Movies often depict dinosaurs as the main monsters or villains that the heroes need to stop. The plotline is entertaining to many of us but not necessarily the most realistic. Dinosaurs weren’t inherently bad, nor were they colorless. Not to mention, some movies get dinosaur group dynamics downright wrong. Learn about how accurate big-screen depictions of dinosaurs are and the glaring issues in many films.
Are the Movies Accurate?
Talking about movies in general is quite broad. Scientific films such as documentaries often depict proper knowledge of the beasts. Therefore, these movies can be helpful learning tools.
However, Hollywood films are another story since many are solely for entertainment. Films such as Jurassic Park or The Land Before Time are nostalgic but present inaccurate dinosaurs. The massive velociraptors in Jurassic World are a perfect example of this—in truth, these theropods were only about 1.5 feet tall.
Common Issues on the Big Screen
By now, you probably have an idea of how accurate big-screen depictions of dinosaurs are—not that accurate. Despite some factual representation, misinformation abounds on the big screen. Here are some inaccuracies about dinosaurs that are common in movies:
- They were mean
- They were colorless and scaly
- They lived in groups
- They roared loudly
Below, we go into more detail on each of these errors and explore the truth about these beasts.
Dinosaurs Were Mean
Many Hollywood movies depict dinosaurs as bloodthirsty monsters with a vendetta against the main characters. The problem is dinosaurs weren’t exactly like this. Although some beasts were ferocious—such as the T. rex, Allosaurus, and Utahraptor—that doesn’t mean they were good or evil. Like many of the apex predators we see today, dinosaurs were simply massive animals trying to eat and survive.
Dinosaurs Were Colorless and Scaly
Most entertainment films depict dinosaurs with skin similar to the reptiles we see today with gray, brown, or green scales. However, in real life, dinosaurs came in a wide range of vibrant colors! Some species, such as the Saurornitholestes sullivani, were vibrant shades of blue and yellow.
Moreover, many theropods had feathers like their modern relatives: birds. Many scientists theorize that various dinosaurs had feathers to help them keep warm.
Dinosaurs Lived in Groups
Although some dinosaurs lived or traveled in groups with their respective species, this wasn’t the case for every dinosaur. It’s most likely that some herbivores lived in packs, as this provided protection. However, predators like the T. rex and Velociraptor probably never lived together, let alone teamed up.
Dinosaurs Roared Loudly
Nearly every dinosaur movie has scenes in which the prehistoric reptiles let out a roar so loud the earth shakes. While scientists are still making discoveries about the sounds these animals made, many theorize that dinosaurs, especially theropods, didn’t roar. It’s far more likely that these beasts made grunting sounds or cooed to communicate.
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