology: Unrealistic or inaccurate depictions of prehistoric life.
  • Behemoth Battle: Giant prehistoric animals are often seen battling each other.
  • Dinosaur Doggie Bone: Dogs chewing on fossilized bones the way they would on regular bones.
  • Extinct Animal Park: A zoo or park hosting restored extinct wildlife.
  • Fossil Revival: Fossilized creatures being brought back to life.
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: The explosive power of the celestial body that hit the Earth at the end of the Cretaceous killing the last dinosaurs is often measured in billions of Hiroshima bombs.
  • Hollywood Prehistory: Generalized prehistoric setting melding together creatures from wildly different time periods, chiefly dinosaurs, cavemen and mammoths.
  • Jurassic Farce: Parodies of Jurassic Park, one of the most influential works featuring dinosaurs.
  • Lost World: A hidden, often secret location where people and creatures long gone from the outside world still survive.
  • Medieval Prehistory: Prehistoric life in a vaguely medieval setting.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Dinosaurs or other extinct creatures are often misplaced in fiction, ex. the North American Tyrannosaurus rex living alongside (or fighting) with the African Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.
  • Perilous Prehistoric Seas: The seas and oceans of the prehistoric era are dangerous to be traversing or living in.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: Ascribing the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs to a variety of eclectic causes.
  • Prehistoria: Video game levels themed around dinosaurs and prehistory.
  • Prehistoric Animal Analogue: Using extinct animals as source for designs for fictional creatures.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Extinct creatures depicted as scary and violent brutes rather than looking and behaving like natural present-day animals.
  • Primate Versus Reptile: A giant primate and a giant reptile, often something dinosaurian, fight King Kong-style.
  • Science Marches On: An extremely common trope when coping with prehistoric life, heavily influencing the popular portrayals of extinct creatures.
  • Undead Fossils: When the remains of prehistoric animals start moving on their own.

    Dinosaurs & Relatives 
  • Alternate-History Dinosaur Survival: A hypothetical take on what if the dinosaurs never became extinct and continued to evolve beyond the Cretaceous Period.
  • Aquatic Hadrosaurs: The outdated depiction of hadrosaur dinosaurs ("duckbills") as semi-aquatic creatures.
  • Aquatic Sauropods: The outdated depiction of sauropod dinosaurs, such as Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, as primarily water-dwelling animals.
  • Awe-Inspiring Dinosaur Shot: Dinosaurs are shown or depicted as majestic creatures and their world as fantastical through a cutscene. Often used as an Establishing Series Moment.
  • The Cretaceous Is Always Doomed: When the Cretaceous period is featured in a work, it will always be immediately before the famous meteorite hits the Earth and sets off the mass extinction. Can also refer to other historical events like how arriving in Europe in 1939 always seems to mean getting caught in the start of World War 2.
  • Dinosaur Media: Index of media focusing on dinosaurs and prehistoric life.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Dinosaurs and dragons tend to be treated as the same thing or to borrow traits from one another.
  • The Dinosaurs Had It Coming: The dinosaurs brought their extinction on themselves.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: Dinosaurs kept as domesticated animals for various purposes.
  • Doofy Dodo: Dodos (not prehistoric but extinct a few centuries ago) are often portrayed as goofy and harmless.
  • Dumb Dinos: Dinosaurs are often portrayed as very stupid, slow, and overly aggressive.
  • Feathered Fiend: Just because something is covered in fluffy feathers (whether it's a giant bird or a non-avian theropod), it can still be terrifying!
  • Gentle Giant Sauropod: The generic depiction of the giant long-necked dinosaurs being docile and friendly animals.
  • Goofy Feathered Dinosaur: Feathered dinosaurs portrayed as comedic and non-threatening.
  • Headbutting Pachy: The portrayal of pachycephalosaur dinosaurs (Pachycephalosaurus and its kin) headbutting things.
  • Kids Love Dinosaurs: There's something fascinating about dinosaurs in the eyes of children.
  • Living Dinosaurs: Surviving non-avian dinosaurs found living somewhere remote.
  • Mokele-Mbembe: An aquatic dinosaur said to live deep within isolated jungles.
  • Notzilla: When a Kaiju is based on the very theropod-like Godzilla.
  • Raptor Attack: Unrealistic or inaccurate portrayals of dromeosaurid dinosaurs (dinosaurs like Deinonychus and Velociraptor).
  • Savage Spinosaurs: Spinosaurids, such as Spinosaurus and Baryonyx, depicted as fearsome predators even deadlier than T. rex.
  • Slurpasaur: Real-life lizards with fake horns or fins glued on used as stand-ins for dinosaurs in old movies.
  • Social Ornithopod: The ornithopod dinosaurs (like the hadrosaurs and Iguanodon) are usually shown to be social animals that either live in herds, groups and/or are placid in nature.
  • Spinosaurus Versus T. rex: Whenever a Spinosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus rex appear in the same work, they always have a fight.
  • Stock Dinosaur Archetypes: the archetypal personalities stereotypically attributed to various species of dinosaurs.
  • Stock Ness Monster: Portrayals of the Loch-Ness Monster or similar things, implied to be surviving dinosaurs.
  • Temper-Ceratops: The ceratopsian dinosaurs (such as Triceratops) are described as being akin to bulls and rhinos; temperamental and aggressive by herbivore standards.
  • Terrifying Tyrannosaur: Tyrannosaurs (T. rex and its kin) portrayed terrifying and imposing.
  • Terror-dactyl: Portrayals of pterosaurs ("pterodactyls") as monstrous, often with traits from bats, dragons, or birds of prey.
  • Tough Armored Dinosaur: The thyreophoran dinosaurs, like Stegosaurus and ''Ankylosaurus, portrayed as warlike and resilient.
  • Toxic Dinosaur: Certain types of dinosaurs possess poison, either as a weapon or as a form of defense.
  • T. Rexpy: A fictional creature inspired by Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • Whateversaurus: A fictional prehistoric critter that didn't exist in reality, often with a stock suffix in its name.

    Other Prehistoric Life 
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Cavemen tend to be portrayed as knuckle-dragging, slow-witted brutes clad in skins and carrying clubs.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: While not exclusively about prehistory, giant arthropods were common in the Carboniferous and often show up in prehistoric-themed works or settings.
  • Contemporary Caveman: A caveman living in modern times for some reasons.
  • Dire Beast: Not an exclusively prehistoric trope, but many extinct animals are perceived as being bigger, scarier, and more monstrous versions of familiar modern animals, such as the dire wolf.
  • Frazetta Man: Prehistoric "humans" portrayed as vicious, stupid, hairy, and generally little more than somewhat upright apes.
  • Handsome Heroic Caveman: Prehistoric cavemen with a Nubile Savage appearance, usually The Hero in their stories.
  • Mammoths Mean Ice Age: Mammoths are the most common "face" or symbol of the Ice Age, and their presence is often used as a shorthand for it and associated concepts.
  • Meek Mesozoic Mammal: Early mammals are portrayed as timid and easy prey for dinosaurs.
  • Panthera Awesome: Smilodon, or "saber-toothed cats", portrayed as a simple ancient version of modern big cats. Predatory dinosaurs are also often given color schemes based on those of big cats.
  • Primitive Clubs: Primitive beings, such as cavemen, are often portrayed as wielding crude, simple clubs.
  • Snowy Sabertooths: Due to their close association with mammoths, saber-toothed cats (or fictional creatures analogous to them) are often portrayed as inhabiting cold, snowy environments year-round.

    Useful Notes 

Alternative Title(s): Dinosaur Tropes