We Don't Have To Call Everything A Dinosaur!

Discovery Channel's recent "Dinos of the Deep" debacle highlights a big gap in the general understanding of what it a dinosaur. This big gap is missing out on potentially fun and engaging learning!


  1. Dinosaurs get used as a "hook" for almost every subject that deals with natural history: any topic dealing with non-dinosaurs, "bringing back" extinct species. I get it: dinosaurs are fascinating and everyone has heard about them and can call up a mental image. However, when that dinosaur hook gets used incorrectly by big platform companies like Discovery, it undermines all of the scicomm paleontologists try to accomplish. It also detracts from the natural coolness of the non-dinosaur critters: you don't have to call an over 20m long ichthyosaur (marine reptile) a dinosaur to make it cool AF. So, I started something.
  2. Unfortunately, if it's big and dead, many people's minds are trained to think "dinosaur".
  3. To be a dinosaur is to be part of a really exclusive group (same as the other types of animals). In order to join Team Dinosaur, your skeleton needs to have a bunch of really picky features in your skull, arms, hips, legs, and ankles. Check out this Wikipedia link.
  4. One thing that I think confuses a lot of people is that dinosaurs are really diverse: there's a lot of different looking dinosaurs. Bipedal or quadrupedal, horns or spikes, teeth or beaks, all the different types of actual dinosaurs share these skeletal features.
  5. Other people expressed the frustration of ALWAYS having to do the "What is a dinosaur?" talk. Think about all of the cool things we could talk about if we didn't have to counter Discovery-esque Dinos of the Deep BS?
  6. That's right! BIRDS ARE DINOSAURS. Dinosaurs are still a hugely diverse group, they just don't look like the nekkid lizard-skinned animals we saw in Jurassic Park/World.
  7. In short, every bird you see, every bird that has ever existed, every bird that ever will exist is a dinosaur.
  8. This would be a big leap for these large scicomm platforms. They are stuck in the rut of depicting scaly-skinned animals as dinosaurs and have ignored the VAST diversity of dinosaurs that exist right now! Just think if they started referring to our modern birds as living dinosaurs! I decided to have some fun with this idea.
  9. Other people got in on the fun!