The 10 Worst Dinosaur Names

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It's Sad Being a Dinosaur Named Sinusonasus

Opisthocoelicaudia (Getty Images).

If dinosaurs were still around--and smart enough to respond to their own names--they might want to throttle some of the paleontologists that first described them. In the following slideshow, you'll find an alphabetical list of the 10 least impressive dinosaur names, ranging from Dollodon to Pantydraco. (Just how pathetic are these dinosaurs? Compare them to the 10 Best Dinosaur Names, and see also a complete, A to Z list of dinosaurs.)

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Becklespinax (Sergey Krasovskiy).

Life isn't fair, no matter whether you're living today or during the Mesozoic Era. What's the point of being a 20-foot-long, one-ton, meat-eating dinosaur if you're saddled with a laughable name like Becklespinax? Adding insult to injury, "Beckles' spine" (coined after the name of the naturalist who discovered it) was a close relative of the much bigger, and much more impressively named, Spinosaurus, the largest dinosaur that ever lived.

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Dollodon (Wikimedia Commons).

The name Dollodon doesn't refer to a little girl's toy, but to Belgian paleontologist Louis Dollo, which might result in a fatal misunderstanding for any grade-schoolers who happen to find themselves transported back to early Cretaceous western Europe. True, Dollodon was a confirmed plant-eater, but at 20 feet long and one ton it could squish a Girl Scout faster than you can say "Becklespinax."

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Futalognkosaurus (Wikimedia Commons).

It sounds more like a hot dog than a dinosaur--and don't even get us started about that "g" before the "n," which is usually misspelled by the unwary--but Futalognkosaurus was actually one of the biggest titanosaurs that ever lived, measuring a full 100 feet from head to tail. In fact, Futalognkosaurus may have been even bigger than Argentinosaurus, and thus the biggest dinosaur in history; too bad it doesn't have a name to match its impressive size.

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Melanorosaurus, to which Ignavusaurus was closely related (Nobu Tamura).

How would you like to go into the dinosaur record books as the "cowardly lizard?" That's how Ignavusaurus translates from the Greek, and it has nothing to do with this dinosaur's presumed behavior: rather, this prosauropod (a distant ancestor of sauropds and titanosaurs) was discovered in a region of Africa known as "the home of the coward's father." Even if it wasn't cowardly, though, Ignavusaurus was certainly circumspect, as it weighed less than 100 pounds soaking wet.

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Monoclonius (Wikimedia Commons).

Monoclonius would be a great name for a rare, incurable disease, or the robotic heavy from a Transformers sequels. Unfortunately, it belongs to a horned, frilled dinosaur closely related to Centrosaurus, named with a pronounced lack of imagination by the famous American paleontologist Edward D. Cope after its single horn. (Too bad Cope didn't use the more familiar Greek root--"Monoceratops" would have been a much more impressive name.)

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Opisthocoelicaudia (Getty Images).

Probably the most clumsily named of all the dinosaurs on this list, Opisthocoelicaudia (Greek for "backward-facing tail socket"--wicked, huh?) was immortalized in 1977 by an unusually literal-minded paleontologist who clearly was having a bad day at work. That's a shame, because otherwise this was a fairly impressive titanosaur of the late Cretaceous period, measuring about 40 feet from head to tail and weighing 15 tons.

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Piatnitzkysaurus (Wikimedia Commons).

In paleontology circles, it's considered a huge honor to have a dinosaur named after you; the problem is that some paleontologists have cooler names than others. The comical-sounding and excessively syllabic "Piatnitzky" seems like a particularly unfortunate choice to adorn Piatnitzkysaurus, a sleek, ferocious theropod of middle Jurassic South America closely related to one of the first identified meat-eaters in the dinosaur bestiary, Megalosaurus.

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Thecodontosaurus, a close relative of Pantydraco (Wikimedia Commons).

Okday, you can stop laughing now: Pantydraco, the "panty dragon," was named not after a tantalizing piece of women's lingerie, but the Pant-y-ffynnon quarry in Wales, where its fossil was discovered. This dinosaur's name is apposite in at least one way: Pantydraco (a close relative of Thecodontosaurus) measured about six feet long and weighed 100 pounds, about the dimensions of your average supermodel.

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Sinusonasus (Ezequiel Vera).

With that "sinus" on the front end and that "nasus" on the back, Sinusonasus sounds like a two-legged head cold (its name, in fact, means "sinus-shaped nose," which sounds a bit, well, redundant, not to mention vaguely disgusting). This small, feathered Troodon relative must have been standing behind a big rock, blowing its nose all over its feathered sleeves, when all the cool dinosaur names were being handed out.

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Uberabatitan (Wikimedia Commons).

It's fashionable to assign two-part names to titanosaurs, the huge, lightly armored descendants of the sauropods: the location in which they were discovered, attached to the Greek root "titan." Sometimes the resulting names are impressive and mellifluous, and sometimes they sound like a two-year-old spitting up and having a tantrum at the same time. Guess which category Uberabatitan belongs to?