25 Myths About Dinosaurs You Might Need To Stop Believing

Posted by , Updated on December 22, 2015


Dinosaurs are some of our favorite creatures to have ever ruled the Earth. Hulking beasts at the top of the food chain whose carnivorous tastes led them to eat whatever was in sight, right? Well, all three of the statements in the last sentence are not completely true. Dinosaurs were an incredibly diverse species that spanned many millions of years – far far longer than we’ve been on Earth. The most popular dinosaur movie so far – Jurassic Park – may be entertaining, but most of what it presents on dinos is inaccurate. (Even the name is wrong – its dinosaurs didn’t even live in Jurassic times!) Calling out falsehoods from Hollywood magic to outdated textbooks myths, this list is full of the facts when it comes to dinosaurs, not the commonly held myths and misconceptions regarding the massive creatures. Have you heard that dinosaurs were slow and stupid? (They weren’t.) What about that dinosaurs were all wiped out by an asteroid impact? (Not entirely true.) Whether you’re an amateur paleontologist or just grew up watching “The Flintstones”, there’s sure to be a dinosaur myth on this list you haven’t heard of yet. Read on to find out if you believe any of these 25 myths about dinosaurs you might need to stop believing.

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Some dinosaurs couldn't carry their own weight

sauropodaSource: University of Alberta, Image: Wikipedia

Massive sauropods which did exist (in contrast to the fake Brontosaurus from #11) included the Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus. Some juvenile assumptions purported that such heavy creatures – weighing 36,156 pounds (16,400 kg) and up to 124,120 pounds (56,300 kg), respectively – could not carry their own body weight and had to maneuver in shallow water. These early assumptions have been disproven by findings of the sauropods’ well-developed and muscular bodies. (For context, the highest assumption for a Brachiosaurus’ weight is equal to over eight full-grown African elephants.)


Mammals and dinosaurs lived in different times

Repenomamus eating small dinosaurSource: Smithsonian, Image: Wikipedia

Both mammals and dinosaurs came onto the scene during the Late Triassic Period, starting about 237 million years ago. And, contrary to some thoughts, mammals did not eat dinosaur eggs en masse to threaten their extinction.


Dinosaurs were slow creatures

Zalmoxes_dinosaurSource: University of Alberta, Image: Wikipedia

A common dinosaur myth is that the creatures were slow-moving and dragged their tails on the ground. In fact, most dinosaurs were athletic animals and even quite nimble!


Oil comes from dinosaurs

dead dinosaurSource: Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Image: Joseph Lee Novak via Flickr

Here’s another dinosaur misconception! Some people think when a dinosaur died naturally or in a landslide (or other natural disaster), it was covered in sediment and turned to oil over many millions of years. The fact is that dino flesh would have rapidly decayed or been scavenged way before it could have been converted.


Dinosaurs are all extinct

Dino_bird_comparisonSource: Smithsonian, Image: Wikipedia

Well, not exactly. Whereas all the T-Rexs’ and sauropods have long been buried, one of eight major dinosaur groups – theropods – survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event and one of the over 40 subgroups of theropods evolved into many birds we know today.

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