Top 10 Prehistoric Creatures that Influenced our Popular Culture

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Image courtesy: funny-pictures.picphotos.net

Why did the dinosaur cross the road? Because chickens weren’t around.

Dinosaurs have been very popular in our culture where our media has presented them as creatures from hundreds of millions of years ago, rendered extinct by some unknown force. Some say from the Ice Age, some say a meteor, and some say (heaven forfend) evolution. Some state that they weren’t included in Noah’s ark and some posit that some of these creatures are existing even in today’s times. The bottom line is, we don’t know for certain, and that’s all right.

Dinosaurs were popularized once paleontology introduced dinosaur bones and fossils, with skeletons being featured at museums worldwide. This and cave carvings have driven many religious leaders crazy since this was something they didn’t anticipate.

That said, here is my personal list of the top 10 dinosaurs that “made it” into popular culture in terms of books, movies, and food.

10. Brontosaurus

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Image courtesy: storiented.blogspot.com

Now known as the Apatosaurus as the Brontosaurus never really existed (formally renamed in 1974),  the Brontosaurus had its own Brontosaurus burger,

The Brontosaurus was featured in Winsor McKay’s 1914 classic Gertie the Dinosaur, the silent film The Lost World (1925) in a battle between a Brontosaurus and an Allosaurus, Jurassic Park, and in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in 1997, where George Lucas Steven Spielberg added some large, long-necked animals based on the Brontosaurus/Brachiosaurus from the earlier film Jurassic Park which he also directed.

9. Triceratops

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Image courtesy: enlamarserena.wordpress.com

Taken from Land Before Time:

[Triperatops] also been featured in three major dinosaur documentaries: Walking with DinosaursThe Truth About Killer Dinosaurs andPrehistoric Park. They are famously known as “three-horns” (and are so named in The Land Before Time animated film and its numerous sequels) due to the three prominent horns on their head and nose, which have become almost synonymous with the dinosaurs. The shorthand “Trike” is another common informal name, and is also the name of the Triceratops character in the children’s book series and television cartoonseries Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs. The character “Baby Bop” from Barney & Friends is another example of a Triceratops in popular media.

8. Pterodactyl (Pterosaur)

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Image of a Pteranodon. Image courtesy: www.cancan.ro

A winged fearsome creature, the Pterodactyl (pterosaur) had its own movie in 2005. It also was seen in the movie Evolution, as well as numerous children’s books and cartoons.

7. Woolly mammoth

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Image courtesy: screenshot of Ice Age the movie

The Woolly Mammoth, the ancestor to the Elephant, was most famously featured in Ice Age. It also has appeared in many children’s books on dinosaurs.

 

6. Stegosaurus

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Image courtesy: phenomena.nationalgeographic.com

The Stegosaurus was featured in many dinosaur movies, notably the original King Kong. In fact, it was one of three dinosaur models used to mold the famous GodZilla. Part of the reason the Stegosaurus is popular is because it famously has the smallest brain proportionate to its body size of any animal ever, which is what most people can relate to 🙂

5. Velociraptor

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Image courtesy: theoatmeal.com

This dinosaur was featured in Jurassic Park. It also was featured on the popular internet comic site The Oatmeal.

 

4. Giganotosaurus

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Image courtesy: mrogers.wikispaces.com

This bad boy was bigger than the T-rex and has recently gained popularity in pop culture.  Giganotosaurus appears  in the IMAX movie Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia where Dr. Rodolfo Coria shows the sites of major discoveries in Argentina.

 

3. Brachiosaurus

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Image courtesy: dinosaurfact.net

This dinosaur made it big as a candy known as Brachs. It also appeared in Jurassic Park.

 

2. Spinosaurus

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Image courtesy: wallpaperpanda.com

The Spinosaurus is not as known as the T-Rex, but was arguably deadlier. It gained its fame in Jurassic Park.

1. Tyrannosaurus Rex

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Image courtesy: www.walkingwithdinosaurs.com

Affectionally known as the T-Rex, this big-mouth, small-arms dinosaur has been featured in more movies, cartoons and comics than we can count. My personal favorite was the Super Mario Bros. movie where Koopa evolved from “The Tyrannosaurus Rex, the lizard king thank you very much.” Would you have guessed differently?

  • Rabbi Joseph Kolakowski

    Gertie the Dinosaur was billed as a Dinosaurus – I think perhaps she was inspired by a skeleton of a Diplodocus