For many kids, a love of dinosaurs is their first taste of learning about nature, science, and history. Dinosaurs seem like the perfect link between the fantastic and mythical world of dragons, unicorns, and the Griffin, with the added bonus of having really existed. They are one of the most fun things to visit at the museum, and they have some pretty notable movie franchises dedicated to them.
As much as we love the world famous “Terrible Lizards”, there’s a lot that we don’t know about them. Some of this is because we didn’t pursue our childhood dreams of becoming a paleontologist, since most of us paused our prehistoric learning by the time we hit 10-years-old. Perhaps this is directly linked to David Schwimmer’s portrayal of Ross Gellar, who made the potential career path of paleontology an uncool career option for an entire generation.
Odds are, most of us are very wrong when it comes to our dino IQ. Perhaps it’s the school system failing us? Maybe it’s because of outdated research, or perhaps our grasp of reality is lacking. Some of what people don’t know is understandable, while there are others who should probably pick up a book once in a while, particularly anyone who believes that Jurassic Park is a documentary about dinosaurs. Get ready to climb up on your high horse, here are 15 ridiculous things that people really believe about dinosaurs.
15. Jurassic Park Could Happen
Author Michael Crichton was the author and creator of Jurassic Park, and although he paints a very convincing explanation about how dinosaurs were brought back from extinction it’s just fantasy, no matter how many people think that it’s possible. In fact, Crichton’s background was as a lawyer, not a paleontologist or genetic scientist, despite how accurate his description of how they brought the dinos back might seem. It doesn’t matter how much research he completed on dinosaurs when creating his famous work, it’s simply not real, and is impossible. DNA is a very fragile molecule, and this means that it becomes completely unusable very soon after an animal dies. A creature that died somewhere between 200-250 million years ago has reached its expiration date in terms of DNA usability.
14. Dinosaurs & Humans Lived At The Same Time
A survey that went out a few years ago revealed that around one-third of Texans believed that humans and dinosaurs were alive at the same time, but don’t get too harsh on the Texans for their misinformation. The National Science Literacy Survey of 2013 also showed that over 25 percent of Australians believed the exact same thing. Professor Field doesn’t blame Creationists for these results, he blames popular culture saying, “This is probably the legacy of Jurassic Park and TV shows like Terranova which portray humans running alongside dinosaurs and use great special effects, which really makes it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.” Maybe some of the survey respondents were just kidding. Let’s cross our fingers that they don’t think that Fred Flintstone really had a giant dino that he rode to help him in his construction job.
13. God Put Dino Bones Out To Test Faith
Creationists are more common than you might think. Turns out a rather large number of residents of the United States believe that God created the earth thousands of years ago, around 42 percent to be exact, even though creationism is not a theory supported by most mainstream Christian churches. While Creationists don’t believe in evolution and what science says about the real age of the earth, they do have theories about why and how dinosaur bones and fossils arrived here on earth. Part of their explanation of why humans have discovered dinosaur bones is that it’s that trickster, God, who placed the fossils as a way to test faith. A creationist museum has even argued that Tyrannosaurus Rex was a vegetarian until Adam and Eve decided to eat that forbidden fruit.
12. Dinos Died Because Of All The Gas… From Their Farts
Dinosaurs are pretty big celebrities in the extinct creature world, so can we blame some publications for wanting to jump on board any breaking wind of a good dino story. In what appears to be a game of broken telephone, a number of news sites reported that dinosaurs produced so much gas that they farted themselves to extinction. This claim came after paleontologist David Wilkinson and his colleagues attempted to calculate exactly how much gas the long-necked sauropod dinosaurs were capable of creating. The researchers hypothesized that the total yearly amount of methane gas that would have been produced would have been more than enough to impact the earth’s climate. This is where the giant gaseous leap was taken by news outlets who reported that dino farts were deadly, even though the scientists made no claim of this being the cause of the end of the dinosaur.
11. Aliens Destroyed The Dinosaurs
This is a theory that has been disproved, no matter what Fox Mulder has to say about how, “The truth is out there”. A number of people with vivid imaginations have suggested science fiction based scenarios where aliens destroyed the dinosaurs. Recently a program called Ancient Aliens featured a complete episode on the theory that the dinosaurs were destroyed by extraterrestrial life. The program utilized theories from creationists to help prove their point on how aliens terminated the dinosaurs so there would be room for humanity on earth. Scientists adamantly confirm that there is zero evidence of alien involvement in any fossil records, and that the only time aliens have faced off against Godzilla-like creatures on earth has been because of the imagination of humans sharing this in movies, TV, and comics.
10. Dinosaurs Aren’t Really Lizards
Here are the basics: Even though the word dinosaur literally means “terrible lizard”, dinosaurs are not actually lizards. They are their own category of animal. But what about pterodactyls, you ask? They weren’t actually dinosaurs, they were just flying reptiles that lived during the age of dinosaurs. But they never fell into the same category. This explains another dinosaur lie; dinosaurs didn’t hate the cold as much as we’re led to believe. Researchers from the University of Alberta found evidence in 2011 that dinosaurs survived and may have even thrived in the South Pole. In recovering evidence of up to three different species of dinosaurs it became clear that there was an ability to live in colder climates, even though the area was warmer in the prehistoric time than it is today.
9. T-Rex’s Arms Are Jacked
T-Rex’s arms appear comically disproportionate in comparison to the rest of their hulking and intimidating bodies. It seems like a cruel joke of nature, and millions of years since their extinction it has been a source of some pretty fantastic cartoons and memes. For years paleontologists have wracked their brains to find out why these beasts had teeny tiny arms. These arms, although small in comparison to the rest of the T-Rex physique were strong and capable. They would have been able to bench press about 400 pounds each, so how much can you lift bro? That being said, scientists have begun to believe that the small arms are a result of an evolutionary delay where the head and teeth became bigger as the T-Rex’s number one weapon, while the arms got left behind in growth, evolutionary speaking.
8. Donald Trump’s Son Killed A Triceratops
No matter what you think about POTUS Donald Trump and his family, we hope that there is some awareness that they don’t have access to a time machine that will allow them to go back to prehistoric times to hunt dinosaurs. When video agitator Mark Dice went out to look for liberal lunacy, he found a T-Rex sized pile of it, which he happily shared with the world. Dice stopped a number of strangers near a beach and asked people about their thoughts on a tasteless hunting expedition Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. went on in Africa where they were hunting triceratops, sabre-toothed tigers, and woolly mammoths. People were outraged that these “rich kids” think they can get away with anything, which apparently also includes breaking the time/space continuum by hunting creatures that no longer exist.
7. All Mammals Were Scared Of Dinos
Looking back at prehistoric times, there is the assumption that dinosaurs were the kings and queens of the jungle with all other mammals submitting as prey, and weren’t able to mature beyond small rat creatures until after dinosaurs disappeared. Not all mammals were terrorized by the terrible lizards. It is true that mammals claimed higher spots on the food chain social ladder once dinosaurs were gonzo, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t bite back when co-existing with dinosaurs. A mammal called repenomamus was a three-foot long carnivore, that vaguely resembled a modern day badger. It was recovered by paleontologists with the remains of a baby dinosaur inside its stomach. It’s believed that this creature successfully challenged smaller adult dinosaurs. Other early mammals known as multituberculates found their meals by scavenging for dinosaur corpses.
6. Butt Brained Dinosaurs
This is one that most of us were taught in school, but it’s just not true! World renowned paleontologist Othneil Charles Marsh had a theory that the stegosaurus and camarasaurus both had two brains, one in their head and the other in their buttocks. Part of the reason behind this was the small head that he deemed to be incapable of being large enough to house a brain that could control such a mammoth creature. The other reason was that he discovered a neural opening near the bottom of their spines and took the giant leap towards brain power, which was believed to control the legs, tail, and lower body. Today we don’t know exactly what was inside the neural opening, but we are confident that it wasn’t a bum brain.
5. Dinosaurs Died Because They Went Blind
When was the last time your eyes were tested? Your eyesight could be a life or death situation according to ophthalmologist L.R. Croft, who had a theory that what caused the dinosaurs to fade away into history was bad eyes from sun exposure. Because heat exposure can make cataracts progress quickly, Croft theorized that dinosaurs formed their own style of Ray Bans; horns and crests to protect their prehistoric peepers. But apparently these adaptations weren’t enough to shade their eyes, causing them to go blind before they were old enough to procreate Jurassic style. One of the many holes in this theory is that it doesn’t explain the extinction of other species of dinosaurs, like the ones who fly, or don’t have horns and spikes to “protect their eyes”.
4. Dinosaurs Were All Green Or Brown With Scales
This one is not the fault of the general public, but for whatever reason, the majority of all early depictions of dinosaurs feature them with boring shades of green and brown scaled skin. The truth is that until fairly recently no one knew how to find out what colour a dinosaur really was from their fossil records. But that doesn’t explain why they were given such a boring colour palette, when they could really be orange, red, or white. Another thought is that all dinosaurs have scaly skin, when a great number of them also had feathers. A fairly contemporary scientist led an examination of dinosaur feathers that were preserved in fossils. This has revealed traces of melanin that show that dinosaurs had stripes and spots, and a bright rainbow of colours.
3. Dinos Didn’t Exist, But Mermaids Might
Just because you’re a famous athlete doesn’t mean you have a solid grip on reality. St. Louis Rams defensive end Williams Hayes believes that prehistoric dinosaurs are a massive bamboozle, and it was really a group of conspiring archaeologists who mass-produced dinosaur bones and then buried them underground. He told ESPN, “No, I don’t believe dinosaurs existed, not even a little bit. With these bones, it’s crazy because man has never seen a dinosaur, we can agree on that, right? But we know exactly how to put these bones together?” Apparently these thoughts on the existence of dinosaurs has been a longstanding disagreement between Hayes and his teammate Chris Long, who is on “Team Dinosaurs Really Existed”. Hayes also added, “I believe there is more of a chance you will find a mermaid than you will a dinosaur because we find different species in the water all the time.” Way to “science” Hayes.
2. Dinosaurs Were Ferocious Carnivores
When we think about dinos we think about wild carnivorous beasts looking to feed on flesh like some kind of bent prehistoric reptilian vampire. The truth is, most dinosaurs spent their time eating a lot of plants and far less flesh. While there are some exceptions, like the infamous T-Rex and Velociraptor, most dinosaurs were vegetarians. Recent research has revealed that many theropod dinosaurs (ones that have bird-like features) had a preference for eating grass and leaves, not flesh. This is contradictory to most theories about a primarily predatory dinosaur existence. Some theorize that theropods developed an omnivorous diet with plants and animals to help them survive in new habitats as an evolutionary response when Pangea began to separate into continents. This means that they’d lose their taste for meat, and they would develop beaks and longer necks to help them get better access to vegetation.
1. The Brontosaurus Might Have Been A Hoax
Many of us grew up with our favourite dinosaur being the brontosaurus, Greek for thunder lizard, and known for its mass size, long neck, and epic tail. Then in the 1980s this name disappeared from scientific books and museum plaques. This had to do with a competition between two of America’s most famous paleontologists, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, who fought dirty over digging rights to dino bones, entering a competition to see who could discover the highest number of dinosaurs. In the rush to outdo each other two different species of dinosaurs, Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were named. They were later determined to be too similar and closely related for both to keep their status, and the Brontosaurus was stripped of its name. A study conducted in 2015 found that there may be enough different features for the Bronto Beast to reclaim his name. Pluto still isn’t a planet, just in case you were wondering.