25 June 2010
What is the Best Dinosaur?
Posted by Ryan Anderson
This is the funniest, most well-informed rant about dinosaurs I have ever witnessed (warning, NSFW language). I was a dinosaur freak as a kid, and I still remember a ridiculous amount about them. Can I just say how much I loved watching him shoot down people who thought plesiosaurs and pterodactlys were dinosaurs? Everything he says is correct except for one thing: Brontosaurus was (I believe) either a diplodocus head or a model of a head (no skull was ever found) on an apatosaurus body.
His rant about raptors is almost correct, but the velociraptors in the movie are actually a bit smaller than the real-world Utahraptor, which he mentions in passing. Deinonychus was about 4 feet tall, and was awesome until Jurassic Park came along. And yes, the real Velociraptor was about the size of a goose. Around the same time as the movie, a novel called Raptor Red came out, about a Utahraptor. I loved that book. It was written by a paleontologist (Robert Bakker), and brought the cretaceous to life for me.
Anyway, my vote for best dinosaur is the Utahraptor. Intelligent, social, fast and strong, and the real inspiration for the “velociraptors” in popular culture. Also? Probably warm-blooded, had feathers, and is closely related to birds.
What’s your favorite dinosaur?
Thanks for clearing this up. As the father of a dinosaur freak, I need to stay on top of these arguments. 🙂
(His favorite is triceratops, with maiasaura a close second, no matter what anyone says.)
I think I would have picked pteradons, except they are not dinosaurs! I think I will go with microraptor. The dinosaur/bird connection is super-compelling with those feisty little guys!
Oh oh oh wait – also ANKYLOSAURUS.
The stegosaurus may be insanely stupid, but I always felt terrible for it in Fantasia as a kid. In college, I learned in my heat transfer class about the theory that its distinctive fins may have functioned as a heat sink and thought that was pretty cool. I guess evolutionarily speaking, the best dinosaur would be the one with living descendants. 😉
OK I like the ones with the big horns on their heads that honk noises which echo in their skulls.
Ah the ever-difficult-to-pronounce parasaurolophus.
I’m pretty sure the Stegosaurus hind-brain thing is no longer the consensus view…
also, the “ankylos” part of “ankylosaurus” is obviously Greek, not Latin.
But otherwise, pretty well informed.
I think the ceratopsian dissing bit failed to take into account that a herd of them would be a lot less vulnerable than one by itself, and probably at a lower metabolic cost than carrying around as much armor as an Ankylosaurus all the time.
Also, the problem with Spinosaurus is that the extant fossil remains are so fragmentary compared with (for example) Tyrannosaurus, so no one really has that great an idea what it looked like. Here’s hoping for some new discoveries!
Yeah, his knock-downs of the herbivores were actually pretty weak.
With all the recent discoveries and new thinking on dinos, I’d have to agree that the Utahraptor was probably at the high-end on the design scale.
Like you, though, I was a huge dinosaur buff as a child, and my absolute love of the styracosaur still holds. I just don’t think there was anything cooler looking than those.