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Bright Side

How 9 Modern Animals Would Look as Dinosaurs

We have no idea what actual dinosaurs looked like and our only source of inspiration is bones. Often not even a complete skeleton, just limbs, and a tail. The problem with this is that artists, who specialize in drawing ancient animals — called paleoartists — tend to just cover these bones with skin, disregarding any possible fat, muscles, and other stuff.

So, movie dinosaurs just look like fossils with scales draped over them. But what if modern animals received the same treatment? Bright Side tried to imagine what today’s animals would look if they were Hollywood dinosaurs and we’re ready to share the results.

1. Cat

Alas, no fur for our kitty. While hair and fur can be rarely preserved in fossils, most dino reconstructions tend to ignore them — or add 1-2 strands in the exact places where they were preserved. Ears wouldn’t be preserved either, since they have no bone inside. So our dino-cat would be bald — but nothing like a sphynx, unfortunately.

2. Swan

Paleontologists have long proved that many dinos had feathers and overall were very bird-like. Despite this, in paleoart, they’re depicted as big lizards rather than birds. Let’s give swans the same treatment. Carnivorous beak, no feathers, and wings would be replaced with these alien-like “bunny hands” which we can often see in movies.

3. Baboon

The baboon would look extremely scary and its emphasized fangs would make for a fully-fledged saber-tooth. Its long limbs, powerful jaws, finger positioning, and velociraptor-like tail without fur would make for a good carnivore dino. They can also switch between walking on 4 and on 2 legs, like some dinosaurs (for example, the iguanodon).

4. Rhino

If you try to imagine a rhino, the defining feature would undoubtedly be its horn. But you would never find a horn on a rhino skeleton — it consists of the same materials as your hair and fingernails and breaks down quickly. So our hypothetical rhino-saurs would look more like a massive pig with a dorsal “fin” on its back.

5. Zebra

The reference for dinosaurs’ faces in art has always been crocodiles. The most important thing is prominent teeth and a lack of facial fat. So even the face of animals like horses or zebras would look at least somewhat crocodile-like.

6. Elephant

If you saw an elephant skull, you would have no idea that it actually has a 6-foot long, tube-like prehensile nose, nor would you expect it to be quite so thick and wrinkly. The tusks would be there though. But again — no ears. Without ears and a trunk, it looks like quite a different creature.

7. Hummingbird

If you look at the hummingbird skeleton, it looks very much like that of a pterosaur. So it would be the tiniest flying dino, very parasitic-looking, with a thin, long beak reminding us of a mosquito. Thankfully, hummingbirds don’t actually suck blood.

8. Cow

A large part of the difficulties comes from artists being forced to guess the amount of soft tissue around the bone. So paleoartists often go easy on the meat. Take the skeleton and add in muscle, and then shrink-wrap the skin onto that shape. This leads to most creatures looking extremely skinny. Even massive animals like cows.

9. Hippo

Dino-drawings tend to exaggerate the heads and claws of the animals. Its teeth are more visible and the structures of its face are more pronounced. In reality, even lizards have a sort of gummy tissue covering their mouths, and the teeth are rarely visible. So modern animals, with already weird skulls — like hippos — would look outright alien.

What other animals you would like to see as dinosaurs?

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