Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Call for Ideas!

Folks, there are plenty of animals that are not dinosaurs but are mistaken for them by children's books, adult books, the popular press, etc. In the comments section, post your favorite (or most obscure) examples of prehistoric animals that are NOT dinosaurs, but are mistaken for them. Dimetrodon, Pteranodon, etc...Ready....set...GO!

10 comments:

David L. G. Rice said...

I remember prehistoric mammals, like Woolly Mammoth being called "dinosaurs"...or maybe that was just my 6-year old brain?

lantaro said...

Big ass aardvarks! Big ass armadillos! Nessie! Shit, is pleezee-uh-saur (forgot how to spell it and panicked) a dinosaur?

tanystropheus said...

I'm going to have to say 'virtually every non-mammalian synapsid ever discovered,'megalania' (Varanus priscus), Tanystropheus, Postosuchus, Basilosaurus,and any crocodylian which doesn't vaguely resemble a modern alligator to the average observer.'

And to expand on David's comment: I once tested my patience by attempting to explain to a group of teenagers that animals which become extinct aren't automatically considered dinosaurs by the scientific community.

Nima said...

Lystrosaurus. Scutosaurus. Estemmenosuchus. And any of their relatives.

On top of that, Cynodonts, Gorgonopsians, and ANYTHING with one pair of jaw muscle holes...

Also, Ornithosuchus and Teratosaurus are NOT dinosaurs, although it was LONG ago thought that they were. Same with Postosuchus and Saurosuchus. And Erythrosuchus and the Aetosaurs and practically ALL other crurotarsans.

Oh yeah, and Iguanas are not dinosaurs either lol.

Andreas Johansson said...

About anything that's large, extinct, traditionally classified as a reptile, and that's been figured in a popular book.

And alligators. I once heard them refered to as "living dinosaurs".

And, indeed, woolly mammoths. Apparently being hirsute disqualifies you from being a mammal. Or something.


What I, somewhat oddly, cannot recall ever seeing large temnospondyls or other extinct amphibians (in the paraphyletic sense) called dinosaurs. One'd think Eryops looks at least as dinosaurian as even the hairiest proboscidean, but apparently not.

Anonymous said...

Ctenospondylus. I have seen only one picture of it ever, and that was on Wikipedia.

Trish said...

While Dimetrodon may be my favorite "animal that isn't a dinosaur by any stretch, yet is always sold alongside the dinosaur toys in the museum gift shop", I do have to recount a sad, sad quote I overheard during a recent HMNH visit. It goes a long way in explaining the mammoth thing other posters have brought up:

"Ooh, look at the dinosaur, Billy!" - Father pointing out to his young son a display of a HORSE SKELETON. Which is clearly labeled. And mounted next to a taxidermy horse.

Emile said...

Godzilla. As well as anything large and scaly; being extinct is another plus.

Also fossils of any kind, sadly enough.

Gombessa said...

I do get frustrated by people calling the coelacanth the "dinosaur fish" or "dinofish" or such like that.....I guess it's not a big of a deal, but things like that are what lead to bigger misnomers.

David Tana said...

I think the list that's been made pretty much sums up anything I've ever heard being mistaken for a dinosaur. Pterosaurs (flying dinosaurs) "euryapsids" and mosasaurs (swimming dinosaurs), non-mammalian synapsids (ancient mammal-like dinosaurs) and even Mammuthus (uh... elephant dinosaur?) get called dinosaurs ALL THE TIME.

What about dinosaurs that get called other things? Once in the AMNH I overheard a father pointing out a "turtle skeleton" to his son that was actually an ankylosaur. I, like Trish and the horse skeleton, was upset that he couldn't simply read the line of text and give his kid the proper information.