So, you've traveled back to the age of the dinosaurs, and monsters that time forgot (but nerds remember) are towering over you. What's a scientist, bumbling lab assistant or transdimensional God-being to do?
The important thing to remember is that ancient history is just like prison: to survive, you've got to either make someone your bitch, or become someone's bitch. And unless you like the thought of gobbling down velociraptor dongs for 65 million years (and remember, there's no fossil evidence indicating that they weren't barbed), I suggest you start kicking some dino-tail.
Assuming your iPhone’s still got coverage, here’s a handy shopping list of dinosaurs to start beating with a mop handle posthaste.
7. CompsognathusWhy You Could Take It: Better known as “compys,” these are the little guys from Jurassic ParkII that are basically the only dinosaurs in the movie the humans don’t consider a threat at all. In fact, in the video game version, you ate them for health. That’s how pathetic they are; they were relegated to the status of a power-up. To further their humiliation, Compsognathus were even the stars of their own childrens’ book, Pernix and Viva, which taught kids that it’s okay to be small as long as you have love (and don’t get devoured alive by bigger kids). Killing a mess of compys won’t do tons for your reputation, but at least the other dinosaurs will know you’re willing to crush those weaker than yourself.
Preferred Method of Dispatch: Boots. A club. Some dried mud. Basically anything you’ve got laying around.
Dino-Bonus: Compys are believed to have had a strong pack mentality, so there’s a good chance that if you can kill their leader the rest will follow you and do your bidding. Again, not really a formidable fighting force, but they could certainly fetch things for you or carry you around as a living throne.
6. and 5. Archaeopteryx and MicroraptorsWhy You Could Take It: These are a couple of winged dinosaurs, one with two wings and one with four. Together, they’re considered part of the evolutionary bridge between dinosaurs and birds. The downside of being an evolutionary bridge is that, while you’re good at getting creationists to shut the hell up, you’re not so good at any of the things your various component parts are good at.
It’s not like these are airborne stegasauri. No, these guys are basically dinosaurs with feathers instead of protective scales, who can’t fight and don’t really fly very well either. It’s thought that they probably just glided, and if they did fly, they did so clumsily. So in the end, you’re left with a dinosaur the size of a pigeon warbling drunkenly through the air a few feet off the ground.
Preferred Method of Dispatch: There’s something especially poetic about knocking one out of the air with a two-fisted hammer blow, stopping its vain quest for the sky and driving it back into the primordial ooze from whence it came.
Dino-Bonus: At four wings a pop, it should be fairly easy to gather enough feathers to make your own gliding outfit, or at the very least a kite.
4. EpidendrosaurusWhy You Could Take It: Take an Archaeopteryx and pluck all its feathers out, and you’ve basically got an Epidendrosaurus (plus you’ve given an Archaeopteryx a lot of pain; kudos!). Instead of flying, they climbed, probably to hide the fact that they look like boiled monkeys who are perpetually flipping you off as emphatically as possible. One of their finger-like claws was a third the length of their entire body, although in fact it’s not their middle fingers which were elongated, but their pinkies, meaning that they were also the fanciest dinosaurs of all time.
Preferred Method of Dispatch: Unlike the other birdlike dinosaurs on this list, Epidendrosaurus would actually be difficult to catch, because it didn’t waste all its time trying to fly like an asshole. You’d probably have to make a net or burn the trees down. I suggest the latter, as they fall pre-cooked.
Dino-Bonus: Their hands make perfect garden claws. Just be glad it wasn’t any other appendage that’s a third the length of their bodies.
3. NigersaurusWhy You Could Take It: The Nigersaurus’ name means “Niger Lizard,” which qualifies it both as having the least imaginative dinosaur name ever and being only one letter away from having the most offensive dinosaur name ever. Although an herbivore, the Nigersaurus had 50 rows of teeth that got replaced at a rate of one a month per row. Luckily for you, those teeth were all oriented around a flapping, rubbery hole through which the animal sucked up its food, earning it the nickname “the vacuum of the dinosaur kingdom.” Not jet engine. Not Sarlacc pit. Vacuum.
Preferred Method of Dispatch: As many young boys have learned through erotic, but ultimately tragic run-ins with the pool intake, a vacuum is no place to wedge delicate body parts. But really, that’s all this thing’s got. Roll a grenade or two in front of it, let it suck them up and enjoy the grimy fireworks. If you didn’t bring grenades, you could always try clogging its vent with a few pinecones or some dead Compys.
Dino-Bonus: The Nigersaurus skull is believed to house the most teeth of any dinosaur, so they’re basically a one-stop shop for all your necklace and slingshot ammo needs.
2. TherizinosaursWhy You Could Take It: Yes, they were huge (they can’t all be Compys). When you’re fighting dinosaurs, you’re going to have to down some big fellas. It’s all part of the game; ask Turok. In fact, Therizinosaurs grew up to 30 feet in length. Plus, they had giant claws and their name means “scythe lizard,” which conjures the image of a cloaked Grim Reaper with foot-long teeth and a reptilian tail.
Yet none of that changes the fact that these were basically giant turkeys. Or zebra-turkeys, depending on what tactic the illustrator used to try and make them look less awkward.
Preferred Method of Dispatch: As the geeky fatasses of the late Cretaceous, Therizinosaurs don’t have much going for them in a fight besides those ungainly claws and their ability to fall on you. My advice would be to hurl some rocks at their tiny heads, then run in a zig-zag pattern until they topple over or clothesline themselves on a low-hanging limb.
Then all it takes is one well-placed kick to their pipe cleaner-sized throats.
Dino-Bonus: They’re excellent stuffed with bread crumbs, apple chunks and cinnamon. For a crisp skin, bake at 400 degrees for 96 hours, or until golden brown. Serves everyone.
1. CarnotaurusWhy You Could Take It: The Carnotaurus is what happens when a T. Rex just kind of wanders off halfway through the dinosaur assembly process. While superficially resembling their more deadly cousins, Carneys are much smaller (only nine feet tall) have Gandalf-caliber eyebrows that they try to pass off as bull horns and were stuck with arms somehow even more retarded than Rex’s.
Not only are they smaller in comparison to their body (seriously, we’re talking Q-Tips here), but the hands are facing the wrong way, palms out, as if pathetically awaiting a high five that will never come, eternally left hanging by its less laughable counterparts.
Preferred Method of Dispatch: The Carnosaur is legitimately threatening, and, as its name suggest, carnivorous. It’s probably the highest level dinosaur you’re likely to kill without a minigun or a Timecop backing you up, so I’d only recommend tackling one after you’ve had plenty of experiencing wiping out the other species on this list. If you are going to go for it, my advice would be to capitalize on your natural advantages by challenging it to a sword fight or juggling competition. Then when its weeping in impotent frustration, stab it in the gut with a sharp stick.
Dino-Bonus: You can probably get away with telling the other dinosaurs you killed a T. Rex. They’re not that bright.
Final Note: Whatever you do, never fight this.
Special thanks to my friend Brian for his extensive field-testing during the research phase of this article. He will be missed, as will several neighborhood dogs and the massive fistful of PCP he ate.
When not rending the very fabric of time with his mighty fist, Michael serves as head writer for and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!