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The Top Ten Most Popular Prehistoric Animals of 2010
At this time of year, there are a number of charts published. They cover a variety of topics, from the mundane, such as the most popular type of burger served at a well-known international burger chain, to the more interesting, such as a list of the most searched terms on the Internet, favorite celebrities, most of CDs. sold out, the most successful film of the year, etc. We at All Things Dinosaur have for many years kept a record of extinct animals that students and children we have met have asked about. We have recorded the number of prehistoric animal emails we have received. We’ve generated statistics about visits to our websites and conducted our own research to create a picture of which long-dead creatures are still “hot” and which aren’t.
In the quiet period between Christmas and the New Year, we compile all the material from our various research sources and then publish a list of the ten most popular prehistoric animals. There are only two criteria an animal must meet in order to be considered for our list. First, the animal must be extinct, extant species are not allowed. Second, animals and imaginary creatures are not allowed. For example, when the Harry Potter movie “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” came out in 2007, we met many students during our field trips and school visits who wanted to talk about this mythical creature. Unfortunately, the Phoenix as an imaginary animal could not be included in our top ten most popular list.
Based on our research, in reverse order here are the numbers ten down to number six on our list of the most popular prehistoric animals compiled by Everything Dinosaur for 2010.
10). Liopleurodon (giant marine reptile)
This giant Jurassic sea monster makes its first appearance on our top ten list. Liopleurodon’s popularity was due to a number of reruns of the Walking with Dinosaurs television series that featured this giant marine reptile, plus its inclusion in the computer-generated imagery of the Dinosaurs Live tour.
9). Saber-Tooth Cat (Smilodon)
A perennial favorite and regular in our top ten polls. This prehistoric mammal was very popular especially with the younger children we surveyed. The “Ice Age” movies have helped maintain this fearsome popularity of carnivores. The sheer amount of Saber-Tooth Tiger merchandise and Saber-Tooth Tiger toys has kept this particular beast in our top ten.
8). Brachiosaurus (large long-necked dinosaur)
The first dinosaur listed is a large but peaceful plant-eater. There have been a number of new Brachiosaurus models launched this year, most notably Safari Carnegie from the United States and Collecta. The introduction of these new hand-painted replicas and subsequent product sales pushed this goliath into our top ten.
7). Diplodocus (long-necked dinosaur)
Just ahead, perhaps by the neck, comes Diplodocus, another very large dinosaur. Like Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus was a sauropod, but it was much more lightly built with a very long neck and tail. This peaceful Jurassic plant eater proved extremely popular with the college girls we met in 2010. We also received a number of email inquiries about this particular dinosaur. This helped increase the number of mentions Diplodocus received and thus ended up in our top ten.
6). Pteranodon (flying reptile – Pterosaur)
Coming in at number six on our top ten list comes the Pteranodon. We get a lot of requests for flying reptile (Pterosaur) drawing material and Pteranodon is the most popular. We had thought that the introduction of a model of a long-tailed Pterosaur – Rhamphorhynchus from Safari might affect the popularity of the Pteranodon, but no, this large Cretaceous flying reptile remains the most popular of its kind.
So this is the first full part of our top ten list of the most popular prehistoric animals. It includes two dinosaurs and three non-dinosaurs (Pteranodon, Smilodon and Liopleurodon). The animals that make up this list have lived millions of years apart, but they’ve all proved to be very popular with the children we’ve met on our travels, museum work, school visits and the like over the past twelve months.
Let the countdown continue, from five down to number one.
5). Stegosaurus (armored dinosaur)
A real favorite among paleontologists and researchers, and a type of dinosaur we love to work with ourselves. Stegosaurus makes the top five and turned out to be the most popular prehistoric animal with all the girls who helped us with our survey. Stegosaurus is number one as far as they go, but on our overall list it comes in at a credible number five.
4). Woolly mammoth
Breaking the dominance of the dinosaurs of our top five, comes Mammoth Fur (Mammuthus primigenius) to give this particular creature its scientific name. Thanks to Manny of the Ice Age trilogy, the Woolly Mammoths have gone from strength to strength in terms of popularity in the last couple of years. The Chicago Field Museum’s touring exhibit will probably help keep this animal on our top ten list for several years to come.
3). Velociraptor (scary dinosaur)
The vision from the “Jurassic Park” movies continues to move up our chart. The sheer number of Velociraptor models, toys and products have helped keep the little Theropod in the top ten. It turned out to be very popular with young boys, who seem to have a preference for more bloodthirsty dinosaurs.
2). Triceratops (three-horned face)
The horned dinosaur, otherwise known as the three-horned face, is second on this year’s chart of the most popular prehistoric animals. Popular with boys and girls alike, this dinosaur has benefited from the number of horned dinosaurs (ceratopsians) press articles we’ve covered. Triceratops stands in the runner-up position.
Before we reveal the number one, most popular prehistoric animal of 2010 according to our research, it would be appropriate to mention at this point some of the animals that didn’t quite make our list this year. Spinosaurus, Ankylosaurus and Apatosaurus are the dinosaurs that just get lost. A special mention to the flying reptile Rhamphorhynchus and the sea reptile Ichthyosaurus that almost made it.
However, last year’s most popular prehistoric animal, based on our polls, schoolwork, dinosaur quizzes and so on, is…
1). Tyrannosaurus rex (King of tyrannical lizards)
No surprises, the most famous prehistoric animal is the T. rex. Perhaps one of the most famous of all creatures to have ever existed on the planet, this large carnivore, known only from a handful of articulated specimens and numerous fragmentary finds, continues to dominate. “The Tyrannical Lizard King” is our number one, by quite a significant margin. T. rex may have been questioned as the largest land carnivore of all time, but it remains firmly at the top of our annual poll.
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