Since the discovery of dinosaurs, there have been countless references to them in popular culture like films, books, television, artwork, games, etc. The depictions are fictional dinosaur characters or realistic ones like in documentaries. It’s important to understand that these depictions don’t portray an accurate picture of the prehistoric world since our knowledge of dinosaurs comes from fossils and paleontological research.
Nevertheless, these remarkable characters have made their way into the hearts of its fans worldwide and induced curiosity about the ancient beasts into our minds.
Now let’s look at some of these pop culture dinosaur icons.
DINOSAURS IN POPULAR CULTURE
Also called the King of Monsters, Godzilla is a famous fictional dinosaur from Japan and became a massive cultural phenomenon having several references in cartoons, films, TV, literature, and video games. He’s also among the three fictional characters to win a Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Movie Awards (1996). You can also find his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Godzilla made its first appearance in mainstream cinema in the Godzilla (1954) Japanese film and since then has made several appearances in major films like Godzilla (2004) and King Kong (Godzilla vs. Kong). You can also watch Godzilla TV series, read Godzilla manga comics, play its video games, buy its merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, etc.
Barney and Friends
Barney & Friends is an American TV series for kids that premiered in 1992. A small dinosaur called Barney is a T-rex who likes fruits and vegetables. He also loves to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk. You’ll also see other dinosaur characters in the show like Baby Bop (Triceratops), BJ (Protoceratops), and Riff (Hadrosaur).
The series has aired in many countries other than the United States, like Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and Japan, among many others. It also has two co-productions in Israel and Korea.
If you’re into robotic characters, you might have watched Grimlock, the leader of Dinobots, in the Transformers franchise. He’s one of the strongest Transformers characters and can snap anything with his powerful jaws. A fire-breathing Dinobot shooting energy rays from his mouth is a popular choice in dinosaur characters.
Watch Grimlock in its animated series or films like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Transformers: The Last Knight. It has also appeared in several books and comics like Dinobots Strike Back, Decepticon Madness, etc. If you still can’t get enough of him, you can buy its toys or play a video game, like Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark.
Gorosaurus (King Kong Escapes)
Gorosaurus is a character introduced in the film King Kong Escapes in 1967. He’s portrayed as a typical dinosaur, a descendant of Allosaurus, who doesn’t have any special powers like other fictional monsters.
You can see Gorosaurus in the film Destroy All Monsters (1968), TV series Godzilla Island (1997-1998), video games, and comics like Godzilla: Rulers of Earth (2013-2015).
Dino (The Flintstones)
Dino is a character from the famous animated series called The Flintstones. Its main characters, Fred and Wilma, have this dinosaur as a pet. He’s a tiny dinosaur displaying typical characteristics of a pet dog, as you can see him licking his owner’s face when he gets back home from work.
If you want to know more about Dino’s origins, watch the episode “Dino Disappears.” Dino has also made appearances in the Flintstones films.
Rex (Toy Story)
Rex is a Tyrannosaurus rex who suffers from anxieties and an inferiority complex for not being an intimidating dinosaur in the Toy Story movies. Other than Toy Story, you can watch him in the films Hawaiian Vacation, Partysaurus Rex, Small Fry, and the 2019 video game Kingdom Hearts III.
Blue (Jurassic Park)
Blue is a female Velociraptor from the Jurassic Park film franchise. She’s a protagonist in the films and is shown as the leader of her pack. You can see a blue pattern on her back as she’s created as a hybrid using the DNA of an African Monitor Lizard.
Watch Blue in the TV series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous and the films Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World: Dominion.
Stegmutt (Darkwing Duck)
Stegmutt is a Stegosaurus in Disney’s series Darkwing Duck (1991-1992), who’s somewhat dimwitted and is famous for having a brain “the size of a walnut.” He was a duck and an assistant to a mad scientist Dr Fossil, who then transformed him into a dinosaur. You’ll find him a likable character due to his honesty, good nature, and simplicity.
Yoshi is a video game sidekick character by Nintendo. If you’ve played Super Mario World (1990) with its main characters, Mario and Luigi, you might have come across Mario’s sidekick, dinosaur Yoshi. He’s also in the Yoshi series and Mario spin-off games like Mario Kart and Mario Party.
Yoshi is a popular Mario character, and he’s featured in various merchandise like toys, figurines, and shirts. He has received positive reception worldwide and won the hearts of his fans with his dino charm, being a fantastic sidekick, an insatiable appetite, and an ability to breathe fire and cause earthquakes.
Rexy (Night at the Museum)
Who would have thought a giant reconstructed T-rex skeleton would be so cute? Rexy, a Tyrannosaurus rex, in the film Night at the Museum, is an exhibit in the Museum of Natural History. The exhibit comes to life when the sun goes down, and you can see him trying to play fetch with the museum’s night guard Larry.
Also, watch Rexy in the film’s sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
The latest scientific discoveries on dinosaurs impact their depictions in popular culture too. Hence, the image of dinosaurs portrayed in fiction has evolved. In films like Jurassic World, what we have now corresponds to the image we have in our minds. Who knows if this will change in years to come with the latest findings? Whether they’re similar to or different from what they were in reality, these popular dinosaur characters will continue to charm and entertain their audience.