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Uh-oh. There's a dog loose at the natural history museum! The museum is full of priceless fossilized dinosaur skeletons, worth millions upon millions of dollars. And we all know what dogs like to munch on, don't we? Prepare to see the little pooch walk out the door with a jumbo-sized femur in his mouth, and to hear the sound of many bones collapsing into a pile in the background.
Of course, this would not actually happen in Real Life. Fossil bones have been fossilized over all the millions of years they have spent lying around underground, and would not attract a dog's attention any more than a rock would. In any case, most museums do not take the risk of setting the priceless skeletons out in the open where they could be damaged; those are actually plaster recreations directly modeled after the authentic bones. Not to mention, they're also either in glass cases or mounted on metal frames so they can't fall apart.
Often spotted in comedies and cartoons. Has something to do with the vague association most people have between dinosaurs and bones; to the point that many museum visitors believe that every mounted skeleton in a museum is some kind of dinosaur.
- This trope is played straight for laughs for an ad for the Royal Ontario Museum. The scene is set at the front door of the museum and a dog runs out with a huge dinosaur bone in mouth, looks around and is Off Like a Shot followed by two paleontologists in lab coats in hot pursuit.
- Happened in King Ottokar's Sceptre.
- Krypto the Superdog did this at least once, only to discover that yes, fossilized bones taste awful. So he goes back to the time of living dinosaurs...
- Liberty Meadows Ralph has been digging for dinosaur bones all day with no luck and leaves his spot. Oscar the Weiner dog dives down the hole and soon emerges with a giant femur in his mouth.
- Happens in Footrot Flats with the Dog digging up a moa bone and dragging it off.
- One Archie Comics story has fun with this. Jughead's dog Hot Dog is wandering around Riverdale High with a bone in his mouth...just as Professor Flutesnoot's fossil, on loan from the museum goes missing. The result is the Jones family lawn being dug up. (Well, now they can put in a new swimming pool where the crater is) But of the dozens of bones found, not one is the fossil. Turns out Svenson put it away somewhere so it won't get lost, and what Hot Dog had was a soup bone from Ms. Beezly, the lunch lady.
- Played for Laughs and inverted in Night at the Museum. due to a magical artifact, the T. rex skeleton comes to life at night, and has the personality of a dog.
- The movie Bringing Up Baby, which might be the trope originator. A dog steals and buries the last dinosaur bone that a paleontologist needs to complete a brontosaurus apatosaurus skeleton at his museum.
- In The Adventures of Tintin, while Tintin, Haddock and Snowy are lost in the desert, Snowy (in the background) finds a dinosaur bone.
- An especially strange variation on this trope can be found, of all places, on one of the G1 My Little Pony figures. Cutesaurus (ya rly) is a brachiosaurus "Pony Friend". Her symbols are dog bones. They were probably meant to be dinosaur bones but they look an awful lot like doggy treats.
- Subverted in 102 Dalmations. When Fluffy tells the player to search for a giant bone, the player replies "A giant bone? Yummy!" and Fluffy replies that the player won't want to eat this bone because it's "hard as rock". Considering that fossils actually are rocks, that's pretty accurate.
- In the episode of Rugrats where they go to the natural history museum, the "present" they bring home for Spike is a dinosaur toe bone.
- A Looney Tunes cartoon had a museum curator scolding his dog for taking a dinosaur bone and ordered him to get it back. The dog spends the rest of the cartoon trying to retrieve the bone from a bulldog, only to find out at the end that his master had the bone in question in his pocket the whole time.
- The Tom and Jerry Show (1975) episode "No Bones About It". A dinosaur's toe bone is missing from the museum in which Tom and Jerry work; they see Spike carrying what they think is the missing bone, so they try to get it away from him.
- A Pup Named Scooby Doo featured this once.
- Likely a call back to the use of the gag in the first episode of Scooby Doo Where Are You ?
- An episode of Cat Dog involved Dog's habit of stealing dinosaur bones from the museum while sleepwalking.
- Clifford the Big Red Dog had found a dinosaur bone.
- Chu-Chu attempts to make a meal out of a fallen dinosaur statue in episode one of The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan.
- In Darkwing Duck, one of Negaducks attempts to earn the spot of public enemy #1 was to introduce some vicious dogs to a museum's dinosaur bones.