Dinosaurs Don't Suck

Dinosaurs News   >   Dinosaurs Don't Suck


Dinosaurs Don't Suck

Posted: 24th August 2007

Almost everyday, one of things that I like to do is go to Google news and do a search for "dinosaur" to see what's going on in the world of dinosaurs, and everyday the same thing happens: half the stories aren't actually about dinosaurs.

The reason? The word "dinosaur" is used (I should say over used) as a synonym for out-of-date, obsolete, impractical, or sometimes ridiculously large. Here's a few examples that came up in today's google search: I could go on, but I think that's probably enough. Remember, I find lots articles like this every single day (and by the way, today is a slow today).

The question is why do journalists, or more particularly headline writers, love to use the word "dinosaur" in this sense? I suppose you could argue that kind of definition of "dinosaur" does actually appear in the dictionary [see definition 3], but let's face it: it's a cliche, and it doesn't reflect our modern knowledge about the nature of dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs were not impractical. Dinosaurs are not obsolete. And dinosaurs are not out of date. In short, they don't suck.

Here a few of the reasons why:
  1. Dinosaurs out competed our ancestors, the mammal-like-reptiles, which before them had been the dominant large land creatures.

  2. Dinosaurs out competed our later ancestors, the early mammals. During the age of dinosaurs, no large mammals were able to evolve - they surpressed mammalian evolution that completely. Only after non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out by bad luck (the famous asteroid impact), did mammals radiate into large body sizes.

  3. Dinosaurs dominated land environments for about 150 million years. Mammals have done so for a mere 65 million.

  4. Dinosaurs domination of land environments was more complete than mammals. During the age of dinosaurs, dinosaurs held on a monopoly on the large terrestrial predator niche. During the age of mammals, large terrestrial predators have not always been mammals: Phorusrhacidae (which I might point out is a branch of the dinosaur tree) did pretty well for 60 million years, Megalania, a 23 feet (7 meter) lizard did pretty well in Australia until just 40,000 years ago, and Pristichampus (a hoofed Crocodilian) was chasing down mammals in early Tertiary Europe and North America.

  5. Not all dinosaurs were huge. Yes, it's true that there were some gigantic species (bigger than any land mammal) like Brachiosaurus, but dinosaurs came in a range of sizes from the huge right down to chicken-size (e.g. Compsognathus).

  6. (Some) dinosaurs were fast (see previous article). Of course there were probably some slow-movers too, but people don't consider mammals to be generally slow animals just because of sloths.

  7. (Some) dinosaurs were smart, for example Troodon

  8. Dinosaurs had sophisticated feeding adaptions1: gizzard stones, cheeks, highly evolved teeth, and some species may even have had trunks.

  9. Dinosaurs were probably warm-blooded2: they appear to have been fast active creatures, they outcompeted warm-blooded mammals and the (probably warm-blooded) mammal-like-reptiles, the predator-prey ratios suggest warm-bloodedness, as do growth patterns in bones.

  10. Despite some assertions to the contrary, dinosaurs are still doing pretty well, arguably better than mammals. There are 5,400 species of mammals, but more than 10,000 species of birds, and birds are a branch of the dinosaur evolutionary tree. In modern cladistic systems of classification, birds are classified as a type of dinosaur.

1 There are some beatiful sketches of dinosaur teeth in "The Dinosaur Heresies" by Robert T. Bakker.

2 I'll refer you to "The Dinosaur Heresies" again.

Your Comments

Please feel free to comment on this page:


Linking to This Page

We do hope that you find this site useful. We welcome people linking to this website or citing us.

The URL of this web page, is:

If you want to link to this web page from your own web site, you can use the following HTML code:

      Dinosaurs News

News by Topic:
   Reprintable Articles
   Site News
   Theories & Research

RSS Feed


Dinosaur Coloring

Dinosaur Hangman

Dinosaur Jokes

Dinosaur Museums

Dinosaurs News

Dinosaurs Parks

Dinosaur Types

Science Downloads

Science eBooks

Educational Products

Education Downloads

School eBooks

Science eBooks

Science Project Downloads

Types of Dinosaurs








Tyrannosaurus rex

Note: Our company does NOT provide travel, vacation, hotel, car rental services or associated products or services. Any links (including but not limited to banners, text links, or search forms) to such items on this web site are adverts from third parties. Sorry we can NOT answer questions about these types of products or services.

All information about attractions, places of interest, travel destinations, travel services, etc., was believed to be correct at the time it was prepared, but may be change at any time. Readers are advised to check with their travel agent, travel provider, or the attraction operator, for current information.

Copyright © 2006-2019, Answers 2000 Limited

Disclosure: Our company's websites' content (including this website's content) includes advertisements for our own company's websites, products, and services, and for other organization's websites, products, and services. In the case of links to other organization's websites, our company may receive a payment, (1) if you purchase products or services, or (2) if you sign-up for third party offers, after following links from this website. Unless specifically otherwise stated, information about other organization's products and services, is based on information provided by that organization, the product/service vendor, and/or publicly available information - and should not be taken to mean that we have used the product/service in question. Additionally, our company's websites contain some adverts which we are paid to display, but whose content is not selected by us, such as Google AdSense ads. For more detailed information, please see Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures

Our sites use cookies, some of which may already be set on your computer. Use of our site constitutes consent for this. For details, please see Privacy.

Click privacy for information about our company's privacy, data collection and data retention policies, and your rights.

Contact Us   Privacy   Terms of Use   Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures

All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
All third party content and adverts are copyright of their respective owners.