A new dinosaur-themed amusement park with real dinosaurs just opened. And you’re part of the first group of visitors. Suddenly a scream pierces your ears. You turn around and see a huge Spinosaurus devouring your guide.
It still seems hungry, and its eyes are locked on you. You’ll have to think fast if you want to live.
Dinosaurs were a group of reptiles that dominated the land for over 140 million years. They evolved into diverse shapes and sizes, ranging from the fearsome giant Spinosaurus to the chicken-sized Microraptor in various ecosystems.
They thrived during the Jurassic period, 201.3 million years ago to 145 million years ago.
Going up against a dinosaur is most likely going to lead to death. But, if you know your dinosaurs and know their behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses, then you might just make it out alive. How could you hurt them? Would standing still keep you alive? Why would it be a bad idea to hide among herbivores?
Step 1. Don’t scream
It might be a natural reaction to scream if a giant beast were threatening your life, but it would be best to remain calm. Some dinosaurs, like the Allosaurus and T. rex, were tuned to low frequency sounds. But if a big group of people were to scream, your best move would be to get away from them. Let them attract the predators. They could be remembered as heroes for saving your life.
Step 2. Run!
Your best chance of surviving is to leave before a dinosaur notices you. Some dinosaurs would have great vision and would be able to see you. And others, like the T. Rex, have a great sense of smell but are not so fast. If they detect you, standing still wouldn’t help you hide. So make a run for it, unless you want to be bitten by jaws three times stronger than a great white shark’s.
Step 3. Get a big gun
How big, you ask? Well, the bigger, the better. Some dinosaurs would be able to withstand gunfire better than others. For example, the Ankylosaurus had strong armor. Its bony plates had collagen fibers that crisscrossed like Kevlar fibers, and these plates cover their backs, skulls, eyes and cheeks. This dino would be able to survive a shot from a small pistol, but bigger guns could shatter bone. Of course, shooting would bring a lot of attention to you, so make sure you have lots of ammunition.
Step 4. Avoid the herbivores
You might think that herbivores wouldn’t attack you since they wouldn’t want to eat you. But large herbivores would be just as dangerous to you as the carnivores. Many people get killed every year by herbivorous mammals like bison and water buffalo. The triceratops would have large horns that could do some serious damage to you. And the Stegosaurus wouldn’t be super smart. But it may find you threatening, and whip its tail at you. Since it would travel 10 m (33 ft) per second, it would easily pierce your tiny body.
Step 5. Get behind a door
If you couldn’t run away, you could try to get into a strong shelter with a big door. This is because, unlike what you might have seen in the movies, Velociraptors wouldn’t be able to open doors. Their wrists wouldn’t be as flexible as ours and would be more like a chicken’s.
To survive being surrounded by dinosaurs, you’d need to be smart, armed and very lucky. And thankfully, this is not something you have to worry about, yet. You survived the dinosaurs becoming alive today, but what if you traveled back in time to their era?
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- “Jurassic Period | Climate, Plants, Animals, & Facts”. 2021. Encyclopedia Britannica.
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- “T. rex may not have been able to run — but it was still pretty fast”. 2017. Science News For Students.
- “Audiogram, Body Mass, And Basilar Papilla Length: Correlations In Birds And Predictions For Extinct Archosaurs“. Gleich, Otto, Robert J. Dooling, and Geoffrey A. Manley. 2005. Naturwissenschaften 92 (12): 595-598. doi:10.1007/s00114-005-0050-5.