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 Calling out falsehoods from Hollywood magic to outdated textbooks myths, this list is full of the facts when it comes to dinosaurs, not the commonly held myths and misconceptions regarding the massive creatures.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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Dinosaurs were all huge creatures

EpidexipteryxSource: Dr. Dave Hone via The Guardian, Image: Wikimedia

Though the dinosaurs which make it onto the silver screen and capture our attention are generally the larger, terrifying beasts, plenty of dinosaurs were quite small. Some of the smallest dinosaurs paleontologists have identified weighed only a half-pound (200 g). One such example, Epidexipteryx, weighed about 5.8 ounces (164 g) and was about the size of an adult human foot.


Dinosaurs were poor swimmers

SeeleysaurusSource: University of Alberta, Image: Wikipedia

Many people think dinosaurs which roamed the lands were too big and cumbersome to be good swimmers, but an international team of researchers have found evidence in China of nimble two-legged dinosaurs swimming in rivers.


T-Rex arms were useless

Feathered_Tyrannosaurus_modelSource: University of Alberta, Image: Wikipedia

Looking at the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, it seems like a creature which only focused on squats at the gym and always forgot arm day, right? This is another dinosaur myth! Though their arms weren’t as terrifying as their massive jaws, each T-Rex arm could have handled objects and animals up to a few hundreds of pounds with ease.


Jurassic Park dinosaurs are from the Jurassic period

Jurassic_Park,_USSource: Smithsonian, Image: Wikimedia

“Jurassic Park” is without-question one of the most popular dinosaur films ever made. But even its name is wrong. The popular dinos from the film – including the T-Rex, Triceratops, and Velociraptor – didn’t even live in the Jurassic Period (201.3-145 million years ago). They were all terrors of the Cretaceous period immediately following the Jurassic period.


Dinosaur means "terrible lizard"

velociraptor screamSource: Smithsonian, Image: spencer77 via Flickr

First off, dinosaurs aren’t lizards, they’re reptiles. Secondly, the Greek word “deinos” – which paleontologist Richard Owen used in naming dinosaurs in 1842 – means “fearfully great.” Simplifications over time have reduced it to “terrible”.

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