Famous Fictional Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs aren't only found in dried-up riverbeds and ancient quarries--their fictional counterparts can also be seen in TV shows, movies, kids' books, comic strips, and video games. On the following slides, you'll find a list of pop culture's most notable dinosaurs, none of which would stand a fighting chance against their anatomically correct forebears. 


Barney rubble feeding dino a steak.


In Cartoon Land, cute dinosaurs live happily alongside cavemen--and no dinosaur lives more happily than the Flintstones' faithful pet Dino (DEE-no), who barks, slobbers, romps, and cavorts like a huge, reptile-skinned labrador retriever, especially when Fred arrives home after a long day at the slate quarry. Here's an odd fact to impress your friends at parties: according to the show's producers, Dino belongs to the little-known genus "Snorkosaurus."


Cartoon dinosaurs fighting.
Creators Syndicate

Way back in the 60s and 70s, "B.C." was one of the world's funniest comic strips. Gronk, the generic dinosaur with a limited vocabulary ("Gronk!"), could always be counted on for a good punchline, as could his pal the Apteryx (standard come-on: "Hi there, I am an Apteryx, a wingless bird with hairy feathers.") Sadly, creator Johnny Hart's subsequent decline into arch-conservatism put the kibosh on all the fun, and few people today remember B.C. in its prime.


A cartoon dinosaur roaring.
Bob Shea

Bob Shea's "Dinosaur vs." books are enormously popular with the pre-school set: bedroom bookshelves are full to bursting with Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, Dinosaur vs. the Potty, and Dinosaur vs. School, to name just three titles from this ongoing series. Curiously, we never do learn the name of the adorable little dinosaur, who roars and stomps furiously but always winds up behaving (or sleeping, or pooping) like an angel by the last page.


Barney the dinosaur smiling.

The creators of this singing, dancing, toddler-friendly Tyrannosaurus Rex came in for some snarkiness when they made him bright purple. "That’s not how dinosaurs really looked!" cried the cognoscenti, apparently unconcerned that most theropods didn't have perfect pitch or the ability to execute an upbeat two-step, either. Fortunately for scientific purity, Barney's gal pal Baby Bop sports a more appropriate (for a Triceratops) shade of bright green.

Dinosaur Bob

The cover of the book Dinosaur Bob.

Over the last couple of decades, children's book author William Joyce has moved into animation--working closely with Pixar, among other studios. But in the late 1990s, Joyce was best known for his Dinosaur Bob series, about a huge, friendly Brontosaurus (today we'd call it an Apatosaurus) with a fondness for baseball, small children, and piggyback rides. Dinosaur Bob should not be confused with our next fictional dinosaur, none other than...

Bob the Dinosaur

A dinosaur comic.
United Features Syndicate

It's a moment out of comic-strip legend. Using his computer, Dilbert proves that it was logically impossible for all the dinosaurs to have gone extinct. At that instant, Bob the Dinosaur (and his girlfriend, Dawn) emerge from their hiding place from behind the curtains in Dilbert's house. Bob hasn't been seen much lately in the daily strip, but he still makes occasional cameos, usually giving Majungasaurus-sized wedgies to clueless middle managers.


Before it was a big-bucks movie starring Will Ferrell, Land of the Lost was a campy, low-budget, 1970s TV series produced by Sid and Marty Kroft, rebooted with a new cast in the early 1990s. Among the numerous dinosaurs in the original series was the aptly named Dopey, a baby Brontosaurus too dumb to know it was really an Apatosaurus. (Any relationship between Dopey and another Apatosaurus, Littlefoot from The Land Before Time, is purely conjectural).


Close up of Rex from Toy Story.
Pixar Studios

Part of what makes Toy Story such an appealing movie is the way the characters play against type. For example, Rex is a shy, meek, none-too-scary tyrannosaur who's constantly trying to polish his mojo (practicing his roar: "I was going for fearsome, but I don't think I'm coming across. I'm afraid I'm just coming off as annoying.”) He's afraid his owner Andy will replace him with a more intimidating dinosaur, and "I don't think I can take that kind of rejection."  


Close up of the Mario Brother's dinosaur, Yoshi.

A bit like the anti-Godzilla, the versatile, lovable Yoshi was introduced to the world in the ancient video game Super Mario World (for the long-defunct, but fondly remembered, Super Nintendo Entertainment System). In games and TV shows since Mario's bright green sidekick has occasionally sported some distinctly dinosaur-like characteristics (such as roaring and hatching from eggs) but mostly he's just a resourceful, loyal, and scaly pet.

Big Bird

Big bird holding the letter H.

Still not convinced that birds are descended from dinosaurs? Just take a gander at Big Bird, whose huge size and dim mental capabilities are proof positive of Darwin's extra-strong grip on children's educational TV. As far as we know, Big Bird has never squared off against his PBS housemate Barney, but our money is on the enormous chicken--Barney won't get three words into his "I Love You" theme song before having his windpipe severed.  

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Strauss, Bob. "Famous Fictional Dinosaurs." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/famous-fictional-dinosaurs-1092405. Strauss, Bob. (2021, February 16). Famous Fictional Dinosaurs. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-fictional-dinosaurs-1092405 Strauss, Bob. "Famous Fictional Dinosaurs." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-fictional-dinosaurs-1092405 (accessed March 22, 2023).