Here's some random art I forgot I did! The idea was that I was going to help someone learn about dinosaurs by doing "Prehistoric Education" sessions on here with cartoon dinosaurs and facts to go with them. Interest waned and I never made it past this first set here, which is probably better for my temper anyway because DA has a lot of snobs and trolls when it comes to paleo stuff (no offense to the serious and well mannered dino-enthusiasts out there, of course!). The first set was myths, though, which seems like a fairly harmless thing to upload. I'd like to think nobody's gonna start a furious argument with me about whether or not dinosaurs dragged their tails.
(...but now that I think of it, I better clarify that the raptor in the bottom-center panel is deliberately JP styled, haha.)
Section 1: Misconceptions
As with pretty much everything else, there are stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions when it comes to dinosaurs. Some of them are pretty easy mistakes to make... others should've been common knowledge a century ago. Here are a few of both, just to show you what to watch out for!
Dinosaurs Were Cold-Blooded. This is a very, very old misconception. Scientists haven't actually believed that dinosaurs were cold-blooded since the early 1870s... it's an idea that's literally been wrong for over a hundred years. The simple truth is that while dinosaurs were technically reptiles, they weren't the kind we have today. They were much more closely related to birds than anything like lizards or snakes, and modern knowledge of their internal anatomy shows us that they lead pretty active lifestyles. They weren't sluggish, they didn't drag their tails, and they definitely didn't curl up and die whenever it got cold. Some were active only at night and a few even thrived in polar conditions.
Dinosaurs Had Pea-Sized Brains. This is one of the most commonly accepted “facts” about dinosaurs, but truthfully it's every bit as old and wrong as the idea of them having cold blood. Dinosaurs, on average, weren't any more or less intelligent than modern animals: they were an extremely diverse group, and the size and complexity of their brains varied greatly. Naturally, some were smarter than others, but very few actually had “pea-sized” brains... even poor old Stegosaurus had a bigger brain than that.
Dinosaurs Were Just Big Lizards. This is far and away the oldest misconception there is about dinosaurs, and there's really nothing else I can say besides IT IS WRONG! The only thing dinosaurs and lizards have in common is scaly skin, legs, and tails, and if that's all it takes to be a lizard then I guess we better reclassify a lot of fish, mammals, and insects. Besides that, we know now that a lot of dinosaurs had feathers, so is the resemblance really even there anymore?
Everything Prehistoric is a Dinosaur. This is one I hear all the time: people calling pterosaurs “flying dinosaurs”, plesiosaurs “underwater dinosaurs”, and stuff like that. To be fair it's a very easy mistake to make if you don't know a lot about dinosaurs... but after this you won't be able to use that excuse anymore, will you? Here are a few simple rules that should help you tell the difference most of the time: there are no dinosaurs that can fly, no dinosaurs that live underwater, and no meat-eating dinosaurs that walk on four legs. None of the creatures above are dinosaurs. Especially the lizard!
BONUS: Plesiosaurs couldn't twist their necks like this! All those swan and snake-necked guys you see in Loch Ness photos and video games are incorrect. Plesiosaurs had fairly stiff necks... think of them like underwater giraffes.
Dinosaurs Held Their Hands Like This! Cue silly pose and growling. This has become one of the most iconic features of meat-eating dinosaurs in current modern culture, but that's unfortunate, because it's wrong. Studies of their wrist bones show that theropods (the meat-eating dinos) couldn't actually hold their hands this way. In life their hands would have pointed inward with the palms facing each other, which would've been better for grabbing prey anyway.
Dinosaurs Fought Cavemen. This one is pure Hollywood myth. Scientists have known from the very beginning that dinosaurs and humans never coexisted; dinosaurs lived in a different era millions of years before our time, and even the very last of their kind would've been extinct way before humans showed up. The only dinosaurs that primitive man would have hunted were birds, and nowadays we just call that Thanksgiving dinner.