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  • All that said. Tropes Are Not Bad, and this trope is one of the main reasons for the popularity of dinosaurs in fiction for the past century. Let's face it, elephant-sized carnivores are SCARY! Stories that played this trope straight often blurred the line between monster-filled fantasy and real world adventure, much the way remote jungles were once portrayed, but cranked Up to Eleven. Many writers today intentionally avoid portraying dinosaurs as normal animals in order to play up Rule of Cool.
    • Yes, but your argument seems more related to tropes like Dinosaurs Are Dragons, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Predators Are Mean. Prehistoric Monster is more about animals such as trilobites, mammoths, Triceratops, dodos and so on, all animals that objectively will appear not scarier to us modern humans than modern crabs, elephants, rhinoceroses and ostriches do, if they would be still alive today (obviously giant theropods like Allosaurus are borderline cases, the image and its underline is a bit ironical...) I've read many books, article, docus and so on during my life, which treat modern and prehistoric critters in a "two weight, two measures" style. Whales are marvelous creatures while dinosaurs are monsters; rhinoceroses are cool while Uintatheres are scary; "normal" tigers are "among the most fascinating animals in the Universe" while "sabretooth tigers" are nothing but "cruel killers", and so on. Furthermore, the adjective "prehistoric" has become a synonym of "monstrous", "terrifying" in common language (a modern animal with a "prehistoric appearence" means it's ugly at least, if not downright creepy). All this just bugs me (I'm studying biology at the university). PS. Forgive me for my bad English, I'm European...
      • I fully comprehend the nature of the trope. That doesn't make the trope bad.
      • I agree with you, Tropes Are Not Bad. Because of that, I tried to be as objective as possible... but I've to admit it, making in a fully objective style it's not easy. Your entry is good, I've put it again with some changes.
      • I know how you feel -- both of you (or however many people commented above). My inner self is torn between being annoyed at the public's ignorance about prehistoric animals and media's constant depiction of them as terrifying monsters or alien beasts, and being annoyed by the fact that these awesome images hold no water. Not saying that these animals being "just" animals is bad, but it sometimes saddens me to know that all the "magic" of these creatures that my childhood always told me was there actually wasn't quite there. Again, do not get me wrong, I am not saying that this somehow makes these creatures boring, just slightly less fascinating to me. Maybe if I had been born one or two decades later, during the currently ongoing "Dinosaur Enlightenment", it wouldn't bother me at all. Actually, I am sure it wouldn't. However this is more of a Science Marches On headscratcher.
      • Elephants are scarier than you'd think. They're among the most agressive animals on Earth today, and they kill more than 500 people a year. Plus they're very dangerous both in the wild and in captivity. Rhinos and ostriches can be pretty scary as well. Though I think a dodo would be more comparable to a turkey.
  • Why are harmless prehistoric animals like trilobites, Compsognathus, Anurognathus and other tiny animals portrayed as Zerg Rush type animals. Rule of Cool is probaly the reason why, but it's pretty much the same as someone being torn to shreads by small animals like horse-shoe crabs, terriers, sparrows etc.
    • I think most of the audience would be unfamiliar with these creatures and for them, being "ancient" (or in a broader sense, "unfamiliar") is enough of a reason to turn any creature into a monster. If there was a movie about killer terriers, the writers would need to come up with a way to convince the moviegoers why the dogs are so mean. When it's dinosaurs, they rarely have to fulfill this need. It's this trope in a nutshell, essentially.
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