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File:Dinosaur train 1411.jpg
"People, there is an episode with Therizinosaurs doing Tai-chi. There are Therizinosaurs and they are in a cartoon for kids AND THEY ARE DOING MARTIAL ARTS AND THIS IS AWESOME!!! Also, they have feathers."

Dinosaur Train is a CGI animated Jim Henson Company series airing on PBSKids created by Craig Bartlett, best known for the series Hey Arnold.

The show focuses on the adventures of a family of pteranodon and Buddy, a dinosaur who was adopted by them as an egg. Buddy initially doesn't know what species he is, but is determined to find out. To this end, Buddy and his adoptive family go on adventures in - we promise you we are not making this up - a time-traveling train run by dinosaurs. Turns out early on that Buddy's a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and he and his family and friends continue having trips through the Mesozoic to "meet all the species".

Train sports strong educational content with a focus on the basics of paleo-zoology, but also a lot of humor and fun. It is a Henson series after all. And even though the main cast is made up of cartoony creatures, the show goes way the heck out of its way to avert Somewhere a Paleontologist Is Crying. It's gained quite a cult following among older dinosaur fans.

Not related to other dinosaur trains you may have heard of.


Tropes:

  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: The Conductor's mom only wears a collar around her neck and his nephew, Gilbert only wears a conductors' hat. All the other Troodons who operate the Dinosaur Train or work at the stations wear hats.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The Pteranodon are lime green, Buddy is safety orange, and even the more realistic (relatively speaking) animal characters can get downright psychedelic.
  • Anachronism Stew: Far milder than most (it helps to have a time-traveling train) but still present. To start with, although both Tyrannosaurus and Pteranodon were from the Late Cretaceous, Pteranodon is not known from the very end of the Late Cretaceous as Tyrannosaurus is.
  • Art Evolution: A mild example, but it's still there.
  • Broken Aesop: The show continually enforces the Aesop that birds are dinosaurs. In the episode "Dinosaur Camouflage", Buddy explicitly states that a bird is not a dinosaur.
  • Carnivore Confusion: One of the major educational aspects of the show is that as the main characters travel and meet various dinosaurs, they discuss with them whether they're herbivores, carnivores or omnivores. That said, we never see any animals eating other animals. Except when those other animals are fish or insects. So the show generally follows the "fish and bugs are okay to eat" rule. Except for the "meat", which is, eerily, large piles of carrion lying around.
  • Cartoon Creature: Mostly averted, to a point. That said, eh, we'll just take it on good faith what species the Pteranodon family and (to a lesser extent) Buddy are.
  • Catch Phrase: Buddy: "I have a hypothesis!"
    • Don: "La-la-LOOP!"
  • Constantly Curious: Buddy.
  • Cool Train: The Dinosaur Train featured in the program is a Time Traveling train that utilizes time tunnels to take its dinosaur passengers to various locations throughout the Mesozoic Era.
  • Edutainment Show
  • Elvis Impersonator: King Cryolophosaurus.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Averted in one episode when Buddy and friends meet a friendly shark.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Michelinoceras.
  • Expository Theme Tune & Title Theme Tune: "Come on, Buddy, we'll take a vacation. I'll get us a ticket at Pteranodon Station. We'll travel the world in sunshine and rain and meet all the species on the... Dinosaur Train. Dinosaur Train! Dinosaur Train! Dinosaur Train! We're gonna ri-i-i-de the Dinosaur Train!"
  • Father Neptune: The old Spinosaurus.
  • Frogs and Toads: Palaeobatrachus.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Carla Cretoxyrhina's father is described as a "B.F.I.S." (Big Fish In the Sea).
  • Furry Confusion: The tiny green snake in one episode doesn't talk, but Sana the Sanajeh in the same episode can talk.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Literally. There's an episode that not only talks openly about poop, it actually shows a dino dropping a loaf.
  • Giant Flyer: The main characters are Pteranodon, after all. Makes sense they'd want to meet other big pterosaurs.
  • Happily Adopted: Despite the fact that Buddy is a completely different species than the rest of his family, they love each other the same.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Ian James Corlett as the Conductor.
  • I Am Who?: The first few episodes of the program focus on Buddy trying to figure out just what type of dinosaur he is. It didn't help, though, that his species was revealed in the general press for the show and was given away in the title of the story where he finds it out.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Just the Conductor and a few other Troodons on the train.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Buddy is a T. rex raised by Pteranodons.
  • The More You Know: "Hi, I'm Dr. Scott, the paleontologist. Do you remember what type of dinosaur Buddy is?"
  • Mundane Utility: The Conductor, a Troodon, uses his hindclaws for punching tickets.
  • Nephewism: During the World Tour series, Mr. Conductor is suddenly assisted by his nephew, Gilbert.
  • No Antagonist
  • No Cartoon Fish: Ray-finned fish, coelacanths, and some insects are okay to eat (makes sense as the main characters are Pteranodon). Gets a little awkward in the episode where Buddy and company meet a friendly shark.
  • Ptero-Soarer: The Pteranodon family is... a little more "cartoony" than almost all of the other animal characters. You almost have to take it on good faith what they are.
    • For those not well aware of pterosaur anatomy, here's a picture to simply it to you (plus more anatomically accurate dinosaur characters).
    • Turned Up to Eleven in a recent episode. The Conductor claims that they're cold-blooded.
  • Raptor Attack: Averted by the Velociraptor, Archaeopteryx, Saurornitholestes and Microraptor; the Troodon and Deinonychus really lack plumage, however.
  • Running Gag: The Conductor's mother.
  • Science Marches On: The show does its best to stay on top of current discoveries, but sometimes it finds itself the victim of this.
  • Seldom Seen Genera: Masiakasaurus, Confuciusornis, Avisaurus, Daspletosaurus Adocus, Proganochelys, Paramacellodus, Cryolophosaurus, Palaeobatrachus, Zhejiangopterus, Einiosaurus, Oryctodromeus, Chirostenotes, Kosmoceratops, Shonisaurus, Volaticotherium, Raptorex, Sinovenator, Sanajeh, Saurornitholestes, Cimolestes, Jeholornis, Ptilodus, Megaraptor, and Michelinoceras. Good luck finding these in a normal documentary.
  • Shown Their Work: Putting aside the fact that there are a few anatomical brain-farts and the main cast is a bit cartoony, let's just paraphrase a sentiment from the page quote: Maniraptors with feathers[1]. Heck, the fact that birds are a kind of dinosaur is a given in this series, so the show isn't making ornithologists cry either.
    • Many of the enantiornithines correctly have a pair of ribbon-shaped tail feathers instead of a modern-style tail fan, and the Hesperornis has lobed instead of webbed feet.
    • In "Dinosaur Block Party", all the animals that attend the party (ironically aside from the main characters and Laura Giganotosaurus) are known contemporaries (in fact, specifically representing the Dinosaur Park Formation) or at least from the same time range.
  • Spinosaurid Island: Happens when the family visits the Misty Sea.
  • Steam Never Dies: The train is a green steam locomotive shaped like a Triceratops head.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus, Pteranodon, Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, Velociraptor, Troodon, Deinonychus, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Iguanodon, Apatosaurus, Protoceratops, Oviraptor, Dilophosaurus, Archaeopteryx, Ankylosaurus, Elasmosaurus, Spinosaurus, Styracosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Ornithomimus, and Quetzalcoatlus.
  • "Stop Having Fun!" Guys: Point of Fact guy. Of course, he's there to well, make a point. His character is listed as Mr. Disclaimer in the closing credits and he is played by Joe Purdy, a key writer and story editor for the program, whose other work includes episodes of Hey Arnold and Arthur.
  • Talking Animal: Basically everything with a brain aside from certain fish and insects.
  • Taxonomic Term Confusion: The characters say "species" when "genus" would be more appropriate.
  • Turtle Power: Adocus and Proganochelys.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Dinosaurs celebrate Winter Solstice.
  • Youtube Poop: By none other than Jittery Dragon. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Although the plumage of the Troodon and Deinonychus are still, shall we say, a bit wanting.
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