The 10 Most Famous Dinosaurs

Paleontologists have named nearly a thousand dinosaur genera, but only a handful of them are instantly recognizable by little kids and seasoned adults alike. Here's everything you need to know about the 10 most famous dinosaurs that ever roamed the earth, including when they were discovered, what they looked like, and how they behaved.

tyrannosaurus rex
Tyrannosaurus Rex. Wikimedia Commons

The undisputed king of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus Rex is immensely popular thanks to a fawning press, countless starring roles in movies and TV shows, and a really cool name (Greek for "tyrant lizard king"). • 10 Facts About Tyrannosaurus RexHow Was Tyrannosaurus Rex Discovered?Why Did T. Rex Have Such Tiny Arms?T. Rex - Hunter or Scavenger?T. Rex vs Triceratops - Who Wins?Tyrannosaurs - The Most Dangerous Dinosaurs More »

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Triceratops. Wikimedia Commons

Probably the most instantly recognizable of all dinosaurs, Triceratops combined a gentle, plant-eating disposition with fearsome horns that kept hungry tyrannosaurs and raptors at bay. • 10 Facts About TriceratopsHow Was Triceratops Discovered?Triceratops vs. T. Rex - Who Wins?10 Famous Horned Dinosaurs That Weren't TriceratopsCeratopsians - The Horned, Frilled Dinosaurs More »

Alain Beneteau

More than any other dinosaur, Velociraptor can trace its popularity to two blockbuster movies: Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, in which this feathered raptor was portrayed by the much bigger Deinonychus. • 10 Facts About VelociraptorHow Was Velociraptor Discovered?Velociraptor vs. Protoceratops - Who Wins?Raptors - The Birdlike Dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period More »

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Wikimedia Commons

No one knows why Stegosaurus had such distinctive plates along its back--but that hasn't kept this tiny-brained dinosaur from holding a tight grip on the popular imagination. • 10 Facts About StegosaurusWhy Did Stegosaurus Have Plates on its Back?How Was Stegosaurus Discovered?Stegosaurus vs. Allosaurus - Who Wins?Stegosaurs - The Spiked, Plated Dinosaurs More »

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An up-and-comer on the dinosaur popularity charts, Spinosaurus was distinguished by its huge size (a couple of tons heavier than T. Rex!) as well as the mysterious sail on its back. • 10 Facts About SpinosaurusHow Was Spinosaurus Discovered?Why Did Spinosaurus Have a Sail?Spinosaurus vs. Sarcosuchus - Who Wins? • Could Spinosaurus Swim? • The Large Theropods More »

Emily Willoughby

Was it a bird? Was it a dinosaur? Or was it something in between? Whatever the case, the exquisitely preserved fossils of Archaeopteryx are among the most famous such artifacts in the world. • 10 Facts About ArchaeopteryxHow Was Archaeopteryx Discovered?Was Archaeopteryx a Bird or a Dinosaur?Dino-Birds - The Small, Feathered DinosaursHow Did Feathered Dinosaurs Learn to Fly? More »

Brachiosaurus. Nobu Tamura

Like Velociraptor (see above), Brachiosaurus owes much of its current popularity to its featured cameo in Jurassic Park, munching placidly on tall trees and sneezing on Ariana Richards--but this huge dinosaur was extremely interesting in its own right • 10 Facts About BrachiosaurusHow Was Brachiosaurus Discovered?Sauropods - The Biggest Dinosaurs More »

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Allosaurus. Wikimedia Commons

Smaller than Tyrannosaurus Rex, but faster and more vicious, Allosaurus was the all-purpose predator of the late Jurassic period--and may even have hunted its prey (including sauropods and stegosaurs) in packs. • 10 Facts About AllosaurusHow Was Allosaurus Discovered?Allosaurus vs. Stegosaurus - Who Wins?The Large Theropods More »

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Apatosaurus. Wikimedia Commons

Apatosaurus owes its popularity to the fact that it used to be known as Brontosaurus--a name that epitomized dinosaurs for a whole generation of kids--but beyond that, it's one of the best-attested sauropods of the late Jurassic period • 10 Facts About ApatosaurusHow Was Apatosaurus Discovered? • Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus - What's the Big Deal? • Sauropods - The Biggest Dinosaurs More »

Dilophosaurus. H. Kyoht Luterman

Despite what you saw in Jurassic Park, Dilophosaurus didn't spit poison, it didn't have a neck frill, and it wasn't the size of a labrador retriever. Despite all that, though, this dinosaur remains pretty popular! • 10 Facts about DilophosaurusHow Was Dilophosaurus Discovered?The First Dinosaurs More »

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Strauss, Bob. "The 10 Most Famous Dinosaurs." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, Strauss, Bob. (2017, March 3). The 10 Most Famous Dinosaurs. Retrieved from Strauss, Bob. "The 10 Most Famous Dinosaurs." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 18, 2018).