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14 Laughably Wrong Things People Used To Think About The Dinosaurs

Updated June 12, 2020 58.3k views14 items

Dinosaurs have fascinated mankind since their existence was first discovered. As with all things scientific, however, simply being fascinated by something didn't mean our love was based in fact. We had no idea what we were talking about at all. There were some wildly incorrect things we used to believe about dinosaurs.

In fact, there are some pretty hilarious facts about dinosaurs we thought were real. Did you know scientists used to believe some dinosaurs had two brains, one of which was in their butt? It's also not true dinosaurs were killed by caterpillars, their own farts, or eating too many eggs. It's also surprising how many animals today evolved from dinosaurs - something else you probably didn't know. The biggest myth, though, is what dinosaurs really look like. So turn off Jurassic Park, throw away your brontosaurus memorabilia, and get ready to have your mind rocked by these totally wrong things we used to believe about dinosaurs. 

  • Some Dinosaurs Had Brains In Their Butts

    Photo: Charles R. Knight / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Othniel Charles Marsh, also known as the man who brought us the nonexistent brontosaurus, believed the camarasaurus and the stegosaurus had brains in their butts. He thought this because they had a neural opening toward the bottom of their spines, and there had to be something there, right?

    While this sounds like complete nonsense, it’s actually not as out there as it seems. These huge dinosaurs, known as sauropods, had extremely tiny brains, especially considering the size of their bodies. An extra brain could control the legs and lower body parts. We still don’t know what the neural opening actually contained, but we do know for certain that it wasn’t a butt brain.

  • The Dinosaurs Died Off Because Of Cataracts

    In 1982, an ophthalmologist named L.R. Croft suggested that dinosaurs died of a terrible plague - cataracts

    While cataracts - a medical condition where the lenses of the eye become opaque - aren’t exactly fun, they’re not typically considered fatal. At worst, cataracts can cause blindness. 

    Heat can make cataracts grow faster, and Croft believed many dinosaurs were going blind before they hit sexual maturity. While this might result in fewer dinosaurs reproducing, it wouldn’t make it completely impossible. It also doesn’t even begin to explain why all non-avian dinosaurs went extinct en masse 65 million years ago. 

  • Advanced Dinosaurs Rule Alien Worlds

    Photo: ESO/S. Brunier / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 4.0

    Dr. Ronald Breslow, a chemistry professor at Columbia University, claims a study he conducted on the chemistry of amino acids implies that, if life does exist on other planets, said life could be an advanced version of our dinosaurs. Some scientists believe the amino acids dominating earth’s lifeforms arrived to us via meteorite 4 billion years ago. If this happened on earth, Breslow believes it could also have happened on other planets, which could lead to the development similar life forms.

    Other scientists, such as Dr. Paul “PZ” Myers, associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris, believe this is is a nonsense theory with no proof whatsoever behind it. 

  • Dinosaurs Farted Themselves To Death

    There's a real theory that dinosaurs had so much flatulence they created a methane cloud that killed them off. Researchers calculated how much methane gas enormous sauropods could have produced in their lifetimes, and figured it could have been enough to warm the planet. While this might have been enough to influence the climate, the researchers were not intending to imply this actually killed any dinosaurs. However, the media jumped on the study, misinterpreted it, and the idea that dinosaurs farted themselves to death took hold.